Day 134: A song by your favorite band/artist whose name begins with “E”.
“Calling America” – Electric Light Orchestra
That’s how “Calling America” starts. In turn, it was the start of my real interest in Electric Light Orchestra, before I bought A New World Record, before I even really knew much about the history of the band, there was “Calling America.”
Although I’d been introduced to “Telephone Line” by my brother and “Rock ‘n’ Roll Is King” via HBO’s “Video Jukebox” before this, “Calling America” (and its follow-up, “So Serious”) convinced me to buy Balance Of Power in 1986.
I still have the vinyl. (Shocker!)
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And while I didn’t know then that its synth-laden sound isn’t quite on par with previous efforts that used real strings, nor that its upbeat music belied lyrics about Jeff Lynne’s frustration with being locked into the constraints of the expectations of what the “Electric Light Orchestra” should be, I loved it. (I still love it now, frankly, I think it’s a great album.)
I liked it so much, in fact, that I was pretty disappointed that there wasn’t a follow-up.
- Okay, there was, 2001’s Zoom, but that hardly counts since it was essentially a Jeff Lynne solo album, and it was 15 years later.
- I had no idea in 1986 that he was so disenchanted. (Did you?)
- I’ve included this third bullet with no ELO content whatsoever because bulleted lists look better in threes.
I’ve heard people complain that “Calling America” was just a retread of “Telephone Line.” That’s not entirely true. The latter talks about a lost love, while the former is really about someone being disingenuous about why they’re going away. More “lost liar” than “lost lover.” Besides, “Calling America” is a lot snappier.
Balance Of Power was the first ELO album I bought. And, ironically, the last (at least as of this writing). But it’s not the only ELO album I’ve bought. How?
The answer tomorrow. (If I remember to include it. I’m old and I forget things.)