Telephone Line – Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) – 1977

ELO Telephone Line 1977 single coverIt was about 1979 that I saw ELO live… great music, great lighting (lasers, nonetheless), great atmosphere – but the thing I remember most is that as every song faded out the lights faded with them and we sat in darkness as the band retuned their instruments! Still, it was worth it, and I vividly recall them singing their 1977 hit single, Telephone Line.

elo fax

  • Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) formed in Birmingham, England in 1971.
  • Between 1971 and 1986 the band released eleven studio albums. They released a 12th in 2001.
  • They finished with a phenomenal 20 Top Twenty UK singles and 15 Top 20 US singles.
  • ELO held a rather dubious record – for having the most Billboard Hot 100 Top 40 hits of any group in US chart history without ever having a number one single.
  • The band formed around musicians Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne who shared a desire to create “modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones.”
  • Roy left ELO after just the first album. After that it was Jeff who wrote, arranged and produced the band’s material.
  • ELO sold over 50 million records worldwide.
  • Jeff has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has worked with many of the world’s best-known artists, including: The Travelling Wilburys, George Harrison, Tom Petty, The Beatles, Olivia Newton-John, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan.

telephone line fax

  • Telephone Line was written by Jeff Lynne and released on 21 May 1977 (UK) and late May 1977 in the US.
  • Telephone Line peaked at #8 on the UK singles chart and #7 on the US singles chart. It was their biggest single success in the US and their first gold single in the UK. It was a #1 hit in New Zealand and Canada.
  • ELO 3ELO was, initially, more popular in the US than the UK. That prompted Jeff to use an American ring tone during the song.

To get the sound on the beginning, you know, the American telephone sound, we phoned from England to America to a number that we know nobody would be at, to just listen to it for a while. On the Moog we recreated the sound exactly by tuning the oscillators to the same notes as the ringing of the phone.

  • ELO often released their singles in different colours – the US version of this single was the only green single ELO issued.
  • Telephone Line lyrics.

telephone line – electric light orchestra – 1977 – video

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