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THE NIGHT THE LIGHT WENT ON (IN LONG BEACH) (1998 REMASTERED EDITION)
EPIC 491103 2 RELEASED 1998
(ORIGINALLY RELEASED 1985 - Epic EPC 32700)
INTRO

Remastered in 1998 from the "true clean mix" stereo master tape (not used for the original Warner Bros. vinyl LP) and released only in the UK and Europe. 8-page color booklet has in-depth sleeve notes, interview with Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan, rare photos plus full original artwork from the original 1974 release. Hear ELO performing a mix of original material and covers, surrounded by the excited screams of an American audience discovering "the English guys with the big fiddles"!



Rare even when first issued on vinyl in 1974 and again in remixed form in 1985, deleted and expensive to buy on the collectors market, The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach) was remastered fully during 1998, but only for release in the UK and Europe.

Of all the original ELO albums produced during the bands’ existence, this has been the odd one out. Recorded at California's Long Beach Auditorium on May 12th 1974, ELO's one and only official live album in a 16 year career was regarded purely as a sampler. It saw limited release in August of that year to countries which had not experienced the band live - Australia, France, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Germany. Prematurely assigned a US catalogue number by United Artists but not released, Great Britain and America (ELO's two strongest markets) had to obtain copies on import. Even rarer was the single Daytripper (Warner Bros. WB 16 456) (pictured right) lifted in edited form and available in a picture sleeve in Germany and the Netherlands.

For many years, Warner’s, Jet, and Epic ignored requests to give the album a full release, on the grounds the band hated the recording. Thankfully, this record company misinterpretation was corrected when we decided to revisit the tapes to investigate why two versions of the same concert were released and if the show merited remastering .

Deep in the Sony archives, we found two sets of stereo master tapes, one each for the Warner Bros. and Epic vinyl releases. To our ears and aside from the countless (and poorly recorded) live bootlegs, the Epic tape was exceptional and warranted a proper CD release. The remastered CD really is the closest a listener can get to an ELO live concert, showing just how exciting the experimental band were during 1974.

Jeff Lynne explained at the time:

"We've got a good little show set up for America. We tend to do mad things on-stage, especially Mike Edwards our cello player who is really a bit of a maniac, he's doing things like playing his cello with an orange! We can do most things on stage, we've got so much scope to improvise 'cos the cello can start up and do his own thing over a certain passage, there's a lot of spontaneous things from us on-stage."

Jeff Lynne did not favour live albums, due to the difficulty of capturing his band's intricate studio sound. Whilst the band saw live and session performances for the BBC as vital promotion, plans to release On The Third Day as a double album, with one half a live recording from London's Rainbow Theatre and New York's Carnegie Hall, were shelved. The Rainbow gig was filmed for limited cinema release though. Certainly, the initial vinyl release (Warner Bros. WB 56 058) of the Long Beach show supported Jeff's view. A muddy sound and edited versions of 10538 Overture, Mik's Solo, In The Hall Of The Mountain King and Great Balls Of Fire did nothing to recommend it.

Back to our investigation. Bizarrely, Warner Bros. had used the incorrect tape to produce the album originally - a tape that was very clearly marked, "Rough Mix - Do Not Use"! The correct 2-track stereo mix, produced and approved by Jeff Lynne, was filed away in the offices of Jet Records with the original 24-track tapes of the complete concert. During 1985, Epic requested the original multitrack tapes from Jet Records to enable repairs to be made to damaged sections of the Warner Bros. tape.

When the tapes arrived from Jet Records, they were packaged in large cardboard boxes. On opening, the existence of the correct master was discovered amongst the various reels and used to produce the Epic edition in November 1985. The long deleted album was released on vinyl and cassette (Epic Records EPC 32700) in the UK, Hong Kong, Japan and the Netherlands. Again, a limited release but this time the way the band intended it to appear, even down to the correct versions of Showdown and Roll Over Beethoven. With typical record company efficiency, the tapes were (thankfully!) never returned to Jet Records but filed in Epic’s own UK archives and it was to these that we returned for remastering the new compact disc version.

The Night The Light Went On (In Long Beach) shows a young band on the verge of worldwide super-stardom but still in search of their "true" ELO sound. A band near their live peak, performing a mix of Jeff Lynne's original material and covers of his favourite artists, surrounded by the excited screams of an American audience discovering "the English guys with the big fiddles"!

Rob Caiger
First Light Series producer & ELO archivist

 

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