Electric Light Orchestra: Song by Song by John Van der Kiste
|Electric Light Orchestra: Song by Song by John Van der Kiste|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A brief overview of the band's contributors and a comprehensive examination of all their albums.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 144||Date: July 2017|
|Publisher: Fonthill Media3|
My memories of pop music in the early sixties revolve around guitars and drums, sometimes the piano with only occasional excursions into strings and brass. Pop music rarely stands still and it wasn't long before the basic instruments were seens as constraints and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and The Beach Boys began to experiment, with other groups following where they led. Amongst these groups was The Move and their lead guitarist and songwriter, Roy Wood. Wood wanted to develop the group's sound by adding more instruments but was prevented from achieving what he wanted by cost limitations and because the rest of the group didn't really share his enthusiasm.
However, a friend and fellow Birmingham musician, Jeff Lynne, could see the potential in Wood's plan. Inspired by the thought of using a light show, like Pink Floyd and thinking of the BBC Light Orchestra, why not call themselves the Electric Light Orchestra? Strangely enough, it's rare to hear anyone refer to the 'British Broadcasting Corporation' and in much the same way the Electric Light Orchestra has become universally known as the ELO. Lynne and Wood would eventually find that their objectives were incompatible and Wood left Lynne in charge of the group. As a result the progressive rock epics gradually gave way to something which I remember as being far more accessible to mere mortals.
John Van der Kiste is an expert in this period of musical history and uses his skills as a historian (his books on the second half of the eighteenth century are well worth reading) to produce a brief overview of the band's formation,history and contributors which then supports a thorough examination of each of their albums. This is rather more than mere discography, with all the details which you would expect: UK and US release dates, the current edition, who-played-what, where and when it was recorded and the names of the producers just for starters. There's then a general narrative on the album and a track-by-track examination which provides all that you could wish for.
It's obvious that Van der Kiste is steeped in the knowledge of this music, and as you read you sense that he knows far more than he needs to tell you rather than feeling that every bit of research has been mercilessly shoe-horned in regardless of context. It was a pleasure to read and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
For further reading you can't do better than the author's own book Jeff Lynne: The Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After.
You can read more book reviews or buy Electric Light Orchestra: Song by Song by John Van der Kiste at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Electric Light Orchestra: Song by Song by John Van der Kiste at Amazon.com.
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