The Electric Light Orchestra (album)

The Electric Light Orchestra is the eponymous debut studio album by English rock band Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), released in December 1971 in the United Kingdom by Harvest Records. In the United States, the album was released in March 1972 as No Answer, after a misunderstood telephone message made by a United Artists Records executive asking about the album name;[1] the caller, having failed to reach the ELO contact, wrote down "no answer" in his notes, and this was misconstrued to be the name of the album.

The Electric Light Orchestra
Studio album by
Released3 December 1971; March 1972 (US)
RecordedJuly 1970 – June 1971
StudioPhilips Studios, London
GenreProgressive rock
The Electric Light Orchestra chronology
The Electric Light Orchestra
Singles from The Electric Light Orchestra
  1. "10538 Overture"
    Released: 23 June 1972


The album is focused on the core trio of Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, who were the remaining members of rock group The Move. The Move were still releasing singles in the UK at the same time as this project was undertaken, but interest was soon to be abandoned in Wood's former band. In fact, The Move's final album, Message From The Country, was recorded simultaneously with this album. The sound is unique on this recording in comparison to the more slickly produced ELO albums of the subsequent Lynne years, incorporating many wind instruments and replacing guitar parts with heavy, "sawing" cello riffs, giving this recording an experimental "baroque-and-roll" feel; indeed, "The Battle of Marston Moor" is the most baroque-influenced track on the album. On this track, Roy Wood, in addition to playing virtually all the instruments, had to provide the percussion as well because Bev Bevan, normally the group's percussionist and drummer, refused to play on the track because of his low opinion of it.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [2]
Christgau's Record GuideB–[4]
The Encyclopedia of Popular Music     [5]
MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide     [6]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [7]

"Queen of the Hours", which later became the B-side to "Roll Over Beethoven" from the band's second album ELO 2, was the first ever published ELO song, released by Harvest Records in November 1971 in a compilation called The Harvest Bag which featured various Harvest records artists.[8]

The original LP was mixed in Quadraphonic sound but was only released in this format in South America. Many of these "quad" tracks appeared with the SQ encoding intact on the "First Light" series edition of the album and on a later double-CD release entitled Early ELO, 1971–1974 (available only as an import in the US). The entire "quad" version with SQ encoding intact has since been released on disc 3 of the Harvest Years compilation.

The original album art was designed by Hipgnosis; the photographs of the band on the back of the album cover, dressed in 17th-century period costume, were taken at the Banqueting House in Whitehall, adding to the Baroque flavour and emphasis on Stuart Britain found on the record.

"Mr. Radio" was intended to be the second single from the album, but was subsequently withdrawn. The edited single version made its first appearance on the 2005 compilation album Harvest Showdown instead.

Track listingEdit

Side one
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
1."10538 Overture"Jeff LynneJeff Lynne5:32
2."Look at Me Now"Roy WoodRoy Wood3:17
3."Nellie Takes Her Bow"LynneLynne5:59
4."The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644)"WoodWood6:03
Side two
No.TitleWriter(s)Lead vocalsLength
5."First Movement (Jumping Biz)"Woodinstrumental3:00
6."Mr. Radio"LynneLynne5:04
7."Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)"Lynneinstrumental4:22
8."Queen of the Hours"LynneLynne3:22
9."Whisper in the Night"WoodWood4:50
Total length:41:30
Bonus tracks (US 2006 Remaster)
10."The Battle of Marston Moor (Alternate take)"Wood1:00
11."Nellie Takes Her Bow (Alternate mix)"Lynne6:02
12."Mr. Radio (Take 9)"Lynne5:19
13."10538 Overture (Alternate mix)"Lynne5:46
Bonus tracks (40th Anniversary Edition)
10."10538 Overture (Acetate version)"Lynne5:23
11."Mr. Radio (Take 9, recorded 18 November 1970)"Lynne5:18
12."Nellie Takes Her Bow (Alternate mix)"Lynne6:02
13."Whisper in the Night (Take 1/Take 2 edit)"Wood4:59
14."Mr. Radio (Single edit)"Lynne3:56
15."10538 Overture (for Top of the Pops)"Lynne4:42

The Electric Light Orchestra (First Light Series)Edit

The Electric Light Orchestra
(First Light Series)
Studio album by
RecordedJuly 1970 – June 1972
LabelHarvest, EMI
ProducerRoy Wood, Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra chronology
The Electric Light Orchestra
(First Light Series)

ELO 2 (First Light Series)
CD 2 First Light
First Light cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating     [9]

The Electric Light Orchestra (First Light Series) is a two-disc expanded special 30th anniversary edition of their debut album.

Released in 2001 in the UK, disc one contains the original ELO album plus bonus tracks and an interactive CD-ROM feature, while disc two features the oldest surviving live ELO material with co/founder Roy Wood and cellist Andy Craig.

Disc oneEdit

The Electric Light Orchestra
1."10538 Overture"Lynne5:32
2."Look at Me Now"Wood3:17
3."Nellie Takes Her Bow"Lynne5:59
4."The Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1644)"Wood6:03
5."First Movement (Jumping Biz)"Wood3:00
6."Mr. Radio"Lynne5:04
7."Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)"Lynne4:22
8."Queen of the Hours"Lynne3:22
9."Whisper in the Night"Wood4:50
Bonus tracks
10."Battle of Marston Moor" (take 1)Wood1:00
11."10538 Overture" (take 1)The Move/ELO5:46

Enhanced multimedia section with interactive menu leading to EMI Promotional Film: 10538 Overture (May 1972)

Disc twoEdit

First Light
1."Brian Matthew Introduces ELO"0:37
2."10538 Overture" (acetate version)5:24
3."Look at Me Now" (quad mix)3:19
4."Nellie Takes Her Bow" (quad mix)5:59
5."Battle of Marston Moor (July 2nd, 1644)" (quad mix)5:55
6."Jeff's Boogie No. 2" (live) (early version of "In Old England Town")6:58
7."Whisper in the Night" (live)5:45
8."Great Balls of Fire" (live)5:40
9."Queen of the Hours" (quad mix)3:18
10."Mr. Radio" (take 9)5:18
11."10538 Overture" (BBC session)4:38
12."Whisper in the Night" (hidden track) (take 1)5:00



Chart Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[10] 54
UK Albums (OCC)[11] 32
US Billboard 200[12] 196


  1. ^ No Answer,, 19 December 2012
  2. ^ Mason, Stewart. "The Electric Light Orchestra – Electric Light Orchestra : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic.
  3. ^ Christgau, Robert (August 1972). "The Christgau Consumer Guide". Creem. Retrieved 19 January 2018.
  4. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: E". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved 24 February 2019 – via
  5. ^ Larkin, Colin (ed.) (2011). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th edn). London: Omnibus Press. p. 915. ISBN 978-0-85712-595-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  6. ^ Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 383. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  7. ^ Brackett, Nathan; with Hoard, Christian (eds) (2004). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th edn). New York, NY: Fireside/Simon & Schuster. p. 274. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Porter, Robert (September 2010). "Electric Light Orchestra – Roll Over Beethoven; An In-Depth Song Analysis". Retrieved 8 September 2010.
  9. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Limited Edition by Electric Light Orchestra".
  10. ^ "Australian Album Chart Positions". Strange Magic. Australia. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  11. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  12. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 13 November 2020.

External linksEdit