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10538 Overture: Electric Light Orchestra Debut Turns 40, Expanded with Quad DVD and Bonus Tracks

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The musical partnership of Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood was a short-lived one, but EMI will soon give listeners a chance to revisit their acclaimed collaboration.  A 40th Anniversary Edition of the debut album from Electric Light Orchestra is set to arrive on March 12.  Self-titled for its original U.K. release and re-titled No Answer for the U.S., the album announced a bold new sound, reportedly created when Wood urged Lynne to add cellos to his song “10538 Overture.”  That track leads off this CD/DVD edition, containing both the original LP in expanded form and a bonus DVD.  On the latter you’ll find the quadraphonic mix of Electric Light Orchestra in DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital, plus the album’s two-channel mix in PCM Stereo.

Electric Light Orchestra may be a shock to the system for those fans who only know the band from its later hits like “Evil Woman” and “Mr. Blue Sky.”  On those songs, musical polymath Jeff Lynne allowed his Beatle-influenced style to flourish, modernizing Lennon and McCartney-style pop songcraft for an arena rock experience.  On the debut album, though, Lynne was sharing the driver’s seat with another prodigiously talented music man, Roy Wood.  A founder of The Move who enlisted Lynne into the Birmingham band upon the departure of lead singer Carl Wayne, Wood brought his classical leanings to the newly-formed ELO, complementing Lynne’s rock sensibilities.  The divergences of opinion between Wood and Lynne only lasted through this one album, with Wood relinquishing ELO to Lynne and going on to form Wizzard.  But some forty years later, Electric Light Orchestra still shows off the best of both gentlemen.

The contrasts between Wood and Lynne are apparent, with the former’s baroque-flavored “Look at Me Now” quite a shift from the latter’s classically-colored hard rock of “10538 Overture.”  There are progressive rock touches to the album, with lengthy pieces like Wood’s “The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644).”  Lynne even touches on jazz with the piano-driven “Manhattan Rumble (49th St. Massacre).”

What bonus tracks have been included?  Hit the jump to find out!

Six bonus tracks bolster the LP line-up, including a Top of the Pops performance and an acetate version of “10538 Overture,” alternate takes of “Whisper in the Night” and “Mr. Radio,” an alternate mix of “Nellie Takes Her Bow,” and the single edit of “Mr. Radio.”  A number of these tracks appeared previously on EMI’s 30th Anniversary 2-CD set, First Light while others appeared on various EMI/Harvest compilations.  The unique quad versions also appeared on that comprehensive 2-CD set, but they were mixed down to two-channel stereo!

The DVD may be the most exciting component of this package.  The original quadrophonic mix has been slightly modified (adding a sub) to create a 4.1 mix of the album, playable in both DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital.  The original stereo mix, a flat transfer of the original stereo analogue master, is also included in PCM Stereo.  The “10538 Overture” promotional film, an extra on the 30th anniversary’s CD-ROM portion, is a bonus track on the DVD.

Dom Lawson provides new liner notes.  A 180-gram heavyweight vinyl reissue of the original album will also coincide with this deluxe edition.  Both the CD/DVD set and the vinyl LP are due in the U.K. on March 12 from EMI and approximately one week later in the U.S.!  You can pre-order below.

Electric Light Orchestra, Electric Light Orchestra: 40th Anniversary Edition (Harvest LP SHVL-707, 1971 – reissued EMI, 2012 – U.S./U.K. )


  1. 10538 Overture (5.31)
  2. Look At Me Now (3.23)
  3. Nellie Takes Her Bow (6.02)
  4. Battle Of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644) (6.05)
  5. 1st Movement (Jumping Biz) (3.02)
  6. Mr. Radio (5.08)
  7. Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre) (4.25)
  8. Queen Of The Hours (3.25)
  9. Whisper In The Night (4.50)
  10. 10538 Overture (acetate version) (5.23)
  11. Mr. Radio (take 9 recorded 18/11/1971) (5.18)
  12. Nellie Takes Her Bow (alternate mix) (6.02)
  13. Whisper In The Night (take 1/take 2 edit) (4.59)
  14. Mr. Radio (7-inch single version) (3.53)
  15. 10538 Overture (for Top Of The Pops) (5.40)

DVD: Electric Light Orchestra (Quad to 4.1 DTS 96/24 and Dolby Digital, plus 96/24 PCM Stereo)

  1. 10538 Overture (5.29)
  2. Look At Me Now (3.16)
  3. Nellie Takes Her Bow (5.58)
  4. Battle Of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644) (6.02)
  5. 1st Movement (Jumping Biz) (2.59)
  6. Mr. Radio (5.04)
  7. Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre) (4.22)
  8. Queen Of The Hours (3.22)
  9. Whisper In The Night (4.46)
  10. 10538 Overture Promo Film (Bonus Video Footage)

CD, Tracks 1-9 from Electric Light Orchestra, Harvest LP SHVL-707, 1971
CD, Tracks 10-11, 15 previously released on First Light: 30th Anniversary Edition, EMI 7243 5 33372 0 9, 2001
CD, Tracks 12-13 previously released on The Harvest Years: 1970-1973, EMI 0946 360078 2 3, 2006
CD, Track 14 previously released on Harvest Showdown, EMI 0946 3 30 263 2 2, 2005

Written by Joe Marchese

January 23, 2012 at 14:26

3 Responses

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  1. Boy, I hope this is really a NEW remaster of the first album, and not just a repackaging of the crummy overly NR’ed 2001/2006 remaster. I’m really hopeful for this, though. I was thinking we would never get another opportunity at this title again, and that we’d be stuck with the previous mediocre efforts at remastering the first two EMI titles.

    Hopefully the sales on this one are good enough to justify another go at ELO 2!

    Victor Dang

    January 23, 2012 at 15:09

  2. …and I hope they do “A New World Record” and “Out Of The Blue” in 5.1. Hopefully before the 40th anniversary.

    Bill B

    January 23, 2012 at 20:05

  3. Shame they have murdered the Quad to lossy DTS when thay could have made it a DVD-A and use lossless MLP, or made it a BLU Ray and use lossless DTS-HDMA.

    Don’t the tossers at these record co’s know we have ears that work out here!
    Seldom do they get it right.
    What a blessing the BLU of Aqualung was, eh?


    January 29, 2012 at 14:32

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