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; 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.
"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.
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.
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.
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