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Flashback Box set, Original recording remastered

4.7 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, Original recording remastered, November 21, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This 3-CD, 53-track set is the first comprehensive ELO collection drawn from the original master tapes (many of which were recently rediscovered). ELO impresario Jeff Lynne oversaw this project, penning commentary for every track including hits ( Don't Bring Me Down; Telephone Line; Shine a Little Love; Xanadu , etc.), classics (including 10538 Overture , their first song!), alternate takes, demos, unissued cuts and a new version of Xanadu with Lynne on vocals. A suitably grand-scale set for the masters of orchestral rock!


Electric Light Orchestra are the quintessential fanboy (or fangirl) band; folks tend to either love or hate Jeff Lynne's far-reaching pop act, while critics tend to wrinkle their nose in disgust and dismiss their entire oeuvre save the obscure first album that Roy Wood plays on. Basically, E.L.O. are derided for writing all the Beatles songs that the Beatles never got around to writing in the first place, and then slapping sappy disco string arrangements on top. But at their best this ambitious ensemble--whose maxim is to try and cram as much sound and scope as possible into the conventional pop song--achieve a certain lumbering grace which is amazingly pleasurable. Sure, their songs are sappy and Lynne's lyrics campy, but Lynne is such a master that he transforms artifice into art; he's not the Beethoven of rock, he's its Jeff Koons. Moreover, Lynne is no mere retro futurist; he is fully capable of taking apart high-, low-, and middle-brow genres and recombining them in unexpected ways--in a manner that foreshadows pop music's direction in the 1990s. It's delightful to see this underrated group get a decent, career-spanning three-CD box set (digitally remastered, natch), with the requisite unreleased/alternate takes and elaborate color booklet with extensive liner notes. This music has aged remarkably well, like a fine can of soda pop. --Mike McGonigal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 10538 Overture
  2. Showdown
  3. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle
  4. Mr. Radio
  5. Roll over Beethoven
  6. Mama
  7. One Summer Dream
  8. Illusions in G Major
  9. Strange Magic
  10. Eldorado Overture
  11. Can't Get It out of My Head
  12. Eldorado
  13. Eldorado Finale
  14. Do Ya
  15. Mister Kingdom
  16. Grieg's Piano Concerto In A Minor

Disc: 2

  1. Tightrope
  2. Evil Woman
  3. Livin' Thing
  4. Mr. Blue Sky
  5. Mission (A World Record)
  6. Turn to Stone
  7. Telephone Line
  8. Rockaria!
  9. Starlight
  10. It's Over
  11. The Whale
  12. Sweet Talkin' Woman
  13. Big Wheels
  14. Shangri-La
  15. Nightrider
  16. Tears In Your Life

Disc: 3

  1. Don't Bring Me Down
  2. The Diary of Horace Wimp
  3. Twilight
  4. Secret Messages
  5. Take Me On and On
  6. Shine a Little Love
  7. Rock "n" Roll Is King
  8. Last Train to London
  9. Confusion
  10. Getting to the Point
  11. Hold On Tight
  12. So Serious
  13. Calling America
  14. Four Little Diamonds
  15. Great Balls of Fire
  16. Xanadu
  17. Indian Queen
  18. Love Changes All
  19. After All
  20. Helpless
  21. Who's That?

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 21, 2000)
  • Original Release Date: November 21, 2000
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Box set, Original recording remastered
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 212 minutes
  • ASIN: B000051XZH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,477 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
To call this fantastic collection of the Electric Light Orchestra's finest works brilliant is truly a huge understatement! As the producer/director of the BMG DVD documentary Electric Light Orchestra pt.2: Access All Areas, I had the remarkable good fortune to work with the "part 2" members of this multi-platinum supergroup including (founding member of the original ELO and legendary drummer) Bev Bevan (1972-'86), blue violin virtuoso Mik Kaminski (ELO 1973-83), Louis Clark (ELO orchestral arrangements '74-'83) and bass player Kelly Groucutt (ELO '74-'83) from 1995-2000 and what a thrill it was. Over a period of 5 years I was treated to an up close and personal account of the music that Jeff Lynne (in all his genius) crafted so stunningly! And for a long time fan from America's wild west, the same kid who spent endless hours scanning every liner note and memorizing every ELO lyric, I can tell you, coming face to face with some of my teen years heroes, was a stunning realization of a life long dream! I have heard the hits included on FLASHBACK on every imaginable format over the last twenty plus years, 8-track, LP, cassette, half-speed master recordings and on compact disc (countless times) and in concert (minus Jeff's voice and guitar) nearly a hundred more, but nothing has ever captured the razor sharp edge of Jeff's musical wonders like this amazing, totally re-mastered collection. I literally could not believe my ears, it was as if I was hearing the music for the very first time! The songs on this collection are so crystal clear in fact I sent most of the ELO CD's I owned (including the 1990 box set Afterglow) off to my local used CD store.Read more ›
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Format: Audio CD
Well here it is, the box set that the fans have been waiting for, with digitally remastered tracks, a few rarities and the odd B-side - was it worth it? - well, just about. While the inclusion of all the major hits in their full glory is definitely a big plus, some of the less well known tracks, could quite happily have stayed that way, especially the tracks at the end of Disc 3. As for Jeff Lynne's take on the "Xanadu", it's sad to admit but Olivia Newton-John really did lay down the definitive version of that track. But enough of the bad news!!
ELO have been much maligned over the years from making pompous, Beatlesque music but a listen to their hits can not help but bring a smile to your face. Who couldn't help but be overcome with joy at hearing "Mr Blue Sky"? Force yourself not to sing along to the glorious verses of "Livin' Thing". And try to work out the unintelligible, yet magnificent middle lines of "Turn to Stone". Pop music is supposed to be about, quite simply, making you happy, and ELO delivers in spades. My personal favourites? - definitely "Secret Messages" with "Getting to the Point" a close second. Listening to these on a hot summer's day, cruising down the highway is sheer unadulterated joy.
Burt Bacharach has recently undergone a revival as revisionists seek to put him up in the great pantheon of pop music. If anyone deserves to be looked at next, it is the unalloyed pop genius of Jeff Lynne.
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Format: Audio CD
Excellent stuff! This 3-disc box set gathers most of ELO's greatest hits with some noteworthy album tracks, as well as quite a bit of new stuff which has been hiding in the vaults since 1980 or '82 (and a mercifully brief demo recording dating back to '73). Jeff Lynne has personally remastered the whole set from the long-last master session tapes, resulting in a very crisp sound for many old favorites which have been savaged by the duplication processes of earlier compilations. Some songs, such as "Do Ya" and "Mission (A World Record)," are either edited or extended or completely remixed. "Love Changes All," "Helpless" and "Who's That?" are the highlights among the previously unreleased material, and my favorite B-side "After All" finally appears on CD. The big surprise is an all-new version of "Xanadu," sans Olivia Newton-John's vocals, sung this time by Jeff Lynne. With a new ELO album promised in April 2001 in the liner notes, this more than anything else is a tantalizing taste of ELO's future - though it's certain to spark lively fan debates on whether ELO is truly ELO when it's pretty much Jeff Lynne flying solo. An absolutely essential box set!
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Format: Audio CD
I've been in radio most of my adult life, and my boss GAVE me this CD set to record for airplay, and told me I could keep it when I was finished...well as I sat down in the production room to 'dub' the songs he had pointed out, I found myself on an amazing roller-coaster ride through my own memories. Having been immersed in music almost entirely for the past 30 years, I have a reasonably decent memory when it comes to songs, but I had totally forgotten about several of these, and even a couple I wasn't even sure had originally been done BY ELO...but they WERE. What a fantastic trip that was.
It seems that these days bands who really don't have much in the way of a catalogue of music will release so-called 'box sets' in a feeble attempt to cash in on what little fame they actually enjoyed...but when it came to ELO, I found that they had more than enough music to fill a 3 CD set that is chock full of what the true ELO fan will come to treasure most: FANTASTIC SONGS.
You'll find the usual list of HUGE hits like, 'Strange Magic', 'Turn To Stone' and 'Don't Bring Me Down' but they also gave us so much more, such as 'Confusion', 'Last Train To London' and one of my favorites, 'Calling America'. It is easy to see that a LOT of work and thought went into every single part of this release, from the way it was packaged, the order of the music, the selections themselves and a few previously unreleased songs that really cap an already superior 'collection' set.
For those who believe that ELO 'sold-out' in the 80's with radio friendly songs, think again.
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