DJ Sue

DJ Sue
Welcome to my blog. I’m a DJ in Second Life and I find myself discussing the music I’m playing with many of those in attendance at my shows. Unfortunately, when I am busy DJing, I can’t participate and discuss the music as fully as I would like. I’m hoping this blog can help change that. Look here before my set to see if I might be playing something interesting today or maybe after to see if discussion on a topic might continue. You are invited to join in the conversation and leave comments.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Electric Light Orchestra

SUE’S SUNDAY SOJOURN: Each week Sue will showcase a particular artist or band during her entire two hour set.  Each week, prior to the set, there will be a blog post where she will write about her memories, favorite stories or share other interesting tidbits about the artist.  The idea here is not to tell the story of the band or play two hours of their greatest hits.  The idea behind Sue’s Sunday Sojourn will be to spend time with Sue, down in her music vault.  As she puts together the set, she will reminisce and share special memories.  “I remember when this came out,” or, “I recall hearing this for the first time and I thought…”  She might share little known facts, favorite memories, fun stories or maybe even some personal experiences. 

The sets will have plenty of the big hits but be ready for a few obscure tunes that may be her personal favorites.  She will probably include a few rarities or possibly unreleased material, along with other assorted curios.  So join her every Sunday night from 7-9 PM SLT as she lets you into her world.

The Electric Light Orchestra

I recall John Lennon being asked back in the late ‘70’s, “If the Beatles were around today, how would they sound?”  He answered the question by saying that they would probably sound a lot like ELO.  He had also, at various times, referred to ELO as the “Son of Beatles.”  There are quite a few Beatles/ELO connections and I wrote a blog post almost six years ago in which I covered these and gave a decent retrospect on The Electric Light Orchestra.  You can read that post here and I’ll try not to overlap with it here, except for a couple of necessary tidbits.

If you read that post, you’d know that the Electric Light Orchestra was a concept for a new band or project started by members of a band called the “Move.”  The Move was a very success and famous band in the UK but they never really made it big in the United States.  I wasn’t even aware of them before researching them after I became an ELO fan.

And I wasn’t really a fan of theirs for a few years.  Yeah, I saw their records in the record store and I recall hearing them on the radio but I didn’t really pay that much attention to them until one camping trip.  My senior year of high school had just started but it was early enough in the fall that it was still warm.  My parents allowed me to go on this camping trip with older teens and college students, mostly because my older brother and two cousins were going.  Still, the pot and beer flowed freely and we all felt good all weekend long.  I seem to remember that I brought along a bottle of Boone’s Farm.  Yes, I know!  Wine with a screw cap, but we were kids and this was a last hurrah of America’s Bicentennial Summer for us.

My Loudmouth portable 8-track player
(a pic of 1 like mine I found on the net)
We stayed up late into the night Friday into Saturday, having a good time.  As an afterthought, I brought along General Electric Loudmouth, a portable AM/FM/8-track tape player, shown at the left.  After listening to several tapes, the batteries started to give out and even high we could hear the tapes were starting to slur, so I switched it to FM radio and found us a rock station.  We would obviously need more alcohol on Saturday and we could add batteries to the list.  It was very late and we still sat around the fire, letting it burn down to just orange coals as we passed one last joint around.  That’s when I first heard it.  Those opening musical notes along with the ringback tone as the listener waits to see if anyone answers.  We then hear one side of a phone conversation…

“Hello, how are you?
Have you been alright through all those lonely
Lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely nights?
That's what I'd say; I'd tell you everything
If you pick up that telephone, yeah, yeah, yeah.”

The early morning hour, the weed, the darkness, the embers in the fire; I don’t know which one of those contributed to the experience. Maybe it was all of them or maybe it was none of them.  That song so moved me!  The DJ came on and told us it was off of the brand new ELO album, A New World’s Record.  I heard it a few more times that weekend and each time it stunned me in the same way.  I had become an ELO fan and I can’t hear it today without an intense feeling of nostalgia going back to that evening.

I went out one afternoon after school the following week and bought that album.  Every cut off of it was a winner.  I especially liked the song, Do Ya, which I’d later learn was them covering themselves from when they used to be the Move.

When their next album came out it was a double, Out of the Blue.  Here were many more great ELO tunes to listen to.  I was a bit disappointed when the next studio album, Discovery, was released.  They had begun to go Disco just like the Bee Gees had done.  I was heartbroken but I had by this time acquired all of their earlier albums and had plenty of ELO to play.  It was easy for me to do as a radio DJ.

An ELO concert was something to see and I regret never having seen them live.  Many bands used session musicians to play violins and other instruments and some even toured with these extra musicians.  However, with ELO they were key members of the band and all seven members were featured on every song.  This included a guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, two cellos and a violin.  That is what you saw on stage in the spotlight.  The Cellos were adapted so they could dance around stage with them and these string instruments had brightly colored finishes instead of the traditional wood grain.  (See the photo below.)  ELO most certainly put on a spectacular show.  After the release of Out of the Blue, their stage show included the ship shown in the picture at the top of this page.  It would open revealing the band inside and they’d play the concert from within it.

Hugh McDowell (white cello) and Mik Kaminski (blue violin) in concert

It is my opinion that their heyday was in the 1970’s and they died a slow death through the 1980’s.  It is also my opinion that they were on life support after the release of their disco-ish album, Discovery.  Then again, they did have a few hits in the 80’s too, like Rock and Roll is King.  (I'll play it Sunday.)  I guess a lot of this is individual taste and I thought that they had abandoned their “Album Oriented Rock,” FM radio roots and turned pop.  Their death was so tragic that when they disbanded in 1986 there wasn’t even a public announcement made and no one even noticed.

Of the three members of the Move that became the Electric Light Orchestra, Jeff Lynn, Bev Bevan and Roy Wood, one only stuck around for the first two albums.  Roy Wood left part way through recording the second ELO album and formed a new band, Wizzard.  Bev Bevan was the only one of the trio who was a founding member of the Move from 1965 on.  Jeff Lynn was a late comer to the Move but he was the only one of the three to see ELO to the end in 1986.  Bevan would leave to join Black Sabbath in 1983.

Lynn and Bevan jointly owned the name, “The Electric Light Orchestra.”  After disbanding they did tour in various combinations, sometimes only having one former ELO member in the lineup.  These were rather hollow representations with little substance.  In 2001 the Electric Light Orchestra released a new album, Zoom.  Unfortunately it was Jeff Lynn and a bunch of guest musicians.  The only other former ELO member to appear on the album was keyboardist, Richard Tandy, and he only appeared on one track.  Nothing off of this album made my final two hour cut for the set this Sunday.

In 2015 Jeff Lynn released another album using the name “Jeff Lynn’s ELO.”  No other former ELO members appear on it but I will say this.  It is a great Jeff Lynn record and even charted well but it’s just that, a Jeff Lynn album and not ELO.  In my opinion it sounds more like the Traveling Wilburys than the Electric Light Orchestra.  I will play one cut from this album on Sunday and you can decide.

DJ Sue’s Vault…

Above is my vinyl of On the Third Day.  I know somewhere in my mother’s attic there is a box with my old Loudmouth and a few tapes.  I saw the box a few years ago so I know one of the tapes was a double length 8-track of Out of the Blue.  I gave a twenty minute search a few says ago hoping to be able to photograph both for this post but alas, I was not able to find it.


Today all I need to hear is those opening notes of Telephone Line and suddenly I’m 17 again, back on that camping trip, before the trauma and the PTSD.  Music has the power to do that.  I also get that from reminiscing and sharing this with all of you in Second Life.

My Electric Light Orchestra died after the release of Discovery and that is how I wish to remember them.  There was only one Electric Light Orchestra and there will be no other.  Join us on Sunday night as the young me relives that Strange Magic from the 70’s, the magic that was ELO.

The Move 1969 (l to r) Jeff Lynn, Roy Wood, Bev Bevan and Carl Wayne


  1. This band is by far my all time favorite band, because they had such a great classical sound and really made those instruments sing. Their concept albums have become legendary such as Eldorado. I also had one of those Loudmouth's just so I could listen to my favorite ELO tape. I have a lot of great memories of ELO even now. So I am sure this set will really showcase their best tunes. I recall rushing out after getting paid just to buy another ELO album and cranking it up in my car.

  2. I agree with you completely, Maya!!!!

    Sue will take care of ya Sunday, no worries.