Friday, November 30, 2018

"Calling America" by Electric Light Orchestra

Song#:  2604
Date:  02/01/1986
Debut:  91
Peak:  18
Weeks:  15
Genre:  Pop, Rock

Pop Bits:  By this point in time, ELO was basically done. Their popularity had been on the wane since the 80s started and various members were leaving for other projects. Yet before they could officially call it quits, they were contractually obligated to deliver one more album. So leader Jeff Lynne and two remaining member of the band went back to the studio to record Balance of Power. This track would be selected to be the first single and it did well enough to get inside the Pop Top 20. It had similar results at AC (#20) and Rock (#22). It would end up being the band's final song to reach the Pop chart. The band went their own ways after some final performances. Lynne would revive the band in 2000 and the following year put out the album Zoom. Another disc would follow in 2015 titled Alone in the Universe (credited to Jeff Lynne's ELO). Lynne would also issue solo albums in 1990 and 2012. He also became a successful producer working with artists like Tom Petty, George Harrison, Roy Orbison, Brian Wilson, and Paul McCartney.

ReduxReview:  I like this chuggin' tune, but I was surprised that it made the Top 20. It just didn't seem in-step with what was going on at pop radio at the time. I'm glad it did well (because I love ELO), but it is certainly not one of their most memorable hits. Really, the album was kind of a lame duck thing. It was a "have to" effort, which is never going to produce great results. It was a lackluster collection with only a few bright spots. I was certainly sad that this ended ELO's run of hits, but it was probably time. Especially with Lynne focusing his energy elsewhere.

ReduxRating:  6/10

Trivia:  Double Shot!  1) This song was ELO's twentieth Pop Top 40 hit. At the time, they set a bit of an unfortunate chart record. They became the band with the most Top 40 entries who never had a #1 hit. Out of their seven Top 10's, the closest they got to the top spot was 1979's #4 gold record "Don't Bring Me Down."  2) Lynne would be back on the charts in 1988 as part of the supergroup The Traveling Wilburys. Consisting of Lynne, George Harrison, Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan, the band's first LP was a #3 triple-platinum hit that featured the #2 Rock track "Handle Me with Care." They would have a platinum follow-up in 1990.


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