So, about the Electric Light Orchestra / ELO
I picked them for two reasons:
1) I really like them, and they were the first band I liked that my parents didn't know. 1976, I was 10 years old, heard Livin Thing on the radio, and was hooked. I bought my first album (a New World Record) with Xmas money later that year, and played the heck out of it. Became a major fan, and still am.
2) I always felt they were a little underrated. That's partly their fault - they were not a "personality" band in any way, and really, aside from Jeff Lynn (who to this day always hides behind those sunglasses) there's no other member that's even close to being well known.
Their strength is their songs, which they have a TON of. In the mid to late 70's they were a radio staple, with a dozen-plus songs that are pretty recognizable to anyone from the time period. I had read somewhere that they held the record for most top 40 songs without a #1 hit.
I saw them in concert in 1981, and then 3x over the past decade - the recent shows were the happiest crowds I have ever seen, joyfully singing along to every song. They are almost nobody's "favorite" band, but people just love their songs.
They have a weird trajectory - their early stuff sounds very different, with loud sawing cellos and some pretty weird arrangements that border on progressive rock (although they always had a bit of an odd side, even with the hits). But it started changing in 74/75, and their output from 76-81 became very radio-friendly. But then they kind of just burned out - their last 3 albums were pretty forgettable, and the band was at that point just Jeff Lynn and whoever. Then Jeff went on to become a major producer, working with Petty and Harrison amongst others, and became a Wilbury as well.
My list is pretty random - there's no worst to first or anything like that. You'll hear all the hits, and hopefully some cool stuff you don't know.
My 31 songs by album:
No Answer – 1
ELOII – 1
On the Third Day – 4
Eldorado – 2
Face the Music – 5
A New World Record – 6
Out of the Blue – 5
Discovery – 3
Xanadu Soundtrack – 2
Time – 2
Secret Messages – 0
Balance of Power – 0
Zoom - 0
way under appreciate back then and now.
but always solid - they gotta have at least 10 songs that HAVE to be included in a 70s-80s playlist ...and don't get me started with the 10538 Overture ...no matter my love for Todd ...this will be a lead part of my funeral
ETA: 30 years from now ...