Today we are moving on to another member of the Traveling Wilburys. Jeff Lynne is one of the most accomplished musicians, frontmen and producers in the history of music. George Harrison chose him to help kickstart his solo career again with “Cloud Nine“, Tom Petty solicited his help for blockbuster hits like “Free Fallin” and “Won’t Back Down” (which also featured Harrison and Ringo Starr), and Roy Orbison elicited his help in “You Got It” which helped him get back on the charts. In fact, if you listen closely to many of these songs, you can hear Lynne’s backing vocals on many of the tracks. It seems that if you’re a high-profile artist, asking Lynne to help with an album will guarantee you the big bucks.
A modest artist who loves to be in the studio producing music, Lynne has written and produced hundreds of songs with Electric Light Orchestra. Some of the biggest hits are “Mr. Blue Sky“, “Don’t Bring Me Down“, and “Evil Woman“, but much like The Beatles, they really have too many hits to count. Like many eventual stars, Lynne grew up idolizing the Beatles and working with Harrison was a dream come true for him. He continues to tour and actually has had George’s son, Dhani Harrison open for ELO recently.
“Here is the News” is a really fun, fast-paced song off of ELO’s Time album, released in 1981. This album is similar to a short story in which interstellar travel and loneliness in the galaxy is highlighted. The multitude of keyboards throughout the song give it a futuristic feel, almost resembling a video game or sci-fi movie set on a space station. Lines like “Somebody has broken down on Satellite 2/ Look very carefully, it might be you” have an eerie resonance forty years later as one of our general fears is a loss of connection based on satellites. We can all sympathize with the slow portion in the middle of the song that completely changes the pace, with the speaker lamenting that “I wanna go home, I want my baby back” and this sentiment is highlighted with the idea that he is stuck in space without his loved ones. This album’s feeling of a seemingly infinite divide between earth and space and its effect on the human psyche still echoes today, as thought technology keeps us connected, true face-to-face contact has no equal.
Enjoy today’s Rock Pearl, Here is the News!