Electric Light Orchestra — Olé ELO

ELO sort of snuck up on me in my teens. I remember hearing “Can’t Get It Out Of My Head” on the radio — it was a pretty big hit in 1975, and I always loved its atmosphere. It was followed in quick succession by “Evil Woman” and “Strange Magic,” which were also big hits in 1975 and 1976, and had the same sort of sound, and I definitely dug it. But I don’t think I bought the singles. Then “A New World Record” came out in 1976 and, as the kids say, hit me in all the feels. That was my gateway ELO.

Front cover of Olé ELO
Front cover of Olé ELO — Using sex not to sell but to confuse? The more I stare at it, the lazier this whole concept seems.

Despite about a thousand opportunities as I dug through used record bins, I didn’t pick up their earlier records back then, except for this one, an interesting compilation. How many greatest hits collections have only three songs on the first side? Long versions of “Kuiama” and “Roll Over Beethoven” necessitated that.

I bought this at some point in my college years, not sure just when, and I can’t say it got a lot of play. I’m not sure why, I really enjoy it; these earlier songs have a somewhat different feel than the two albums we have upcoming, but this one always got less attention from me. Maybe because I didn’t really experience it in real time like I did “A New World Record” and “Out of the Blue.” About which anon. Anon anon anon.

But this sampler of their first five albums didn’t send me running for any of them – probably because the next two were so damned perfect.

Back cover of Olé ELO
Back cover of Olé ELO — titles and little narratives about each song. Don’t love the airbrush execution here.

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