Time (Electric Light Orchestra album)

Infobox Album | Name = Time
Type = studio
Artist = Electric Light Orchestra

Released = August 1981 June 12 2001 (reissue)
Recorded = 1980-1981 Musicland Studios Munich
Genre = Rock, Art rock, Electronica
Length = 43:57
Label = Jet Records & Columbia Records Epic/Legacy (latest reissue)
Producer = Jeff Lynne
Reviews = *Allmusic Rating|2|5 [http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:gm8zefbkhgfj link]
*George Starostin 8/10 [http://starling.rinet.ru/music/elo.htm#Time link]
*"Rolling Stone" Rating|3|5 [http://www.rollingstone.com/artists/electriclightorchestra/albums/album/287536/review/5940845/time link]
*"Popmatters" (Favourable) [http://www.popmatters.com/music/reviews/e/electriclightorchestra-time.shtml link]
Last album = "Xanadu" (1980)
This album = "Time" (1981)
Next album = "Secret Messages" (1983)
Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = CD insert cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = ELO 1981

"Time" is a concept album by Electric Light Orchestra released in 1981.


The album tells the story of a man, circa 1981, who is taken away by time travelers to the late 21st Century. Once there, he marvels at the wonders that the future offers, but is also increasingly amazed to find that he longs for his own time (the past) and the woman he left behind because of his journey forward. Although he has been provided a robot woman, who obeys his every command without question, he quickly realizes that this is a poor substitute for his lost love: the robot companion can never love or be loved by him. His desire to return to the past grows stronger once he is told that he cannot be returned to his own time, and he attempts an escape using his captors' time transporter equipment. His premature escape is foiled by his captors, and he subsequently discovers that they had been keeping him in their future only to illustrate to him how it suffers from the choices that had been made during his time. The man is finally returned to his year of origin (1981), armed with the understanding necessary for him to make a positive impact on the future.

The theme of "Time" bears similarities to the group's earlier concept album, "Eldorado". Although "Eldorado" features strings much more prominently, and "Time" features more three-minute pop songs, both albums tell the story of a man who daydreams of being whisked away to a new and better world, only to become disenchanted, homesick, and even alienated by what he finds.

In 2001, the album was remastered and reissued on CD with three additional bonus tracks, two of which ("Julie Don't Live Here" and "When Time Stood Still") had already been released as B-sides of singles ("Twilight" and "Hold On Tight" respectively) from the original album, while the other ("The Bouncer") was originally released as the UK B-side of the 1983 single "Four Little Diamonds" from the follow-up album "Secret Messages".

Musical style

Rainer Pietsch took over conducting the strings, although Louis Clark did appear (for the first time) playing keyboards in the live line-up on the subsequent "Time" tour.While the two preceding ELO albums ("Discovery" and "Xanadu") were heavily influenced by disco, "Time" is much closer to ELO's roots of progressive rock music. Songs like "Ticket To The Moon," "The Way Life's Meant To Be," "Rain Is Falling," and "21st Century Man" are reminiscent of material from the "A New World Record"/"Out Of The Blue" era of ELO, while other tracks explore new influences such as new wave ("Twilight," "Yours Truly, 2095," "Another Heart Breaks," "From The End Of The World," and "Here Is The News"), reggae ("The Lights Go Down"), and rockabilly ("Hold On Tight") with the core ELO sound. The album reached #1 in the UK Albums Chart (see list of UK #1 albums from the 1980s). The hit single "Hold On Tight" proved to be the band's last top-ten single in both the US and UK, and the album itself achieved Platinum and Gold status in the UK and US respectively.

Lynne has since admitted that "Time" and the two subsequent ELO albums ("Secret Messages" and "Balance Of Power") were recorded only to satisfy contractual obligationsfact|date=July 2008, and while material from every other ELO album was performed during the short-lived "Zoom" tour in 2001, none of the material from these three albums was included (with the exception of "Rock 'n' Roll Is King" from "Secret Messages", although this song was omitted from the DVD release of the kick-off concert).

ubsequent musical influences

The musical style and theme of "Time" were echoed in later albums such as "The Sophtware Slump" by Grandaddy, who cited the album as a great influence; and "Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots" by The Flaming Lips.

In an early 1980s "Rolling Stone" magazine interview, Steve Winwood said that "Time" had influenced him.

In 1999, Cher sampled a synth sound from "Prologue" and "Epilogue" at the beginning of her #1 hit single "Believe."

Track listing

* All tracks written by Jeff Lynne.
# "Prologue" – 1:15
# "Twilight" – 3:35
# "Yours Truly, 2095" – 3:15
# "Ticket to the Moon" – 4:06
# "The Way Life's Meant to Be" – 4:36
# "Another Heart Breaks" – 3:46
# "Rain Is Falling" – 3:54
# "From the End of the World" – 3:16
# "The Lights Go Down" – 3:31
# "Here Is the News" – 3:49
# "21st Century Man" – 4:00
# "Hold on Tight" – 3:05
# "Epilogue" – 1:30Bonus tracks on the 2001 edition:

  • "The Bouncer" 3:14 (B-side to "Four Little Diamonds")
  • "When Time Stood Still" 3:33 (B-side to "Hold on Tight")
  • "Julie Don't Live Here" 3:42 (B-side to "Twilight")


    *Jeff Lynne - Lead vocals, Backing vocals, Electric guitar, acoustic guitar, Piano, synthesiser
    *Bev Bevan - drums, percussion
    *Richard Tandy - Piano, Electric piano, synthesiser, Guitar
    *Kelly Groucutt - Bass guitar, Backing vocals

    Tour Line-up

    *Jeff Lynne - Lead vocals, guitar
    *Bev Bevan - drums
    *Richard Tandy - Keyboards
    *Kelly Groucutt - Vocals, Bass guitar
    *Mik Kaminski - violin, synthesizer
    *Louis Clark - string synthesizer
    *Dave Morgan - backing vocals, vocoder, acoustic guitar

    Chart Positions, Chart Runs

    * US: #16 Billboard 200, 20 weeks
    * UK: #1 UK Albums Chart, 32 weeks
    * AUS: #3 ARIA Albums Chart, 25 weeks
    * CAN: #7 RPM Albums Chart, 17 weeks



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