Thursday, May 5, 2016

"Four Little Diamonds" by ELO

Song#:  1635
Date:  10/01/1983
Debut:  89
Peak:  86
Weeks:  2
Genre:  Rock

Pop Bits:  ELO's album Secret Messages started off a bit shaky when the first single, "Rock and Roll Is King," could only manage to reach #19. A successful second single could boost the LP, but unfortunately this song would not do the trick. It would be their first charting single to not reach the Pop Top 40 since 1978. The song didn't do any better across the pond where it reached #84 on the UK chart. All seven of ELO's studio albums since 1974's Eldorado were either gold or platinum sellers. Secret Messages stopped that streak when it couldn't manage a gold-level certification.

ReduxReview:  The retro rock of "Rock and Roll Is King" didn't fully work in their favor, but they gave it another go with this tune. It was definitely a thud on the chart, but I've always liked it. The song reminds me of some of ELO's more rock-oriented tracks from back in the day. I don't think it deserved the fate it got on the chart, but I also think it wasn't the best single choice. In the long run it probably didn't matter what they released. By this time with synthpop and new wave on the rise, ELO's big retro-style sound was not fitting in and it was almost as if they had become retro themselves overnight. Jeff Lynne would eke out one more hit in a couple of years, but ELO's heydays were certainly over.

ReduxRating:  7/10

Trivia:  One thing that set ELO apart from other bands was their use of strings and choirs. They were considered integral to the band's sound and the soaring strings and vocals were prominent in hits like 1975's "Evil Woman" (#10), 1976's "Livin' Thing" (#13), and 1978's "Shine a Little Love" (#8). Since their 1974 album Eldorado, the strings and choir were conducted by Louis Clark. Clark would have success himself on the chart when he conducted The Royal Philharmonic for the #10 hit "Hooked on Classics." Although Clark did not participate on ELO's 1981 Time album, he did return for Secret Messages. It would be the last ELO album to feature Clark and the band's famous string section.


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