On the Third Day

On the Third Day
On the Third Day
Studio album by Electric Light Orchestra
Released November 1973 (US)
December 1973 (UK)
12 September 2006 (Reissue)
Recorded April - May 1973at De Lane Lea Studios, London
Genre Progressive rock, cello rock, symphonic rock
Length 39:26 (Original)
Label Warner Bros. (UK)
United Artists Records (US), Jet Records, Columbia Records
Epic/Legacy (Reissue)
Producer Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra chronology
On the Third Day
The Night the Light Went On in Long Beach
US alternate album cover
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3.5/5 stars [1]
Music Box 3/5 stars [2]
Rolling Stone (unfavourable) [3]
George Starostin (9/10) [4]
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On the Third Day is the third studio LP by Electric Light Orchestra and the first to be recorded without any input from Roy Wood.



On the Third Day was released in 1973 and failed to enter the UK charts at the time, although it did reach the US charts. Side two of the album was recorded during or shortly after the sessions for ELO's LP ELO 2, but unlike its predecessor it contains shorter tracks. By contrast, the four songs on side one of the album were linked into a continuous suite. Violinist Mik Kaminski made his debut on side one of this album replacing Wilf Gibson, although Gibson plays on side two (plus the bonus tracks). Also, cellist Colin Walker left the line up around the same time, leaving Mike Edwards as lone cellist.

Of all other ELO albums, except for ELO 2, this might be considered closest in style to progressive rock, with some elaborate band arrangements and complicated musical segués between tracks. The Mini Moog synthesizer can be heard prominently on several tracks, particularly as lead instrument on the instrumental "Daybreaker". It was to be the last ELO album where Jeff Lynne attempted to re-create an orchestral sound in the studio by multi-tracking the cellos and solo violin of the band members - for the next album, a real orchestra would be hired. Marc Bolan played guitar on "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" and "Dreaming of 4000", both originally uncredited, as well as on "Everyone's Born to Die", which was not released at the time but appears as a bonus track on the 2006 remaster.

In September 2006 the album was remastered and released again with bonus tracks, featuring the Hipgnosis album art from the original UK release. The bonus tracks "Auntie" (working title of "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle"), "Mambo" (working title of "Dreaming of 4000") and "Everyone's Born to Die" were recorded during the ELO 2 sessions.


  • "Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe" contains a sequence of morse code signaling ELO, something Jeff Lynne would also do 10 years later on "Secret Messages".
  • "Showdown" was originally intended to be released on single only and, since it was on a different label (Harvest Records) than the UK LP, did not appear on the original UK LP. It was, however, included on the US LP.
  • "Bluebird Is Dead" features a guitar solo played backwards.
  • Although he didn't actually record on the album, Hugh McDowell did appear on this front cover of the US LP seen at right, which was an unusual photograph taken by famed photographer Richard Avedon that had ELO displaying their belly-buttons.
  • In 2006, New Zealand rap group Frontline sampled a piece of "Dreaming of 4000" for their latest release "Hold 'em".
  • The working titles for "In the Hall of the Mountain King" was "In the Hole of the Mounted Parrot", "Daybreaker" was "Theme from Glass Table" and "Dreaming of 4000" was "I'm Only Dreaming" and "Mambo".

Chart positions and runs

Original track listing

All songs written by Jeff Lynne unless otherwise indicated.

Side one

  1. "Ocean Breakup/King of the Universe" – 4:07
  2. "Bluebird Is Dead" – 4:42
  3. "Oh No Not Susan" – 3:07
  4. "New World Rising/Ocean Breakup (Reprise)" – 4:05
  5. "Showdown" – 4:09 (Not included in original UK release)

Side two

  1. "Daybreaker" – 3:51
  2. "Ma-Ma-Ma Belle" – 3:56
  3. "Dreaming of 4000" – 5:04
  4. "In the Hall of the Mountain King" (Edvard Grieg) – 6:37

Bonus tracks

  1. "Auntie (Ma-Ma-Ma Belle)" (Take 1) – 1:19
  2. "Auntie (Ma-Ma-Ma Belle)" (Take 2) – 4:05
  3. "Mambo (Dreaming of 4000)" (Take 1) – 5:05
  4. "Everyone's Born to Die" – 3:43
  5. "Interludes" (Previously unreleased) – 3:40


Additional personnel


External links

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