October 22, 2015

Featured 45: The Electric Light Orchestra “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” / “Fire on High”

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ELO Sweet Talkin' Woman 45 Front Cover ELO Sweet Talkin' Woman 45 Front Cover

This is a copy of the US release of “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” that's different in many ways than the UK single release. The US release was on February 12, 1978.  The UK release wasn’t until wasn’t until October 7, 1978.  The US version had a different mix and was 10 seconds shorter than the UK version.  The US version had a different flip side. In the UK the “B” side was “Bluebird is Dead” while in the US it was “Fire on High”.  The US single didn’t reach the same level on the charts as the UK single.

While “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” was a hit (reaching 17 on the Billboard charts), in the long term “Fire on High” had more staying power.  When fans call to request it they never know the name of the title.  After we play it on the air, we often get calls from people who want to know the name of the song.  Since “Fire on High” is an instrumental record, it is often very funny to listen to callers try and hum the song!  

The cover of the single and the LP shows a very colorful flying saucer.  When ELO went on tour in 1978 their stage show was nothing short of specular. I saw the show in Cleveland where the band played in the old Municipal Stadium.  For those who may not be familiar with the huge field that was the home of both the Cleveland Browns football team and the Indians baseball team, it held well over 100,00 people.  For those who remember Philadelphia JFK Stadium, it was about the same size.

In one corner of the field the stage for the show was set up.  There was a gigantic curtain that covered it.  When the show was ready to start the lights went down. There was flashing lights that gave the illusion of a flying saucer landing. The curtain then parted to reveal a huge saucer on the stage. The door to the spaceship opened and out stepped the Electric Light Orchestra.   The entire stadium exploded with delighted cheers from thousands in the audience.  It was the best “special effects” ever for a rock concert.



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