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A New World Record

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Editors’ Notes

Electric Light Orchestra’s audacious dream of fusing classical orchestration with rock ‘n’ roll approached near-perfection on A New World Record. This 1976 work justified the semi-successful experiments that bandleader Jeff Lynne had conducted earlier, and this time all the elements were held in balance: the pounding piano riffs, heroic guitar flourishes, and aching vocals fully compliment the swirling violins and moaning cellos surrounding them. Lynne applies these arrangements to a brace of songs both carnal and angelic in feel. Tracks like “Shangri-La” and “Tightrope” have an opulence that recalls the great Hollywood soundtracks of the 1930s. “Above The Clouds” conveys dreaminess, while “Rockaria!” ascends operatic heights on slide-guitar energy. ELO manages at times to compress its grandeur down to hit-single size, as “Telephone Line” and “Livin’ Thing” demonstrate, and Lynne even reaches back to his days with the Move for a remake of the surging “Do Ya.” Few other bands could follow ELO into the rarified realms of classical-rock without stumbling; A New World Record is practically a planet unto itself.

Customer Reviews

Just as good today as 30 years ago!

What a fabulous masterpiece of an album. This is my fourth time to buy this through the decades. 8-track, cassette, & LP. And now MP3. Just buy it. It's the right thing to do.


You might look at the popular songs, and believe you know this album. But you'd be wrong. What you need to do is listen to the whole thing, as is the case with so many ELO albums, and relish the brilliance.

I first experienced this album on vinyl. And that's my preference. It's hauntingly beautiful, moving, at times sad, but impactful. Still, buy it on iTunes and love it.

ELO is magic.

Absolute Perfection!

The height of Jeff Lynne’s creative powers. Not a weak song on the entire album from Tightrope right through to the end.


Formed: October, 1970 in Birmingham, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Electric Light Orchestra's ambitious yet irresistible fusion of Beatlesque pop, classical arrangements, and futuristic iconography rocketed the group to massive commercial success throughout the 1970s. ELO was formed in Birmingham, England in the autumn of 1970 from the ashes of the eccentric art-pop combo the Move, reuniting frontman Roy Wood with guitarist/composer Jeff Lynne, bassist Rick Price, and drummer Bev Bevan. Announcing their intentions to "pick up where 'I Am the Walrus' left off,"...
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