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Why Did They Name An Orchestra After Electric Light?

Why Did They Name An Orchestra After Electric Light? Working at NEMA as a non-technical specialist often has its “Hey what about…?” moments. And so in these days of financial uncertainty, while others might be seeing their lives pass before their eyes, here I am out of the blue remembering ELO. How did that British group of the ‘70s/’80s come up with the name “Electric Light Orchestra”? It turns out that, while they did at first use a spoof of GE’s logo, ELO’s emphasis was meant to be on “light orchestra” – supposedly trying to take up where the Beetles “Sgt. Pepper” album left off – using cellos, violins, etc as well as “electric” rock instruments. (In other words, “electric” was modifying “light orchestra” rather than “orchestra” amplifying “electric light”.) And for whatever reason – perhaps having something to do with Yanks not understanding that unique British form of humor -- the resulting music was initially far more popular on this side of the ocean. In any event, there’s a present-day rallying cry here for everyone around the world, since after all, ELO’s biggest hit single turns out to have been “Don’t Bring Me Down”. See the wikipedia entry at:

Posted 10-14-2008 7:40 AM by Meakem, John

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