ARTIST: Electric Light Orchestra
TITLE: On the Third Day
YEAR RELEASED: 1973
CHART ACTION: #52
SINGLES: Showdown (#53 US, #12 UK), Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (#22 UK), Daybreaker (#87 US)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: In the Hall of the Mountain King
LINEUP: Jeff Lynne, Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy, Mike de Albuquerque, Mike Edwards, Wilf Gibson, Colin Walker, Mik Kaminski. Marc Bolan guested on two songs.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Split between two sessions, this album is a definite transition as Lynne and the band moved towards more concise orchestral pop/rock.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Lynne and company dropped the long, long proggy song concept for this album, as this album featured more concise songs. Side one, though, is linked by a suite (except for “Showdown” – added to the US version and now part of the CD and streaming mix) that ties those songs together.
The move to concise songs works – since “Showdown” is a classic, and “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle” reminds everyone why the Move was so great. There are no draggy parts and not much showing off this time around. The production is a little dense, though, thanks to the band still having to overdub the cellos and violins like crazy to get that ‘orchestral’ feel. It muddies it up.
Still, some of the songs on side one don’t make much sense unless you’re someone that connects the dots between ELO songs and Beatles songs (“Bluebird is Dead” and “Oh No Not Susan” seem to line up with Beatles songs). The two instrumentals on side two illustrate that Lynne may not have all of the songs he wanted or needed at the various times, especially since they did that old Grieg chestnut that countless prog bands have done before.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Half of this album (Side 2) came from sessions recorded right after the sessions for their last album, and the other half were sessions recorded after Gibson and Walker left the string section and Kaminski joined.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of outtakes and unfinished takes, most featuring Bolan as well.
GRADE: B-: If you really really love ELO, you’d love this album. Otherwise, the singles may be it for you.