1976 Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic

1976 Electric Light Orchestra – Strange Magic 

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 band Idle Race and invited him to join The Move. Jeff insisted he was too busy with his own group, but in 1970, he accepted a second invitation. 

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. 

The band had two top ten singles in the UK from their first two albums, neither of which had reached the top forty in the US.

In 1975, the band’s fifth album (Face The Music) helped them finally break through commercially. The first single from the album, Evil Woman, reached #10 on the charts in both the UK and the US.

One of the songs on the album, Strange Magic, attracted some attention, and it became a single in 1976. The album version of the song ran nearly four and a half minutes, which was simply too long for most radio stations.

The UK version of the single simply cut out 23 seconds of an orchestral intro from the song, leaving it longer than four minutes.

Since it stalled at only #38 on the UK chart, they probably should have cut the song even more.

In the US, the single version had to be cut down to less than three and a half minutes to get airplay, but it did better: the single peaked at #14 on the Hot 100.


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