1980 Electric Light Orchestra – I’m Alive
Roy Wood wrote songs, played guitar, and sang in the British group The Move in the late sixties. He wanted to “pick up where the Beatles left off,” by adding a classical sound to rock music. He intended to add violins, cellos, string basses, horns and woodwinds to the mix.
Roy discussed that idea with Jeff Lynne of the Idle Race and invited Jeff to join The Move. Jeff insisted he was too busy with his own group, but accepted a second invitation in 1970.
The two continued working on music for The Move while they began creating new music as The Electric Light Orchestra. Roy left the project during the recording of a second ELO album, leaving Jeff in charge of the group.
ELO’s recordings were more successful in the UK than in the US, but they still managed four top ten singles and nine more top forty singles in the US by the end of the seventies.
In 1980, Jeff agreed to write and record songs for the soundtrack album for the film Xanadu. Olivia Newton-John worked with songwriter/producer John Farrar for her songs while Jeff wrote and produced his contributions to the project.
Before they released the film in August, they released single versions of songs from the film beginning in May:
Magic by Olivia topped the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary (AC) charts.
One day later gave us I’m Alive by ELO. That single didn’t do quite as well, but it still managed to reach #16. That song introduced the muses in the film; the last muse to dance onto the stage was the one played by Olivia.
August gave us two more releases. ELO’s second single, All Over The World, peaked at #13 on the Hot 100. The song was later used for a flash mob video that wasn’t related to the film.
Jeff wrote and produced Xanadu, the title song from the film. Olivia sang lead vocals and Jeff sang backup vocals. The single reached #8 on the Hot 100 and #2 on the AC chart.
The last single from the soundtrack was Suddenly, a duet by Olivia and Cliff Richard. It barely reached the top twenty on the Hot 100 but made it up to #4 on the AC chart.
It’s fortunate that the singles and the soundtrack album were so successful since the movie tanked!
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