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Electric Light Orchestra, going as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO,” released a new album in November. It’s the first since Zoom, 2001. Although his new songs may not be hits along the lines of his 70s output, Lynne can do virtually no wrong. They didn’t remind me that I like his music, they reaffirmed that. In other words, I never forgot ELO. That said, I didn’t even know about them until I went to college. Specifically, the summer before.ccddf3639932fef0e76f5b28316b05b2ca8a9c1b9a0e1510f2b0c68a0ec0202fIn its heyday, ELO was one of the biggest bands. Jeff Lynne is one of the most talented musicians ever. He’s probably an even better producer. In turn, I think a lot of people know about ELO. I just haven’t run into many. You don’t hear about it in the same way you hear about some other successful acts, but when you hear ELO, you know. The sound is unmistakable. Lynne has a great voice that holds up today. His arrangements are epic.

ELO’s use of synthesizers was ahead of its time. On one level, they were implemented soundly. On another level, they can sound a little dated because electronic flexibility hadn’t entirely caught up with Lynne. That’s part of the charm. Electronic music today should use more instruments. If you listen to the playlists posted on this site, you might think I only listen to mainstream EDM. This is generally true, but I don’t only listen to EDM.Intro-e1446646172839One of my favorite things is identifying songs I couldn’t place. I was pleased to find ELO. Lynne was responsible for “Evil Woman,” a favorite.

He co-wrote and produced “You Got It,” for example:

As I looked down the catalogue, however, I saw he was also responsible for ‘that song’ and ‘that song’ and ‘that song.’ I think ELO is one of the ultimate bands that made a lot of songs you didn’t realize it made. Additionally, ELO appears in pop culture. Austin Powers, Billy Madison. It’s around. There’s a good chance you’ve heard ELO. I compiled a list of my favorite Electric Light Orchestra music. In keeping with days in the month, here’s my top 32 (no ties):

(Unsurprising: “The band also holds the record for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits, 20, of any group in US chart history without having a number one single.”)

 

32. “Across the Border”

31. “So Serious”

30. “Showdown”

29. “Jungle”

28. “Eldorado”

27. “Steppin’ Out”

26. “Surrender”

25. “When I Was a Boy”

24. “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle”

23. “Long Black Road”

22. “Summer and Lightning”

21. “The Fall”

20. “I’m Alive”

19. “Shine a Little Love”

18. “Strange Magic”

17. “Xanadu”

16. “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”

15. “10538 Overture”

14. “Confusion”

13. “Alright”

12. “Livin’ Thing”

11. “Four Little Diamonds”

10. “Don’t Bring Me Down”

9. “Do Ya”

8. “Sweet is the Night”

7. “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”

6. “Calling America”

5. “The Diary of Horace Wimp”

4. “Telephone Line”

3. “Evil Woman”

2. “Mr. Blue Sky”

1. “All Over the World”