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Strange Magic: The Best of Electric Light Orchestra

4.6 out of 5 stars 57 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 11, 1995
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Editorial Reviews

Electric Light Orchest ~ Strange Magic: The Best Of Elec

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. 10538 Overture
  2. Roll Over Beethoven
  3. Showdown
  4. Daybreaker
  5. Ma-Ma-Ma Belle
  6. Can't Get It Out Of My Head
  7. Boy Blue
  8. Evil Woman
  9. Strange Magic
  10. Livin' Thing
  11. Do Ya
  12. Telephone Line
  13. Rockaria!

Disc: 2

  1. Turn To Stone
  2. Sweet Talkin' Woman
  3. Mr. Blue Sky
  4. It's Over
  5. Shine A Little Love
  6. Don't Bring Me Down
  7. Confusion
  8. Last Train To London
  9. Hold On Tight
  10. Twilight
  11. Rain Is Falling
  12. Rock 'N' Roll Is King
  13. Four Little Diamonds
  14. Stranger
  15. Calling America
  16. So Serious

Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 11, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Legacy/Epic Associated
  • ASIN: B000002A2V
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,246 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
One of the best (yet strangely underrated) post - Beatles bands to come out of the 1970s' was undoubtedly Electric Light Orchestra. Led by the heavily Beatles influenced Jeff Lynne, their unique mixture of rock and roll and classical music separated them from other '70s' mainstays such as Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin. At their best, their work came pretty damn close to matching the Fab Four's work their peak, and even when they didn't, you could still count on them to release great music.

That being said, thet two disc collection "Strange Magic: The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra" contains all of Electric Light Orchestra's classic hits, the bulk of which include "Can't Get It Out Of My Head", "Evil Woman", "Livin' Thing" (my personal favorite), "Strange Magic", "Telephone Line", "Turn To Stone" and "Don't Bring Me Down". Also added are several lesser known tracks such as "Rockaria", "Last Train To London", "Rock 'N' Roll Is King" (my all time favorite) and "So Serious" (a great song from 1986's often panned "Balance Of Power").

If you already have all these excellent songs, than the main reasn to buy this cd is the great remastering job. Just listen to how clear and crackling the strings sound on "Sweet Talkin' Woman" and how full the drums sound on the driving intro to "Don't Bring Me Down". It doesn't sound any better than this.

Another great reason to buy this cd is for the great booklet that comes with it. It features track info, a beautiully written essay by Ira Robbins and some great photos (I agree with the reviewer that says Jeff Lynne looks like Tim Curry).

So, in conclusion, I highly recommend the purchasing of this cd. It's the best ELO compilation available, and until they release one with "Xandadu" songs, "Tightrope" and "Fire On High", it will remain so.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a nice mix of seventies classics and the more pop-inspired eighties work kicked off by "Discovery." But we already know the songs, so rating a greatist hits compilation is mostly song selection, how the work is presented, and goodies like extra tracks and liner notes. Once again, ELO has pulled together a greatest hits collection omitting possibly the best rock instrumental ever, "Fire on High." Also missing is some very solid work from Xanadu ("I'm Alive," "All Over the World," and the title track). If "Fire on High" weren't such a gem in the ELO catalogue this may be less bothersome. After all, it's not like Jackson Browne's audacious omission of "Boulevard" in his "best of" effort, or Fleetwood Mac overlooking "The Chain" and "Gold Dust Woman" in theirs. Still, it's a double-CD that claims to offer the best of ELO, but doesn't really. The cynic in me says this leaves room for "Best of II..." Either way, it is a nice expansion of the prior "Greatest Hits" CD, so if this is your first foray into the world of ELO, I'd say go for it.
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Format: Audio CD
ELO evolved from another British group, The Move, which was successful in the late sixties with such hits as Flowers in the rain and Blackberry way. Bev Bevan, Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne, all previously with The Move, created ELO. With other new members, they recorded their debut album, which yielded the UK top ten hit 10538 overture. After that, there were a series of line-up changes but the biggest change came because Roy and Jeff disagreed about the way that ELO should develop. Roy and two others quit and formed their own group, Wizzard (essentially a rock'n'roll group, updated for the seventies) who had a couple of UK number one hits (See my baby jive, Angel fingers), but is now best remembered for the top five hit, I wish it could be Christmas every day.

With Roy gone, Jeff was free to do what he wanted. He added classical music influences to a basic rock sound, making something unique and distinctive, though this vision took a few albums to be fully realized. ELO had a long string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic in the seventies, particularly from the albums A new world record, Out of the blue and Discovery, but were unable to sustain that success in the eighties. Their last UK top ten hit was in 1981 and they only came close once after that - in 1983, with Rock'n'roll is king. In America, their fortunes faded equally dramatically but they had already recorded a body of work that is well worth listening to.

This compilation contains all ELO's big American hits except those from the Xanadu soundtrack. So Xanadu, I'm alive and All over the world are all missing - they are frequently omitted from ELO compilations on both sides of the Atlantic though they can be found on the superior British compilation, Ultimate collection.
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By A Customer on February 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
ELO is a very special band that has been completely and unfairly forgotten in recent years. I hardly ever hear their songs on the radio any more, but looking at this stellar line up of songs on this collection, you have to wonder why this is so. Out of the 30+ songs on this set, i believe only about 3 or 4 didnt crack the top 30. That is incredibly impressive, but yet all it seemed to earn Jeff Lynne was a trip down forgotten lane. ELO is one of the few bands that you can truly escape with...the music packaged with their clever album art made for a total rock music experience like none other. This music is great, and hopefully this low for a 2-disc set price will attract many new listeners. One testament to how good the ELO catalog is...this is a 2 disc set and everyone (myself included) still think they could have added a third disc with ease! From the string of quality hits with ELO, to his production work with Tom Petty, the Traveling Wilburys, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson et al., Jeff Lynne not receiving a lifetime achievement award is almost a crime. This collection is an important piece of the rock era that should not be overlooked, and hopefully when the new ELO album "Zoom" comes out in 2001 people will re-discover this great band.
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