ELO Compilations, Greatest Hits and Best Of

albums issued World Wide in 1997 to 2000

In association with Patrik Guttenbacher - Face The Music Germany, presented here is a discography of Electric Light Orchestra compilation LPs & CDs issued world wide in 1997 to 2000 along with information/description on each release.

Vinyl LPs plus later released CDs/MDs are listed along with the countries there were issued in, example front covers, LP labels and CDs are also shown.  Please see the countries listed on the main menu above for full catalogue numbers/details/issue variants.

Click a album cover below to be taken to the release information and details.

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ELO Light Years EPC 489039 2
ELO Light Years EPC 489039 2

Title

Light Years - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

1997

Epic

2 x CD - UK

2 x CD - Europe

2 x CD - Russia

2 x MD - Europe & UK

2 x MC - Europe & UK

Track List

CD 1:

Turn To Stone    
Evil Woman    
Livin' Thing
Twilight    
Telephone Line    
Four Little Diamonds    
Xanadu    
Last Train To London    
Strange Magic (7" Edit)    
Ma Ma Ma Belle (7" Edit)    
Confusion    
Rock 'N' Roll Is King    
The Way Life's Meant To B
Can't Get It Out Of My Head (7" Edit)
Secret Messages (Special Version From The LP)
Calling America    
Don't Walk Away    
Don't Bring Me Down    
Mr. Blue Sky    

CD 2:

Sweet Talkin' Woman    
I'm Alive    
Shine A Little Love    
Ticket To The Moon    
Illusions In G Major    
So Serious
Nightrider (7" Edit)    
All Over The World    
Here Is The News    
The Diary Of Horace Wimp    
Across The Border (EP Version)
Showdown    
Hold On Tight    
Wild West Hero    
Do Ya
10538 Overture (7" Edit)
Getting To The Point    
Rockaria!
Roll Over Beethoven (7" Edit)

The first more official project of Sony Music UK, since the 1992 “ELO's Greatest Hits Volume 2”, appeared in 1997 under the title “Light Years: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra”. Epic 489039 2 is a double CD compilation with 75 minutes playing time on each CD. “Light Years” contains 38 songs, among them all 35 single tracks, released on 33 UK singles, plus Do Ya, which in many other countries was released on single alternatively to Rockaria!.

 

The B-sides Across The Border, from the second never published E.L.O. EP, and Illusions In G-Major complete the album. Responsible for the project was Rob Caiger, who also wrote for the first time the liners notes for an E.L.O. release. As the first genuine E.L.O. Singles compilation, it was published in the context of the “25 Light Years” campaign, which was likewise initiated by Rob. The 25th Anniversary of the first E.L.O. single release was also supported by E.L.O. Part II, with their “25 Light Years Tour”.

Most of the songs were not specially worked on for their single release and are thus identical to the album versions. The single versions of Evil Woman and Strange Magic differ only in the detail that both orchestra transitions are missing. That applies accordingly to Shine A Little Love, where the backwards-played choir singing is missing, and the missing album intro and outro on “Rock 'n' Roll Is King”. Although the count-in intro of Jeff is missing on the single version of Four Little Diamonds, here probably the UK 12"-version was used by mistake, which is identical to the albums version.

 

On All Over The World the babble of voices at the end of the song is faded out immediately. On the single version of Rockaria! only the false start of Mary Thomas in the opera part is missing. 10538 Overture is simply faded out earlier and ends at 4:00. Nightrider is faded in later during the synthesizer intro and faded out earlier in the string part, ending at 3:44.

 

The same goes for the Twilight single version, which is here on “Light Years” - probably due to the absence of the original master tapes - faded in much too quietly and is at the end also fading too far into the next song. The Secret Messages single version, likewise faded in later and faded out earlier at the end, is exactly like on the single. The subtitle “Special version from the LP…” meant only that this song is available in a longer version on the album and not that it is a remix. 


Showdown exists as an earlier faded-out single version on United Artists, but however not from EMI. Thus the “Single Version” of Showdown is the complete version of the song, which was actually recorded as a single track only. The first real single version, cut at the mixing desk is Roll Over Beethoven with 4:30 minutes. Apart from the harmonium intro and second string intro, the counter theme is missing three times, and after the cello solo the song directly goes into the third and fourth verse, followed directly by the second E-Guitar solo.

 

It is thus the usual well-known single version of Roll Over Beethoven. Can't Get It Out Of My Head was edited too. After the first verse it goes right into the second chorus and in the bridge the short Moog / drums duel is missing. This version was used on all first releases of the single.


The only remixed single version is Ma-Ma-Ma Belle, at which after the third line in the second chorus an ascending cello tone follows. The song then continues directly with the second intro riff of the third verse. The version ends with the second called “mother” at 3:23. Here on “Light Years” the reverb is missing on the cello tone and the song already ends at 3:19 at “do-round up”. The differences are simple to explain, as this song had to be redone in 1997 for the “Light Years” compilation too. Rob explained back then that it had not been possible to find all original master tapes of the single versions.

 

In addition one can assume that for many singles no separate single master tapes were manufactured, but the master foils were mastered directly off the album version, which would also explain, why in different countries the fade-ins and fade-outs do often differ.

 

A 10-page folding sheet shows all 23 single sleeves released in the UK, the Secret Messages Picture Disc and also the Cover of the “The ELO EP”. In the liner notes Rob Caiger talks about the single career of E.L.O. in the UK, and comments the UK chart placings.


“Light Years: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra” appeared in 1999 as double MiniDisc (489039 8) too. Newly introduced as late as 1993, the format with a magneto-optic disc could however not compete in sales with the CD. With its reduced data rate, it was perfect for concert recordings, but there was no reason to prefer it to the CD. Anyhow, Sony as inventor of the format spent much effort and designed especially for “Light Years” a double MD case.

 

The booklet of the 2 x CD was completely taken over for the 2 x MD, and adapted to the more elongated format. A great and rare thing. The 2 x MD edition in a double case also contains the complete booklet information.

 

All in all “Light Years” offered a successful, because complete compilation of all UK Singles and marked a turning point in the compilation publication politics of E.L.O., although up to a central co-ordination of all the new publications and of the compilation albums still some years had to pass by.

 

But the name Rob Caiger could from now on no longer excluded at E.L.O. publications. As European publication “Light Years” appeared in the entire European Union, with the exception of Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden. These countries published their own releases.

 

The success of the 1997 compilation "Light Years - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra" was apparently even greater than previously suspected. Epic 489039 0 had been published by Sony Music Russia with holographic authentication stickers and subtitle 'Cyrillic Collection'.

 

The CDs themselves are in black and wear next to Latin also Cyrillic characters. The booklet was reduced to a 4-page leaflet, but carries all the important information about the song titles and production of the compilation. The difference to the other published editions is in the order-code, ending with a 0 instead of 2 or 9.

 

The Russian Sublabel is called X-Cellent, and it also does not lack the indication that this issue may be sold only in CIS. All versions are like the tracks on the western releases. Nevertheless, it is nice to see that Sony licenses official products for the countries of the former Soviet bloc.

 
Danish Collection CD.jpg
Danish Collection CD2.jpg

Title

The Danish Collection - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

First Issue Date

1997

First Label Issue

Epic

Format & Country

2 x CD - Denmark

Track List

CD 1:

Turn To Stone    
Evil Woman    
Livin' Thing
Twilight    
Telephone Line    
Four Little Diamonds    
Xanadu    
Last Train To London    
Strange Magic (7" Edit)    
Ma Ma Ma Belle (7" Edit)    
Confusion    
Rock 'N' Roll Is King    
The Way Life's Meant To B
Can't Get It Out Of My Head (7" Edit)
Secret Messages (Special Version From The LP)
Calling America    
Don't Walk Away    
Don't Bring Me Down    
Mr. Blue Sky    

CD 2:

Sweet Talkin' Woman    
I'm Alive    
Shine A Little Love    
Ticket To The Moon    
Illusions In G Major    
So Serious
Nightrider (7" Edit)    
All Over The World    
Here Is The News    
The Diary Of Horace Wimp    
Across The Border (EP Version)
Showdown    
Hold On Tight    
Wild West Hero    
Do Ya
10538 Overture (7" Edit)
Getting To The Point    
Rockaria!
Roll Over Beethoven (7" Edit)

The Danish edition of the “Light Years: The Very Best OF Electric Light Orchestra” already appeared in 1997 on Epic with the number 4890039 5 and the changed title “The Danish  Collection - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra”.

 

The 10-page folding sheet was replaced by a 4-pager and the liner notes of Rob Caiger were made smaller. Likewise the space background was changed a bit and a new front cover was created. 

The CDs were manufactured in the Sony pressing plant in Austria and are thus, identical except of the album title.

 
No Answer UAS 5573
ELO Classics A28028

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

ELO Classics

1997

Sony Music

CD - USA

Track List

Evil Woman
Boy Blue
Telephone line
Rockaria!
Don’t Bring Me Down
Can’t Get It Out Of My Head

Almost lost is another "ELO Classic" CD, released back in 1997 in the Sony Music Special Products series "Six Pack - Six Great Hits" on the label KRB Music Companies with the Order A 28027.

 

The four-page booklet shows on the inner side a black and white advertisement of the entire series, in which 25 other CDs, including "Burning Bright", appeared as part of the Rock Six Pack. The album artwork shows a colorized adaptation of a "Balance Of Power" press shot and is very well done. 

All the songs are contained in their album versions, the first two however, without their orchestral intros. Can't Get It Out Of My Head was faded-out in the last few seconds, apparently to get rid of the last two seconds of reverb.

 
Light Years - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra
Light Years - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Light Years - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

1998

Epic

2 x CD - Spain

Track List

CD 1:

Turn To Stone    
Evil Woman    
Livin' Thing
Twilight    
Telephone Line    
Four Little Diamonds    
Xanadu    
Last Train To London    
Strange Magic (7" Edit)    
Ma Ma Ma Belle (7" Edit)    
Confusion    
Rock 'N' Roll Is King    
The Way Life's Meant To B
Can't Get It Out Of My Head (7" Edit)
Secret Messages (Special Version From The LP)
Calling America    
Don't Walk Away    
Don't Bring Me Down    
Mr. Blue Sky    

CD 2:

Sweet Talkin' Woman    
I'm Alive    
Shine A Little Love    
Ticket To The Moon    
Illusions In G Major    
So Serious
Nightrider (7" Edit)    
All Over The World    
Here Is The News    
The Diary Of Horace Wimp    
Across The Border (EP Version)
Showdown    
Hold On Tight    
Wild West Hero    
Do Ya
10538 Overture (7" Edit)
Getting To The Point    
Rockaria!
Roll Over Beethoven (7" Edit)

The Spanish release appeared in 1998 under the shortened title “Light Years: The Very Best Of” EPC 4890039 2.

 

The 6-page booklet contains Spanish liner notes by Carlo Dominguez, as well as a completely new cover design. The CDs itself show the E.L.O. Logo label in green (CD 1) and purple (CD 2)

 
No Answer UAS 5573
ELO Burning Bright A28277

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Track List

ELO Burning Bright

1998

Sony Music

CD -USA

Do Ya
Fire On High
Rock N Roll Is King
Turn To Stone
Livin Thing
Strange Magic

In 1998, "Burning Bright" appeared in the Sony Music Special Products series "Six Pack - Six Great Hits." KRB Music Companies A 28277 has only a two-page leaflet and a much less sophisticated artwork, making this issue appear particularly cheap. 

Here too, all the songs are represented in their original album versions except for the single version of Rock 'n' Roll Is King. Strangely the whole album is covered with a lot of reverb. The trend to include only six songs on a CD, can probably only be explained by a possible lower selling price and estimated higher sale numbers in the U.S. This apparently didn't work out

 
Best Of The Best Gold - ELO Definitive Collection - 472421 6

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Track List

Best Of The Best Gold - Definitive Collection Electric Light Orchestra

1998

Epic

CD - Europe

Showdown
Eldorado Overture    
Can't Get It Out Of My Head
Evil Woman
Strange Magic    
Livin' Thing    
So Fine    
Rockaria    
Sweet Talkin' Woman    
Turn To Stone    
Mr. Blue Sky    
Don't Bring Me Down
Shine A Little Love    
The Diary Of Haracy Wimp
All Over The World 
Twilight    
Rock 'N Roll Is King    
Hold On Tight
Secret Messages

All good things are three, they might have thought, so "Definitive Collection" was again re-released in 1998 in the series "Best Of The Best Gold". The newly mastered CD from 1995 was now pressed on a gold-disc instead of a silver one.

 

The order code is now 472421 6, although it still has the ending number 2 on the CD and the CD-Cover. This makes it clear that the release is "only" a new run of the "Definitive Collection" from 1992. The ending number 6 only appears on the cardboard-slipcase, the CD is housed into. It had been especially done for the series and was in black with real embossed gold-print.

 

A window in the slipcase shows the golden CD, which was inserted upside-down into the CD-tray. The 4-page folder was inserted behind the tray into the slipcase to keep the golden CD visible. For the first time, no advertising for the series was included in the booklet.

 

If one thinks that with this 3rd edition of "Definitive Collection" the theme is covered, is however wrong... 

 

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Electric Light Orchestra - Early ELO 1971-1973

1998

EMI

2 x CD - Japan

Track List

10538 Overture
Look At Me Now
Nellie Takes Her Bow
Battle Of Marston Moor (July 2nd 1664)    
1st Movement (Jumping Biz)
Mr Radio    
Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre)    
Queen Of The Hours    
Whisper In The Night    
1st Movement (Jumping Biz) (Quadraphonic Mix)

Mr Radio (Quadraphonic Mix)
Nellie Takes Her Bow (Quadraphonic Mix)    
Whisper In The Night (Quadraphonic Mix)    
Roll Over Beethoven (Single Version)

 

In Old England Town (Boogie No. 2)
Momma
Roll Over Beethoven    
From The Sun To The World (Boogie No. 1)    
Kuiama    
In Old England Town (Instrumental)
Showdown (Single Version)
Baby I Apologise    
Auntie (Ma Ma Ma Belle - Early Version)    
My Woman (Ma Ma Ma Belle - Early Version)
All Over The World (Showdown - Early Version)
Bev's Trousers (Showdown - Early Version)

Although the album "Early ELO 1971 - 1973" had been already released in the UK in 1991, it took as long as June 24th 1998, until Toshiba/EMI decided to release it in Japan under the title "Early E.L.O."

 

Owed to the cost, the two CD-set was released in a single CD-Case with a black foldout tray for the second CD. The booklet, taken from the UK release, complete with wrong inserted inner pages, was included as front-cover.

 

The UK-Cover of the 2-CD-Box was included as an insert under the second CD. To go with the release was a 20-page fold-out-paper, having along the E.L.O.-history also all the song-lyrics including Baby I Apologise in English and Japanese letters. Well done! 

 
No Answer UAS 5573
ELO Simply The Best 450357 - 10

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Simple The Best - Electric Light Orchestra 

1998 & 2000

Sony

CD - Germany / Europe

Track List

Evil Woman    
Livin' Thing    
Can't Get It Out Of My Head
Showdown    
Turn To Stone    
Rockaria    
Sweet Talkin' Woman    
Telephone Line    
Ma Ma Ma Belle    
Strange Magic    
Mr Blue Sky

simplythebesgelbfront8.jpg
elo_simple_best_cover2.jpg
ELO Simply The Best 450357 - 10

In 1998 Sony brought  “The Superstar Series” into the shops and called it “Simply The Best”. Among five other Sony artists E.L.O. was represented with a release too. The order code EPC 450357 2 is the same as the Epic CD release of “ELO's Greatest Hits” from the year 1990. One had made it very simple (!) at Sony and used again the famous “ELO's Greatest Hits”, which had had chart success on their first release in 1979. 

The versions of the songs are identical to those on the original album, which means as much as that nearly all versions are featured as unabridged album versions. Naturally Evil Woman and Strange Magic have no orchestral intro and Showdown is faded out a bit earlier as it is the US single version.

 

On the first edition of “Simply The Best” only the letters “E.L.O.” and the blue dyed inversely printed 1978 Press shot, on which the group sits in director chairs, were printed on the CD back. The 8-page booklet-folder contains on four sides a survey by Sony Music Marketing. 


In the year 2000 a corrected second edition with a 4-page booklet without survey was released, whereby a further misfortune happened. The blue colour portions of the artwork were replaced now on the booklet by yellow. The cover shot was however now correctly printed and shifted into the upper cover half. Instead of “E.L.O.” now “Electric Light Orchestra” stood on the CD back and spines.

 

The artwork of the CD and the inlay under the transparent CD covering were adapted to that likewise. Quickly a third version with blue dyed booklet was rush-released. Whether the compilation “Simply The Best” had its own success, cannot be said.

 
Electric Light Orchestra - Music Time

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Track List

Electric Light Orchestra - Music Time

1998

Columbia / Sony

CD - Italy

Evil Woman    
Last Train To London    
Shine A Little Love    
Telephone Line    
Heaven Only Knows    
Hold On Tight    
Rock And Roll Is King    
Don't Bring Me Down    
Ma Ma Ma Belle    
Showdown    
Mr. Blue Sky    
Turn To Stone    
So Serious    
Roll Over Beethoven

In 1998 Sony Italian released on Columbia the album "E.L.O." COL 492546 2, Sony Special Marketing, in the "Music Time" series.

All songs contained in their single versions, without interludes and intros. Mr. Blue Sky without radio tuning, but included the Concerto-Outro and Heaven Only Knows is of course the album version.

Despite the CD was manufactured in the Austrian pressing plant, the album didn't make it to the EU market. It was listed on the Sony internet page, but was not traceable, because it was listed it as "Music Time". The running order was not the usual stuff and somewhat unique. The artwork was very simply in design, with the ELO-Logo in black and white, and the fonts looked like written with ink stencil templates.

 
Giga Collection CD Front.jpg
​Electric Light Orchestra ‎– The Best - Giga Collection

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

Track List

Electric Light Orchestra ‎– The Best - Giga Collection

1998

Giga Records

CD - Poland

Showdown

Ma-Ma-Ma Belle

Rool Over Beethoven

10538 Overture

Mr. Radio

In Old England Town

Look At Me Now

First Movement 

Whisper In The Night

Queen Of The Hours

Kuiama

Momma

 
No Answer UAS 5573
ELO Discovery FZ 35769
ELO Discovery FZ 35769
No Answer UAS 5573

Title

First Issue Date

First Label Issue

Format & Country

The Swedish Collection - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra

2000

Epic

2 x CD - Sweden

Track List

CD 1:

Turn To Stone    
Evil Woman    
Livin' Thing
Twilight    
Telephone Line    
Four Little Diamonds    
Xanadu    
Last Train To London    
Strange Magic (7" Edit)    
Ma Ma Ma Belle (7" Edit)    
Confusion    
Rock 'N' Roll Is King    
The Way Life's Meant To B
Can't Get It Out Of My Head (7" Edit)
Secret Messages (Special Version From The LP)
Calling America    
Don't Walk Away    
Don't Bring Me Down    
Mr. Blue Sky    

CD 2:

Sweet Talkin' Woman    
I'm Alive    
Shine A Little Love    
Ticket To The Moon    
Illusions In G Major    
So Serious
Nightrider (7" Edit)    
All Over The World    
Here Is The News    
The Diary Of Horace Wimp    
Across The Border (EP Version)
Showdown    
Hold On Tight    
Wild West Hero    
Do Ya
10538 Overture (7" Edit)
Getting To The Point    
Rockaria!
Roll Over Beethoven (7" Edit)

The Swedish edition appeared as late as in the year 2000 and was based on “The Danish Collection”, while on the cover design only the UFO, which circles in the orbit around the planet, was removed.

 

“The Swedish Collection - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra” carries the order code 489039/9. On the basis of the different end numbers, which originally stood for the formats, the different editions of the 1997-compilation “Light Years: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra” can be detected. 

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I would like to thank and credit:

Peter Miles, Graham from OutOfTheBlueArtifactsPatrik Guttenbacher from Face The Music Germany

For help, corrections, images and information on this website.

Best Of The Best Gold - ELO Definitive Collection - 472421 6