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The Electric Light Orchestra/Animation Connection

Recently I bought one of the recently marked-down Simpsons DVD box sets at Amazon. Needing something else to qualify for freee Super Saver shipping, I tossed in a copy of The Essential Electric Light Orchestra. Now, this was a band that I liked as a kid. I can remember having my mom buy me a copy of “Turn to Stone” at the local record store when I was eight. A few years later I listened closely to “Hold On Tight” on my little clock radio, memorizing the lyrics (even the French parts!). But I never gave them much thought again until recently. What have I been missing? Teflon-perfect pop that puts me in a perpetually shiny, happy place, that’s what.

Great as that collection was, it didn’t have any of ELO’s hits from Xanadu soundtrack, so of course I had to buy that album at iTunes. Guilty pleasure much? I’m aware that Jeff Lynne would probably rather forget his involvement in this masterpiece of camp, but strangely enough the soundtrack LP caught him and Olivia Newton-John at their respective creative peaks. Hell, I even liked Olivia’s retro-’40s duet with a wobbly-sounding Gene Kelly. Here’s the animated “Don’t Walk Away” sequence from that movie, directed by Don Bluth in between his stint at Disney and his first feature film, The Secret of N.I.H.M.:

But wait, people, the Electric Light Orchestra animation fest doesn’t end there! Here’s a gem of an opening sequence made for Daicon IV, a Sci-Fi convention held in Osaka, Japan. The anime adventures of a sword-ridin’ Playboy bunny used ELO’s underrated 1981 single “Twilight” on its soundtrack (without Lynne’s permission apparently), to mind-blowing effect. Wow, just wow:

7 Thoughts on “The Electric Light Orchestra/Animation Connection

  1. As a proud ELO fan, I can only say thank you for posting that Daicon IV clip. Wow indeed.

  2. I need to direct my longtime friend and ELO maniac Eric ( to these. My favorite ELO is “Time”, most of “Secret Messages” and the tracks from “Xanadu”…I’m sure ELO purists think I’m a fool, but hey. “Xanadu” and “Time” both hit at that marvelous moment in adolescence when things cease to be just music and start “speaking” to you, and both meant a lot to me at that time. I remember laughing at the line “with its ivory towers and its plastic flowers, I wish I was back in 1981″…”what idiot would want to be here?!” I asked myself at the time. Now I’d be more than happy to spend some time there again.

  3. ELO was (is) a great guilty pleasure of mine. And Xanadu? One of my most favorite stories to tell people of my wife, Andrea, was when we were in the early years of dating and she scared the beheezus out of me when I put on that soundtrack (vinyl, natch) for funsies and she SANG EVERY SINGLE WORD off that album. I sat there stunned. I knew right then and there we were made for each other. (I didn’t even have to tell her that I had the 8-track when it first came out.)

    About the Don Bluth animated segment of the film: I remember thinking when I first saw the movie how more lively and likable (and alive) Olivia and her partner were animated than they were as human beings.

  4. Many thanks for this. I’ve seen few official video accompaniments for ELO songs, but the second clip so closely approximates what I see in my head when I listen to this band that it’s scary.

  5. bunwhisper on August 19, 2007 at 3:37 am said:

    I love ELO too–but the second half of that “Essential ELO” CD, not so much. A better one is the Greatest Hits CD. They were at their tops in the late 70’s–I felt like they really went downhill in the 80’s with the Xanadu stuff (soory!) The first nine songs are awesome. Telephone Line will always be my favorite and boy, does it take me back to being 13 years old. Also love Mr Blue Sky, Rockaria, Turn to Stone, and Can’t Get It Out of My Head. ELO opened their concert at Cleveland Stadium with a spaceship all lit up on the field. Coolness.

  6. Thank you very much for this clips.I love ELO,don’t have a favourite though,they are brilliant………………

  7. I love ELO, but I don’t like anime. A bunny girl on a flying sword and Twilight? I think not.

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