Electric Light Orchestra - Secret Messages as originally intended

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by peterpyser, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. Thoughtships

    Thoughtships Forum Resident

    Location:
    Devon, UK
    We'll probably get the original double album released....

    Only for it to be mastered so hot, and with so much compression that we'll all hate it anyway.

    Call me an optimist.... :/
     
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  2. c-eling

    c-eling Forum Resident

    Probably right. I'm a realist :laugh:
     
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  3. The only ELO album not to feature strings during the group's original run from 1971 to 1986 was their last, Balance Of Power, though they were used so sparingly on Time and Secret Messages that you hardly notice their presence. Jeff then brought just cellos - but not any of the original cellists - back for Zoom, only to then return to synths again with Alone In The Universe.
     
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  4. I know this will probably damage the reputation I've established, but I don't really care for Beatles Forever... My reason for wanting the full Secret Messages double LP set is more to hear Jeff's original intention for the shorter mix of After All and how he planned to conclude Hello My Old Friend (even though we already have a very good idea of how both would have been), presuming the correct versions are sourced. Knowing my luck, he will indeed have demanded these parts cause my stylus to jump out of the grooves, depriving me of the pleasure in finally getting to sample the least-documented aspects of this album!
     
  5. RangerXT

    RangerXT Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    Balance of Power completely disposed of any real strings, however even back on the Time album, they were hardly ever used and were usually burried in the mix.
     
  6. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    Interesting isolation on Jeff's vocals. Thanks for sharing.
    ELO's reputation took a major hit, improved a bit by Time, but by then the band was in a state of prolonged decline. What a shame.
    I didn't know that Xanadu was one of the reasons why the Razzies were created. I don't think I've ever seen the entire movie. If I have, I have repressed that memory. :)
     
  7. themisto

    themisto Forum Resident

    I highly advise against watching it - it was incredibly painful to hear Jeff's music cut to such garbage.
     
  8. bRETT

    bRETT Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Somewhat the case on Discovery too, and I believe that was the first album not to list string players as part of the band.
     
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  9. petedono

    petedono Member

    Location:
    Scotland
    Keeping an eye on this, but just seen another site stick the listing up on their site for the vinyl and only has the original tracks...

    Secret Messages
     
  10. I suspect we're looking at yet another placeholder tracklist until more information becomes available, since the vinyl edition of Secret Messages never included Time After Time, which was originally a bonus for those who bought the album on cassette or CD (and even this isn't entirely correct, as I know of at least one LP pressing that also featured the song, but that was more an exception to the rule than anything else).
     
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  11. BryanS

    BryanS Well-Known Member

    I really hope this is finally the holy grail for us die-hards. I'll believe it when I see it though. If this release is indeed the original double album, would it not also be released in CD and advertised as such also? There is no sign of a CD release and this makes me worry.
     
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  12. My guess is that by limiting this to a 2LP release, Jeff is appeasing the fans who've demanded to add the full Secret Messages album to their collections without drawing too much attention to Beatles Forever in particular, which it seems he's almost always considered an embarrassing track. Saying that, I anticipate there being a download card in with the physical edition, and let's not forget that Rob Caiger did tease a deluxe package just a few months back he pitched to Sony that included a cassette and poster, so we may still get that later on once demand for this initial version has been measured...
     
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  13. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, UK
    I cant see BF getting released, it's not Jeff's style to put out stuff he isnt happy with.
     
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  14. For all Jeff's talk of disliking Beatles Forever, this wouldn't be the first time he's supposedly approved the release of Secret Messages with this track included - we very nearly got a 2CD Legacy Deluxe Edition for the album's 30th anniversary that might have even featured the documented full length unedited version of this song with an extra verse as one of its second disc's bonus tracks. However, we also know that he'd previously vetoed it from Afterglow and the 2001 remaster, plus I've always suspected that it was ruled out for use on Flashback as well. Saying that, it's clear Rob Caiger was able to convince him at least once before, and it wouldn't make sense for any further version of its parent album to surface a song short of what fans expect - besides, the most controversial piece of the overall puzzle has been circulating for years, and it's apparently not affected demand for an official release. While I do agree that it's hardly worth its mythical status, there are far worse tracks in ELO's released catalogue I could think of, plus it's historically interesting as the foundation of Video! (which is vastly superior, in my opinion).
     
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  15. grimble

    grimble Forum Resident

    Location:
    London, UK
    I would be very surprised if the original 2 LP Secret Messages gets released with no modern tinkering from Jeff
     
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  16. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, UK
    Original tracks remastered, missing tracks re-recorded, BF with alternative lyrics is my guess. Or Jeff hasn't got enough new songs for a new album so hoys them on a re-release of SM and claims they are all "forgotten gems" of the 1982/83 period

    Anyone understand if he has to pay out any money to the rest of ELO for re-releasing stuff they played on back in the day
     
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  17. The last I heard is that Jeff's new album is coming along well, and I can't imagine him revisiting such material as Mandalay or Hello My Old Friend - the latter is too well known by fans and journalists alike as a highlight of ELO's '80s output. As for who still gets paid royalties, that's the same as always: only Jeff and Roy for some of the earliest material. To my knowledge, all the other former members received a salary, though Bev is clearly an exception since he went on to sell his then-equal share in the band's name for an amount I suspect was enough so that he could live comfortably for a while...
     
  18. Scottb

    Scottb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nanuet, NY, USA
    I'm confused by your comment. Is this just the album that has been out since 83 or will this 2 LP release have other tracks. What confused me was your statement 'without drawing too much attention to Beatles Forever'.
     
  19. From what I've been told, it looks as if someone chose to delay the singles boxed sets first spotted a while back so the first of these could launch closer to the release of Jeff's next album, with the 35th anniversary of Secret Messages pushed through as the last possible chance the full double album might have to see the kind of physical treatment fans demand, making this the next major ELO archival project in the absence of another Afterglow or Flashback style retrospective. Rob Caiger said that he recently proposed a lavish deluxe version of Secret Messages, but it seems as if the 2LP format is a compromise of sorts that allows Beatles Forever to join the other 16* tracks originally intended for its parent album without drawing unnecessary attention to this one song, as might happen if it was included on a compilation as the only "new" incentive or even a standalone single similar to Surrender or Latitude 88 North. An insider once indicated to me that Jeff might not have much left in the vault he wants out beyond the extras on the 2001-7 remaster campaign, even though we recently learned that Time exists in an acetate form that contains two previously undocumented outtakes.

    *If my source is correct, the upcoming 2LP version of Secret Messages will have the short edit of After All banded as an introduction to Hello My Old Friend rather than as a separate piece, which was supposedly Jeff's plan all along. (I've been reliably informed that After All only became its own thing - complete with eventual name - when Jeff decided to dust off the alternate unedited version as a b-side. Prior to that, it was allegedly considered just an untitled instrumental variation of Tears In Your Life, which had already been abandoned early into the main batch of Wisseloord sessions when Jeff became frustrated with the unfinished studio version, dating from mid-to-late 1982 then revisited for Flashback.)
     
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  20. Scottb

    Scottb Forum Resident

    Location:
    Nanuet, NY, USA

    Also after the CD remaster of 'Eldorado' came out they found a bunch of outakes and other stuff from that album that would have made the Eldorado remaster better with these added tracks. Of course we probably won't ever see these on CD as I doubt there will be any CD reissues of catalog titles.
     
  21. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, UK
    What I don't get with this is, all of the SM tracks with the exception of BF have been released. Why would Jeff want to re-release an album that was pretty badly received at the time. Why didn't he revisit Time for it's 35th anniversary.

    Other than a few hundred anoraks and dullards who want to hear if Jeff farts 2mins and 33 seconds into the 2nd take of Hello My Old Friend I don't see what the appeal is likely to be and if he starts recreating history again by re-recording stuff he'll upset the dullards and anoraks.

    (I consider myself to be a dullard but not an anorak)
     
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  22. Despite what Rob Caiger previously said about those outtakes being discovered after the 2001 reissue of Eldorado, the dates on this album's two known corresponding "CDR acetates" suggests they were compiled in early 2001, and my guess is that Jeff voted against including much of their material (which had only been assembled in the first place so he could audition potential bonus tracks for the remaster campaign) then demanded they not be mentioned any further. Rob went on to suggest that Jeff didn't feel the so-called Trojan Tapes Sessions in particular were suitable for inclusion on the expanded version of Face The Music, despite these being recorded between 1972 and 1976, so the only other real option was to wait until Eldorado was ready to be released yet again, with the plans at one point being to upgrade that album along with Discovery, Time and Secret Messages so they were more in line with later titles in the overall series. Of course, we now know that Secret Messages missed the 30th anniversary window because of Jeff switching from Sony to Frontiers for a while, and Rob claimed that no additional outtakes existed from Time, even though we're now aware of two songs that weren't documented until recently. As for Discovery, it's believed that a handful of alternate mixes and further home demos may exist, but Jeff is known to have an issue with letting his earliest song ideas out - especially those for Out Of The Blue, where Kelly Groucutt alleged in his 1983 lawsuit that he made significant contributions to certain songs from this project when Jeff needed help meeting the deadline set by Jet Records. To this day, I find it odd that we've heard so much about how Jeff wrote Mr. Blue Sky and quickly recorded a basic demo in a Swiss chalet, yet he's never let us hear this historic piece... If Kelly's claims are accurate, the lack of a middle section is because he actually came up with this idea, even though Jeff is known to only ever capture a single verse and chorus to preserve the general framework of tracks he often goes on to develop in the studio. Back to my original point, there should be enough to justify Eldorado getting another reissue treatment, but it's clear Jeff doesn't want this. As for Secret Messages...

    I've already covered why Time was never expanded beyond the 2001 remaster, but getting to hear Secret Messages in full with the original artwork has been the dream of many ELO fans going back to when we first learned this was almost a double album, which I seem to recall first being mentioned in either the liner notes to Afterglow, where many of its outtakes first surfaced, or an early issue of the FTM fanzine. Beatles Forever is indeed the only track now unavailable officially, though we've still to hear Jeff's authentic 2LP mixes for After All and Hello My Old Friend, plus there are a wealth of alternate versions that could easily fill a second disc, not to mention the mysterious practice tape Rob found in the vault under the name of The Garden Rehearsals. Without blowing my own trumpet, I've managed to find out quite a lot about this particular item, and I'm hoping that I'll soon be able to fill in the blanks.

    To end for now on the subject of metaphorical trumpets, it's funny that you should mention certain fans wanting to hear Jeff farting in an early take of Hello My Old Friend, as it turned out such a thing existed all those years. Although it was never intended for public consumption, Jeff had the tapes rolling at Wisseloord in mid '82 to record part of a rehearsal for the first half of Hello My Old Friend, which included Richard playing the final song's familiar synthesised brass sound on his Oberheim OB-Xa plus a very specific bodily function that was played back at various pitches using Dennis - Dave Morgan's modified DMX drum machine. While listening through potential candidates for inclusion on Flashback, it seems as if Jeff felt this brief fragment could serve as the basis for something more light in tone from the otherwise dark Secret Messages era, resulting in the completion of what fans eventually got to hear under the title of Who's That? So, in a way, you could argue that Jeff actually did make us pay to hear him letting one off, assuming the guilty party wasn't another band member!
     
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  23. Michaelpeth

    Michaelpeth Forum Resident

    Location:
    Durham, UK
    I first heard about Secret Messages being a double album back 1983 or late 1982 when Bev and Kelly presented some award at whatever were the Brit Awards equivalent back in the day
     
  24. What did I say about forgetting every detail from this thread? I'm sure that's already been mentioned - proof even I'm not infallible!

    P.S. Upon checking my notes, Secret Messages nearly becoming a double album was indeed mentioned at the Brit Awards equivalent in early 1983...
     
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  25. lawrev

    lawrev Forum Resident

    If the Battle of Marston Moor can be released, so can Beatles Forever. :)
     

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