Did Xanadu Destroy ELO's AOR Reputation?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by lawrev, Oct 19, 2021.

  1. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    And then it fell off a cliff, commercially...
     
  2. Sanctuary

    Sanctuary Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kenduskeag, Maine
    ELO’s AOR Reputation is what I think I’ll name my next band.. so bold and full of capital letters! Now onto the question.. I don’t think it did anything of the sort. The singles and album did relatively well and somewhere in the world right now I’m Alive or Xanadu is no doubt playing in someone’s Greek themed den. ELO hastened their own demise in my estimation by tiptoeing slightly away with every album from their original concept. Growth is good but morphing into a robotic artificial sounding facsimile of ELO is not growth.

    The slide into material and a sound that felt like musical bologna is what slid them away from being relevant. There is a fair amount of decline found when you go from songs like Living Thing and Telephone Line to half baked ideas like Rock And Roll Is King and Hold On Tight. All apologies to all early eighties ELO fanatics but that is not called progress but rather the last sputtering gasps of a once decent band. The murderer of ELO’s AOR reputation was not Xanadu but ELO themselves.
     
  3. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I figured you would set me straight. As I get older I’m starting to get a little fuzzy on her timeline. Thank you for the correction.
     
  4. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    I just read an update on her health. What a brave soul. And certainly not looking for sympathy. But reading between the lines I don’t think she’s doing that great, just as good as can be expected given she is getting the very best treatment possible. Stage four cancer isn’t a good thing. She really shouldn’t be doing anything that can tire her, and should only perform when it gives her pleasure. She’s given us plenty already. No doubt you guys agree!
     
  5. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Well, and not to be snarky but kinda deservedly so. After songs like the incredible Magic her material also fell off the proverbial cliff. I really hated the change in direction on the rough sounding songs like Heart Attack. I know some of you guys liked her last few hits but Magic was about the last song I really liked a lot. I did like Xanadu, but didn’t love it. Her Physical album was the last one I really liked all the way through. John Farrar was really her secret weapon and like all great song writers, at some point the ideas run out. It warmed my heart to read an interview and to see her give him a lot of credit for her success. Like Nancy Sinatra and her partner. But like I said above, her and John gave us so much to continue to enjoy and love. I still play her albums an awful lot.
     
  6. Bobby Morrow

    Bobby Morrow Forum Resident

    Yes, I get the feeling her condition has worsened this year.
     
    Jarleboy likes this.
  7. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    Looking back, I find it curious that friends of mine in high school that were into AOR bands thought ELO, with violins as a big component of their sound, thought they were so cool. But they did, but that was all over with after Out Of The Blue. And maybe that makes sense. I wasn’t into AOR as a kid, but I loved ELO by the time Out Of The Blue was released. Clearly they went for more mainstream pop at that point, so it makes sense they lost the AOR crowd.

    I didn’t think Discovery was as bad as some of you, but it was no Out Of The Blue either. But anyone who can come out with a two album set and have such a consistent strong block of songs deserves a small break if the follow up isn’t as strong. Elton’s Yellow Brick Road and maybe a handful of others are among truly worthy, great two album sets imo. They are rare.
     
    Northernlight, Jarleboy and Chris C like this.
  8. Jrr

    Jrr Forum Resident

    She is one I will be truly sad about when someday she leaves us.
     
  9. TrekkiELO

    TrekkiELO Forum Resident

    Paul McCartney had a similar situation in 1979 when Goodnight Tonight did not appear on Wings' then-current album Back to the Egg (from which sessions this song was recorded), as McCartney felt it did not fit the theme of the LP.

    Ironically Don't Bring Me Down was the first song by ELO without a string section.
     
  10. blutiga

    blutiga Forum Resident

    And a very good misogynist song about evil women lol.
     
  11. blutiga

    blutiga Forum Resident

    Well ELO and Rock n Roll Is King were not the only ones that through themselves off the Shakin Stevens cliff, - add Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love and Dire Straits - Twistin By The Pool. All equally as nauseating as Rock N Roll Is King imo.
     
    Retropsych, LAL and Michaelpeth like this.
  12. TrekkiELO

    TrekkiELO Forum Resident

    Rock 'n' Roll Is King was Motor Factory with different lyrics that were recorded but wiped, maybe it's still out there somewhere, Jeff Lynne should've kept his original premise!
     
    blutiga and lawrev like this.
  13. Robert Tilley

    Robert Tilley Forum Resident

    Not sure if it's been mentioned but on the Wembley concert release Jeff's commentary states that Xanadu is likely his favorite song that he's written. I think it's a strong track. I haven't heard the rest of the album. ELO's version of the track on the Wembley release is great.
     
    Jarleboy likes this.
  14. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    And if Goodnight Tonight was on Back to the Egg, that would have pushed album sales even better.

    Ironically, both Discovery and Back to the Egg were the last U.S. platinum albums for those bands (and I don't count Xanadu). And I am only counting albums that went plat on first release.
     
  15. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Crazy Little Thing was better executed than RIRIK, and CLT went to the U.S. #1 while RIRIK peaked at #19. Not shabby for the latter, though.

    Queen's The Game was a #1 album in the U.S.
    ELO never had a U.S. #1 album on the Billboard Hot 100.

    I think we know which band had more "legs" going into the 1980s. :)
     
  16. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I would love to hear the original Motor Factory!
     
    Northernlight likes this.
  17. bhazen

    bhazen Beatles Forever

    Location:
    Newport Hills, WA
    Yikes.

    I generally do not miss the 80's ...
     
  18. kwadguy

    kwadguy Senior Member

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA
    The Grass Roots' version is better.

    But certainly not as bad as a snooze fest like "Letter From Spain".
     
    Chazzbo13 and lawrev like this.
  19. dubious title

    dubious title Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario
    Funny post, really. You have a J Giles avatar, that's totally great, I do ask though, in what den do they play this song?

     
  20. dubious title

    dubious title Forum Resident

    Location:
    Ontario
    Sounds like Peter might have wanted a bit of that sweet ELO 80s pie. I'll take Jeff's naff 80s B side over this single.

     
  21. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Freeze Frame is still in my cd rotation to this day.

    If ELO had a video in the mold of "Centerfold" for their Time track The Way Life's Meant to Be, that track may have been a hit! :)
     
    Northernlight and dubious title like this.
  22. RevUp64

    RevUp64 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Atlanta, GA, US
    I was 16 when Xanadu was released and remember well how huge both ELO and ONJ were at the time. While I liked the movie enough to sit through it twice (being from a small southern town, the life those characters lived looked like huge fun to me), the soundtrack clearly eclipsed the film in terms of popularity and pop-culture significance. I admire what the film tried to do and still enjoy watching it, which may have as much to do with the nostalgia of such an innocent period in my own life as anything. But did it hurt ELO? I can't imagine how it did anything other than make them buckets of money.

    People who say that Xanadu is the worst movie ever have clearly not seen many movies. I recommend The Apple, for starters, another rock musical released at about the same time, which might make you view Xanadu as a work of art.
     
  23. Pizza

    Pizza With extra pepperoni

    Location:
    USA
    I’ve said this in the past. Olivia and ELO fit perfectly together. Jeff would have been perfect for her back then.
     
  24. Sgt. Abbey Road

    Sgt. Abbey Road Forum Resident

    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    Your comparison with ABBA is great! Especially „Confusion“ and its keyboard sound reminded me a lot of these four Swedes. It’s not a negative quality in my opinion because Benny & Björn were and still are phenomenal songwriters. Nevertheless, I prefer „A New World Record“ and „Out Of The Blue“ because these albums have hardly any fillers:)
     
    Retropsych, Jarleboy, Jrr and 3 others like this.
  25. Sgt. Abbey Road

    Sgt. Abbey Road Forum Resident

    Location:
    Graz, Austria
    Edit: I also think that the piano of „Xanadu“ was inspired by „Dancing Queen“:cool:
     
    Jarleboy and Northernlight like this.

Share This Page

molar-endocrine