Electric Light Orchestra Albums Ranked (ELO rated from worst to best)
The Electric Light Orchestra were formed in Birmingham UK in 1970 by songwriters and multi-instrumentalists Jeff Lynne and Roy Wood, along with drummer Bev Bevan. Roy Jeff and Bev had all been members of the group, “The Move” and when they split, ELO was formed. After Roy Wood left in 1972 Jeff became the band’s sole leader, arranger and producer.
During their 13 years of active recording and touring, ELO sold more than 50 million records worldwide making them one of the best selling musical groups of all time.
Table of Contents
Best Electric Light Orchestra Albums Of All Time
ELO have released 15 albums and as always we will rank them as we see them from the rest to the best.
15. From Out Of Nowhere (2019)
Released on November 1st 2019, this is the 14th studio album by ELO and the 2nd credited to Jeff Lynne’s ELO. It’s also the band’s 1st studio album for 4 years. There were 2 singles released from the album which were “Time of Our Life” and the title track. The album went to number 1 on the UK album chart and number 2 on the Billboard Top Tastemaker Albums chart and number 47 on the Billboard 200.
14. Secret Messages (1983)
This was ELO’s 10th studio album which was released on June 24th 1983. This was the last ELO album featuring Kelly Groucutt (bass), Louis Clark (conductor) and a full orchestra. It was also the last ELO album released on the Jet label, as well as being the last ELO studio album to hit the top 40 all over the world. The track “Letter From Spain” was used as backing music in advertisements for the 25th Olympic games held in Barcelona in 1992.
13. Alone In The Universe (2015)
Released on November 13th 2015, this was ELO’s 13th studio album and the 1st credited to Jeff Lynne’s ELO. The name came from Jeff Lynne in response to ELO tribute bands who kept using the name ELO to promote their own tours. This album contains the 1st new material from ELO since the release of “Zoom” back in 2001.
The album got to number 2 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart, number 23 on the Billboard 200 chart, and number 4 in the UK. There were 4 singles released from this album which were; “When I Was a Boy”, “When The Night Comes”, “One Step at a Time” and “Ain’t It a Drag”.
12. Eldorado (1974)
“Eldorado” is the 4th studio album by ELO which was released on September 24th 1974 in the US and a month later in the UK. It was the band’s 1st complete concept album. Jeff Lynne came up with the story before he wrote any music, of a man who lives in a fantasy world via dreams to escape his everyday life.
It was the 1st album that features an orchestra, on previous albums Jeff would overdub the strings. The band’s resident string section continued to play on the songs and are most prominent on the tracks, “Boy Blue” and “Laredo Tornado”.There were 2 singles released from this album which were; “Can’t Get it Out of My Head” and “Boy Blue”.
11. ELO 2 (1973)
This was the band’s 2nd studio album which was released on March 2nd 1973. It was their last album with Harvest Records and the 1st time they had abbreviated their name to ELO. During the early stages of recording this album, Roy Wood left to form “Wizzard” he was replaced by cellist Colin Walker and violinist Wilfred Gibson. This was also the 1st album to feature Richard Tandy (keyboards) as a band member, as well as the 1st time Mike de Albuquerque (bass, vocals) featured on an ELO album.
10. The Electric Light Orchestra (1971)
Released on December 3rd 1971 by Harvest Records in the UK and the following March in the US under the title “No Answer” due to a misunderstanding at United Artists Records. Apparently an executive telephoned the UK to ask about the album’s title but failed to contact anyone connected to ELO, “No Answer” was written down in his notes and this was mistakenly taken as the album’s title.
9. Xanadu (1980)
This was the soundtrack to the film of the same name, featuring Olivia Newton-John the Australian singer and the Electric Light Orchestra. It was released on June 27th 1980 by MCA Records in the US and in July by Jet Records in the UK. The album featured all of Olivia Newton-John’s songs on side 1 and all of ELO’s songs on side 2. The film was something of a flop but the soundtrack album was a worldwide success.
There were 5 singles released from the album with 2 of them, “Magic” and “Xanadu” both reaching number 1 on both sides of the Atlantic. The other singles were; “I’m Alive”, “All Over The World” and “Don’t Walk Away”. The album got to number 2 in the UK and number 1 on the US Top Albums chart and number 4 on the Billboard 200.
8. Face The Music (1975)
Released on September 1st 1975 in the US by United Artists Records and on November 14th 1975 in the UK by Jet Records, this was ELO’s 5th studio album. This album was far more radio friendly than their previous release “Eldorado”. It achieved great commercial success and produced 3 singles which were; “Evil Woman”, “Strange Magic” and “Nightrider”. This was the 1st album to feature Kelly Groucutt (bass) and Melvyn Gale (cello).
The track “Evil Woman” was originally written as a filler track, purely to give the album a longer run time but it became a worldwide hit and was released as a single just 4 weeks after the release of the album.
7. On The Third Day (1973)
This was ELO’s 3rd studio album which was released in November 1973 in the US by United Artists Records and on December 14th 1973 in the UK by Warner Bros. Records. This was the 1st ELO album which had absolutely no input at all from Roy Wood. It was also at this time that the word “The” was dropped from the band’s name.
There were 2 singles released from this album which were “Showdown” and “Ma-ma-ma Belle”. “Showdown wasn’t featured on the UK’s Warner Bros. record as it had been recorded on the Harvest label.
6. Balance Of Power (1986)
This was ELO’s 11th studio album which was released on February 17th 1986 in the US and on March 3rd 1986 in the UK. It was the final album to feature Bev Bevan on drums and also the last to feature Richard Tandy on keyboards. This was ELO’s final album before disbanding (they would reform again in 2001 and again in 2014). Kelly Groucutt had already left the band and with Jeff Lynne playing bass, ELO were down to just a trio.
There were 3 singles released from this album which were; “Calling America”, “So Serious” and “Getting to the Point”. The album got to number 9 on the UK charts and number 49 in the US.
5. Discovery (1979)
Released on June 1st 1979 in the UK by Jet Records and one week later in the US through Columbia Records. This was ELO’s 1st UK number 1 album staying at number 1 on the charts for 5 weeks. There were 5 singles released from this album which were; “Shine A Little Love”, “Don’t Bring Me Down”, “Last Train To London”, “Confusion” and “The Diary Of Horace Wimp”.
Many of the tracks on this album were heavily influenced by disco music to the point that Richard Tandy nicknamed the album Disco, Very. This was the 1st album to generate 4 top 10 singles from a single album in the UK.
4. Zoom (2001)
This was the band’s 12th studio album which was released on June 12th 2001 by Epic Records. Jeff Lynne recorded “Zoom” primarily on his own, with a few guest musicians including George Harrison and Ringo Starr (ex-Beatles), Richard Tandy does make an appearance on the album’s opening track and performed live during promotional concerts.
3. Time (1981)
This was their 9th studio album which was released on July 31st 1981 by Jet Records. It is a concept album about a man who travels from the 1980s to 2095. Whilst there, he is astounded by the technological advancements but longs for the romance of his previous life. The album topped the UK charts for 2 weeks but was also heavily criticised due to the use of synthesisers and missing orchestral rock of previous albums. In later years it has gained a cult-like following.
There were 5 singles released from this album which were “Hold On Tight”, “Twilight”, “Ticket to the Moon”/”Here is the News”, “Rain is Falling” and “The Way Life’s Meant to Be”. The music video for “Hold on Tight” was the most expensive ever made up to that point, costing around £40,000.
2. A New World Record (1976)
Released in October 1976 in the US and on November 19th 1976 in the UK, this was the band’s 6th studio album. This was their 1st album of shorter pop songs which would be their continued trend throughout the rest of their career. This was their 1st top 10 album in the UK and became a success worldwide. The album’s cover features the ELO logo designed by Kosh, for the 1st time.
There were 4 singles released from this album which were; “Livin’ Thing”, “Do Ya”, “Rockaria” and “Telephone Line”. The song “Do Ya” was a remake of The Move’s 1972 single. The following year 4 of the album’s songs would be included on the soundtrack to the film “Joyride”. The album got to number 6 on the UK charts and number 5 on the Billboard 200 chart.
1. Out Of The Blue (1977)
Released on October 3rd 1977, “Out of The Blue” was ELO’s 7th studio album. It was a double album and one of the most commercially successful albums in the band’s history. It took Jeff Lynne just 3 ½ weeks to write this entire album and another 2 months for the band to record it.
There were 5 singles released from this album which were; “Turn to Stone”, “Mr. Blue Sky”, “Sweet Talkin’ Woman”, “Wild West Hero” and “It’s Over”. The album got to number 4 on the UK album charts and the same number on the Billboard 200 chart as well as charting in the top 10 in many other countries around the world.
All Electric Light Orchestra Albums In Chronological Order
|The Electric Light Orchestra||1971|
|On the Third Day||1973|
|Face the Music||1975|
|A New World Record||1976|
|Out of the Blue||1977|
|Xanadu (1980) (with Olivia Newton-John) (soundtrack album)||1980|
|Balance of Power||1986|
|Alone in the Universe (2015) (credited as Jeff Lynne’s ELO)||2015|
|From Out of Nowhere (2019) (credited as Jeff Lynne’s ELO)||2019|
Frequently Asked Questions
The best selling ELO album is “Out Of The Blue” which has sold in excess of 10 million copies worldwide.
The newest ELO album is “From Out Of Nowhere” which was released on November 1st 2019.
The first ELO album is “The Electric Light Orchestra” which was released in December 1971.
ELO’s most famous song is “Mr. Blue Sky” which was taken from the album “Out Of The Blue”.
The Electric Light Orchestra were formed in Birmingham UK in 1970.
The genres ascribed to the Electric Light Orchestra are; Progressive pop, progressive rock, art rock and pop rock.
The current members of ELO are; Jeff Lynne and Richard Tandy, past members are; Roy Wood and Bev Bevan,