The Electric Light Orchestra (album)

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The Electric Light Orchestra
Studio album by
Released1 December 1971
RecordedJuly 1970 – June 1971 at Philips Studios, London
GenreProgressive rock, symphonic rock
The Electric Light Orchestra chronology
The Electric Light Orchestra
Singles from The Electric Light Orchestra
  1. "10538 Overture"
    Released: 23 June 1972

The Electric Light Orchestra is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in December 1971 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records. In the United States, the album was released in early 1972 as No Answer, after a misunderstood telephone message made by a United Artists Records executive asking about the album name;[1] the caller, having failed to reach the ELO contact, wrote down "no answer" in his notes, and this was misconstrued to be the name of the album.


The album is focused on the core trio of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, who were the remaining members of rock group The Move. The Move were still releasing singles in the UK at the same time as this project was undertaken, but interest was soon to be abandoned in Wood's former band. The sound is unique on this recording in comparison to the more slickly produced ELO albums of the subsequent Lynne years, incorporating many wind instruments and replacing guitar parts with heavy, "sawing" cello riffs, giving this recording an experimental "Baroque-and-roll" feel; indeed, "The Battle of Marston Moor" is the most baroque-influenced track on the album. On this track, Roy Wood, in addition to playing virtually all the instruments, had to provide the percussion as well because Bev Bevan, normally the group's percussionist and drummer, refused to play on the track because of his low opinion of it.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[2]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[4]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music2/5 stars[5]
MusicHound Rock3/5[6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide3/5 stars[7]

"Queen of the Hours", which became the B-side to "Roll Over Beethoven" from the band's second album, was the first ever ELO published song, released by Harvest Records in November 1971 in a compilation called The Harvest Bag which featured various Harvest records artists.[8]

The original LP was mixed in Quadraphonic sound but was only released in this format in South America. Many of these "quad" tracks appeared with the SQ encoding intact on the "First Light" series edition of the album and on a later double-CD release entitled Early ELO, 1971–1974 (available only as an import in the US). The entire "quad" version with SQ encoding intact has since been released on disc 3 of the Harvest Years compilation.

The original album art was designed by Hipgnosis and the photographs of the band on the back of the album cover, dressed in seventeenth century period costume, were taken at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, adding to the Baroque flavour and emphasis on Stuart Britain found on the record.

"Mr. Radio" was intended to be the second single from the album, but was subsequently withdrawn. The edited single version made its first appearance on the 2005 compilation album Harvest Showdown instead.

Track listing[edit]

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."10538 Overture" (Jeff Lynne)Jeff Lynne, Roy Wood5:32
2."Look at Me Now" (Roy Wood)Roy Wood3:17
3."Nellie Takes Her Bow" (Lynne)Jeff Lynne5:59
4."The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644)" (Wood)Roy Wood6:03
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
5."First Movement (Jumping Biz)" (Wood)Instrumental3:00
6."Mr. Radio" (Lynne)Jeff Lynne5:04
7."Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)" (Lynne)Instrumental4:22
8."Queen of the Hours" (Lynne)Jeff Lynne3:22
9."Whisper in the Night" (Wood)Roy Wood4:50
Total length:41:30

The Electric Light Orchestra (First Light Series)[edit]

The Electric Light Orchestra
(First Light Series)
The Electric Light Orchestra First light.jpg
Studio album by
RecordedJuly 1970 – June 1972
LabelHarvest, EMI
ProducerRoy Wood, Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra chronology
The Electric Light Orchestra
(First Light Series)

ELO 2 (First Light Series)
CD 2 First Light
First Light cover
First Light cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Artistdirect.com4.5/5 stars[9]

The Electric Light Orchestra (First Light Series) is a two disc expanded special 30th anniversary edition of their debut album.

Released in 2001 in the UK, disc one contains the original ELO album plus bonus tracks and an interactive CD-ROM feature, while disc two features the oldest surviving live ELO material with co/founder Roy Wood and cellist Andy Craig.

Disc one[edit]

The Electric Light Orchestra
1."10538 Overture"Lynne5:32
2."Look at Me Now"Wood3:17
3."Nellie Takers Her Bow"Lynne5:59
4."The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644)"Wood6:03
5."First Movement (Jumping Biz)"Wood3:00
6."Mr. Radio"Lynne5:04
7."Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)"Lynne4:22
8."Queen of the Hours"Lynne3:22
9."Whisper in the Night"Wood4:50

Enhanced multimedia section with interactive menu leading to EMI Promotional Film: 10538 Overture (May 1972)

Disc two[edit]

First Light
1."Brian Matthew Introduces ELO"0:37
2."10538 Overture" (acetate version)5:24
3."Look at Me Now" (quad mix)3:19
4."Nellie Takes Her Bow" (quad mix)5:59
5."Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644)" (quad mix)5:55
6."Jeff's Boogie No. 2" (live) (early version of "In Old England Town")6:58
7."Whisper in the Night" (live)5:45
8."Great Balls of Fire" (live)5:40
9."Queen of the Hours" (quad mix)3:18
10."Mr. Radio" (take 9)5:18
11."10538 Overture" (BBC session)4:38
12."Whisper in the Night" (hidden track) (take 1)5:00


Chart positions[edit]


  1. ^ No Answer,, 19 December 2012
  2. ^ Mason, Stewart. "The Electric Light Orchestra – Electric Light Orchestra : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 1972). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: E". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 24 February 2019 – via
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (ed.) (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th edn). London: Omnibus Press. p. 915. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 383. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside/Simon & Schuster. p. 274. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Porter, Robert (September 2010). "Electric Light Orchestra – Roll Over Beethoven; An In-Depth Song Analysis". Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Limited Edition by Electric Light Orchestra".
  10. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra". Offfical Charts Company. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
  11. ^ "The Electric Light Orchestra – Electric Light Orchestra : Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 12 March 2013.

External links[edit]