Monday 22 March 2010
Don't feel guilty
Music wise (and pretty much everything else wise) in these post modern times, it's not a hanging offence to admit to having a soft spot for Abba. Or Billy Joel. Or even The Carpenters. That's because the battle lines of the 70s and 80s have become muddied since we all went digital. It's OK to have a guilty pleasure - you can sleep safely in your bed at night knowing that when you wake up in the morning your house hasn't been daubed with anti Barry Manilow graffiti. Your iPod may well house some of the coolest tunes on the block but next to Madness and Magazine may well be some vintage Marmalade or Mary Hopkin. But who's bothered? Nobody died.
So why then do ELO always come in for a kicking? Livin' Thing may well have been voted the nation's favourite guilty pleasure single (followed by Boston's More Than A Feeling, if memory serves) but, if you've a hankering for symphonic strings and spaceships, then you'd best keep your head down; just in case the vigilantes find out where you live.
And you can't help feeling sorry for Jeff Lynne - he did have friends in high places: Lennon once said that if The Beatles hadn't split they'd probably have turned into ELO. Changing man Paul Weller must have remembered them from his youth when he nicked the 10538 Overture riff. A couple more that spring to mind: Karl Wallinger's World Party became identikit ELO for Put The Message In The Box and Neil Hannon (one half of the might fine Duckworth Lewis Method) paid his dues when The Divine Comedy recorded Come Home Billy Bird.
Speaking of The Duckworth Lewis Method, their other half - Pugwash front man Thomas Walsh, has paid Lynne and ELO their biggest compliment to date. Have a listen to the sumptuous Nice To Be Nice.