Evil Woman

 

Electric Light Orchestra -- Evil Woman

An in-depth song analysis


Electric Light Orchestra (Original Version)
Electric Light Orchestra (Solo Version)
  • Record Date: May and June 1975
  • Record Location: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany (basic track), De Lane Lea Studios, Wembley, England (orchestra), The Record Plant, New York City, USA (female backing vocals and final mix)
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Mack (basic track and orchestra) & Jimmy Iovine (female vocalists and final mix)
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (guitar, vocals), Bev Bevan (drums, percussion), Richard Tandy (piano, moog synthesizer, guitar, clavinet), Kelly Groucutt (bass), Mik Kaminski (violin), Hugh McDowell (cello), Melvyn Gale (cello), Louis Clark (orchestra conductor), Ellie Greenwich, Susan Collins, Nancy O'Neill, Margaret Raymond (backing vocals)

    Initially Released On: Face The Music LP album (1975 September — USA — United Artists UL-LA 546-G)

  • Record Date: Some time between 2001 and 2008
  • Record Location: Bungalow Palace Studio (Jeff Lynne's home studio)
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Steve Jay, Ryan Ulyate & Marc Mann
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, piano, bass, drums, keyboards), Laura Lynne (backing vocals), Marc Mann (strings), Steve Jay (shakers, tambourine), Ryan Ulyate (piano solo)

    Initially Released On: Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2012 October 8 — UK — Frontiers Records ?)

  • Comments and Observations

    Evil Woman was recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany some time in May and/or June 1975. Jeff Lynne wrote the song on a piano in the studio on the last days of recording, writing it very quickly. The band's recording for all of the other songs for the Face The Music album had been completed when Jeff needed another song. One morning, while the rest of the band was out, he sat at the piano and played the opening piano riff, which became the basis of the song. Later that same day, the rest of the band came in and recorded the backing track. The lyrics were written and recorded the next day at Musicland. The string parts were recorded (and possibly written) later at De Lane Lea Studios in Wembley, U.K. while the female backing vocals were recorded even later at an unidentified studio in New York City.

    As originally recorded, the song had an extra fourth verse as evidenced by the stripped down mix that appeared on the 2006 Face The Music remasters. Obviously this extra verse was discarded for the eventual release. This decision was probably made early in the construction of the song as there were no string tracks recorded for this part.

    The song was released as a single in England on Jet records, one of the first on the new label, on January 10, 1976 with stock number "Jet 764" and having an edit of 10538 Overture from the The Night The Light Went On In Long Beach recording on the B-side. In the USA, it's the seventh single release and was released in October 1975, on United Artists records with stock number "UA-XW 729-Y" and the same edit of 10538 Overture on the B-side. It was also released as the third track of side 1 on the Face The Music album on September 1975 in the USA and November 1975 in England. Interestingly both single versions are edits of the album version, with the UK version simply editing off the intro and the USA version having several interesting edits. The B-side in many other countries was Nightrider and was Poker in Spain.

    Evil Woman is significant as it is ELO's first worldwide hit, making the charts in many countries, including Top Ten in both the UK and USA. It entered the UK chart on January 10, 1976, peaked at #10 on January 31, 1976, and spent 8 weeks in the chart. In the USA, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on November 15, 1975, reached #10 for two consecutive weeks on February 14 & 21, 1976, spending 17 weeks in the chart and entered the Cash Box chart on November 15, 1975, reached #9 for two consecutive weeks on February 14 & 21, 1976, spending 19 weeks in the chart. It was ELO's fourth Billboard chart single.

    There are two reused string sections in Evil Woman. The most obvious is the short flanged string interlude in the song's instrumental bridge. This is taken from the string section recording for the Electric Light Orchestra song Nightrider. On Evil Woman, it is played backwards and a flange effect is added. A sample demonstrating this can be heard by clicking HERE. This string interlude is sampled and used several times in a song called Beep by the Pussycat Dolls featuring Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas. Another interesting and not so obvious reused string section is a sample from Evil Woman that is used in Fire On High. A string section that plays over the intro to Evil Woman is reversed and used on the intro to Fire On High, shortly following the "the music is reversible" bit. A sample demonstrating this can be heard by clicking HERE.

    It's not entirely clear if the orchestral intro to the song that is heard on the Face The Music album (and which is often excluded on compilations featuring the song), is actually intended to be a part of the song. It is known that the band recorded several orchestral "interludes" for the album to be used between tracks. It was not uncommon for the band to record such interludes, although they were rarely identified as such and simply merged into the intros or ends of other album tracks. Considering how often the intro is left off compilations, it implies that it is not actually an intro to the song, but rather a Face The Music interlude. Then again, Jeff Lynne himself had oversight on the 2000 Flashback project and that one included the intro (although attached to the end of the preceeding song, Tightrope). Until there is further clarity, it is assumed that it's a song intro and not an interlude.

    Did Jeff Lynne have a particular woman in mind when he wrote Evil Woman? That's not entirely clear. He has rarely broached the subject and when he has, he certainly won't name names. It's possible it could be about someone he knows. It's also very likely that he didn't have anybody in mind when he wrote it and is only joking that it's about anybody at all. The answer remains unknown.

    In approximately 2008 (possibly earlier), Jeff Lynne re-recorded a solo version of Evil Woman that was almost identical to the original album recording. It features his daughter, Laura Lynne, on backing vocals. The song was officially released on the 2012 Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra compilation, however it had appeared as early as 2008 in aMy Name Is Earl TV episode entitled Jump For Joy and a 2009 Medium TV episode entitled Things to Do in Phoenix When You're Dead. Less than a minute of the song is heard in each of these appearances.

    Ostensibly this rerecording was done because Jeff felt that he could improve the the song (and other ELO hits that appear on the Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra) using modern recording techniques, stating that when he hears the original recordings, he's not entirely happy with them. Although it's impossible to know what's really in Jeff's heart, it's thought that another more practical reason is because he does not own the full rights to the original songs. Instead the rights are owned by Sony and when the songs are used in films, ads and other money making ventures, Sony gets most (if not all) of the money. By being able to market his own self-recorded versions, Jeff gets all the money instead.

    It's not entirely clear if the newer solo version should be credited to Jeff Lynne alone or Electric Light Orchestra. All sources and interviews are very clear that these are Jeff Lynne solo recordings, yet there has been no definitive statement about exactly how the artist for the recordings should be credited. The Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra collection gives only the album's title and does not state the artist anywhere. Other sources such as iTunes credit the artist as Electric Light Orchestra. And Frontiers Records shop originally did not give an artist credit, but revised the artist to Electric Light Orchestra shortly after release. Yet clearly these are solo recordings.

    Structure and Lyrics

    Below is the structure of the fullest, most complete version of the originally released Electric Light Orchestra song as available on the standard issues of the Face The Music album and the re-recorded solo version available on the Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra compilation. The structure is quite similar between the two, with the main differences being the missing orchestral intro on the solo version and the change in the appearance and order of the female backing vocal parts on the repeated chorus ending.

    Electric Light Orchestra (Original Version)
    Lyric sheet from USA Face The Music album
    Electric Light Orchestra (Solo Version)
    -Orchestral Intro
    -Vocal Intro
       You made a fool of me
       But them broken dreams have got to end

    -Piano Intro
       Piano Riff #1
       Piano Riff #2 with drum start
       Piano Riff #3 with drums & guitar
       Piano Riff #4 with drums & guitar
    -Verse 1
       Hey, woman, you got the blues
       'Cause you ain't got no one else to use
       There's an open road that leads nowhere
       So just make some miles between here and there
       There's a hole in my head where the rain comes in
       You took my body and played to win
       Ha ha, woman, it's a cryin' shame
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       But you ain't got nobody else to blame

    -Chorus 1
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman

    -Verse 2
       Rolled in from another town
       Hit some gold too hot to settle down
       But a fool and his money soon go separate ways
       And you found a fool lyin' in a daze
       Ha ha, woman, what you gonna do?
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you
       So good that you're feelin' pain
       But you better get your face on board the very next train
    with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    -Chorus 2
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Instrumental Break
       Piano/String Riff #1
       Piano/String Riff #2
       Piano/String Riff #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
       Rising String Part #1
       Rising String Part #2 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
       Descending String Part #1
       Rising String Part #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    -Flanged String Interlude
    -Chorus 3
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Verse 3
       Evil woman, how you done me wrong
       But now you're tryin' to wail a different song
       Ha ha, funny how you broke me up
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       You made the wine now you drink a cup
       Came a'runnin' every time you cried
       Thought I saw love smilin' in your eyes
       Ha ha, honey, very nice to know
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       That you ain't got no place left to go

    with female backing vocals singing Whoa, whoa, whoa
    -Chorus 4
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Chorus 5
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    -Chorus 6
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    Original Lyric Sheet from Face The Music -Vocal Intro
       You made a fool of me
       But them broken dreams have got to end

    -Piano Intro
       Piano Riff #1
       Piano Riff #2 with drum start
       Piano Riff #3 with drums & guitar
       Piano Riff #4 with drums & guitar
    -Verse 1
       Hey, woman, you got the blues
       'Cause you ain't got no one else to use
       There's an open road that leads nowhere
       So just make some miles between here and there
       There's a hole in my head where the rain comes in
       You took my body and played to win
       Ha ha, woman, it's a cryin' shame
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       But you ain't got nobody else to blame

    -Chorus 1
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman

    -Verse 2
       Rolled in from another town
       Hit some gold too hot to settle down
       But a fool and his money soon go separate ways
       And you found a fool lyin' in a daze
       Ha ha, woman, what you gonna do?
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you
       So good that you're feelin' pain
       But you better get your face on board the very next train
    with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    -Chorus 2
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Instrumental Break
       Piano/String Riff #1
       Piano/String Riff #2
       Piano/String Riff #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
       Rising String Part #1
       Rising String Part #2 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
       Descending String Part #1
       Rising String Part #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    -Flanged String Interlude
    -Chorus 3
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Verse 3
       Evil woman, how you done me wrong
       But now you're tryin' to wail a different song
       Ha ha, funny how you broke me up
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       You made the wine now you drink a cup
       I came a'runnin' every time you cried
       Thought I saw love smilin' in your eyes
       Ha ha, honey, very nice to know
    with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
       That you ain't got no place left to go

    with female backing vocals singing Whoa, whoa, whoa
    -Chorus 4
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
       Evil woman
    with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman
    -Chorus 5
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
    -Chorus 6
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
       Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
       Evil woman

    Variations

    There are seven known non-live variations of the original Evil Woman They are:

    -Evil Woman (Standard Release)
    -Evil Woman (Edited UK Single Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited USA Single Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited USA Mono Single Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited Olι ELO Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited Argentina Promo Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)
    -Evil Woman (Edited Remaster Version)
    -Evil Woman (Stripped Down Mix)

    The UK single version simply cuts the orchestral intro and fades a couple of lines early. This version is what appears on most compilation albums, not the full album version. The USA single version cuts both the orchestral and vocal intro, as well as two lines from the first verse, one line from the third verse, a large section of the instrumental bridge and a much earlier fade beginning a the end of the fourth chorus. This version has never been released on CD or anything other than the original USA single and the B-side of the 1978 Livin' Thing reissue single. This edited version also has a mono version available on the B-side of the USA issued promotional single. The version that first appeared on the 1976 Olι ELO album is only subtlely different, cutting the orchestral intro from the album like the UK single, but including the full album fade-out, unlike the UK single. The version found on a promotional 7" single from Argentina to promote the 1979 ELO's Greatest Hits release is simply the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the standard album version, minus the orchestral intro. The version found on the 1984 Australian 18 Greatest Hits LP cuts the entire instrumental bridge and the third chorus. However, curiously, unlike most all other edits, it includes the orchestral intro from the album. The 2006 remaster CD introduced another edit, probably by accident-- it is the full album version, but it fades two lines earlier in the same manner as the UK single edit. Jeff Lynne, who oversaw the remasters, probably used the remaster for the 2005 All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra album, which has the UK single edit, for the Face The Music remaster, adding the orchestral intro in the process, without fully realizing or caring about the slightly different fade-out. The stripped down mix appears to be a raw backing track with added vocals. The arrangement is mostly the same except that there are no strings, no female backing vocals and the piano on the instrumental bridge is different. Also, the orchestral intro is cut (obviously) as well as the fifth chorus and the flanged string interlude. Most notable is the addition of the fourth verse.

    In addition, the brief solo version heard in the Jump For Joy episode of My Name Is Earl and the Things to Do in Phoenix When You're Dead episode of Medium is a whole new recording. However, only a very short section of the song is heard, thus making it difficult to analyze. What is heard is included in the chart below, but because of the heavy editing, most sections are marked "Unknown".

    Song Section Lyric/Part Evil Woman (Standard Release) Evil Woman (Edited UK Single Version) Evil Woman (Edited USA Single Version)
    Evil Woman (Edited USA Mono Single Version)
    Evil Woman (Edited Olι ELO Version) Evil Woman (Edited Argentina Promo Version) Evil Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version) Evil Woman (Edited Remaster Version) Evil Woman (Stripped Down Mix) * Evil Woman (Solo Version)
    Orchestral Intro Orchestral Intro
    YES
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    *
    -
    Vocal Intro You made a fool of me
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    But them broken dreams have got to end
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Piano Intro Piano Riff #1
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Piano Riff #2 with drum start
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Piano Riff #3 with drums & guitar
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Piano Riff #4 with drums & guitar
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Verse 1 Hey, woman, you got the blues
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    'Cause you ain't got no one else to use
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    There's an open road that leads nowhere
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    So just make some miles between here and there
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    There's a hole in my head where the rain comes in
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    You took my body and played to win
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Ha ha, woman, it's a cryin' shame with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES, but Jeff Lynne does the vocal harmonizing on the Ha ha
    *
    YES
    But you ain't got nobody else to blame
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Chorus 1 Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Verse 2 Rolled in from another town
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Hit some gold too hot to settle down
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    But a fool and his money soon go separate ways
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    And you found a fool lyin' in a daze
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Ha ha, woman, what you gonna do? with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES, but Jeff Lynne does the vocal harmonizing on the Ha ha
    *
    YES
    You destroyed all the virtues that the Lord gave you
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    So good that you're feelin' pain
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    But you better get your face on board the very next train with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES, but without the female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Chorus 2 Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES, but without the female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Instrumental Break Piano/String Riff #1
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different and Jeff shouts Hey! at the beginning
    *
    YES
    Piano/String Riff #2
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different
    *
    YES
    Piano/String Riff #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different and no female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Rising String Part #1
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different
    *
    YES
    Rising String Part #2 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey, hey
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES, but fades to end
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different and no female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Descending String Part #1
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different
    *
    YES
    Rising String Part #3 with female backing vocals singing Hey, hey, hey
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES, but the piano arrangement is different and no female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Flanged String Interlude Flanged String Interlude
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    -
    *
    YES
    Chorus 3 Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES, but without the female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Verse 3 Evil woman, how you done me wrong
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    But now you're tryin' to wail a different song
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Ha ha, funny how you broke me up with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but Jeff Lynne does the vocal harmonizing on the Ha ha
    *
    YES
    You made the wine now you drink a cup
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Came a'runnin' every time you cried
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but the lyric starts as I came a'runnin'...
    *
    YES, but the lyric slightly changed to I came a'runnin'...
    Thought I saw love smilin' in your eyes
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Ha ha, honey, very nice to know with female backing vocals harmonizing the Ha ha
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but Jeff Lynne does the vocal harmonizing on the Ha ha
    *
    YES
    That you ain't got no place left to go with female backing vocals singing Whoa, whoa, whoa
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but without the female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Chorus 4 Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but without the female backing vocals
    *
    YES
    Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES, but fade begins
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES
    *
    YES
    Verse 4 Hang down for just a while
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    And I'll tell you a story that'll make you smile
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    'Bout a dark-eyed woman with a Cadillac
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    But all she had was on her back
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    Well, a fool rushed in this time and saw
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    Just the kind of woman that he adored
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    She lay beside him and turned on her charm
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    But this devil's woman sure know how to do you harm
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    -
    Chorus 5 Evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals of You're an evil woman added
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to Such an evil woman
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to You're an evil woman
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    -
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to Such an evil woman
    Chorus 6 Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
    YES
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    YES
    YES
    YES, but without female backing vocals
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to You're an evil woman
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing You're an evil woman
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    YES, but without female backing vocals
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to Such an evil woman
    Evil woman with female backing vocals singing Such an evil woman
    YES
    -
    -
    YES
    -
    YES
    -
    YES, but without female backing vocals
    *
    YES, but female backing vocals changed to You're an evil woman
    Evil woman
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    -
    YES
    *
    YES

    Music Charts

    These are the known statistics for the various country's music charts. If you can fill in the missing information or know of charting information in other countries, please let me know at the email address listed at the bottom of this page.

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18 Week 19
    UK Official Top 50 Chart Entry Date: January 10, 1976
    46
    27
    14
    10
    (January 31, 1976)
    11
    11
    28
    32
    USA Billboard Hot 100 Chart Entry Date: November 15, 1975
    87
    77
    60
    49
    40
    28
    24
    20
    18
    16
    15
    14
    13
    10
    (February 14, 1976)
    10
    (February 21, 1976)
    26
    44
    USA Cash Box Top 100 Chart Entry Date: November 15, 1975
    95
    79
    51
    37
    32
    23
    18
    16
    15
    15
    13
    12
    10
    9
    (February 14, 1976)
    9
    (February 21, 1976)
    13
    28
    38
    48
    USA Record World Top 40 Chart Entry Date: [UNKNOWN]
    Peak of 9
    during a run of an unknown number of weeks on the chart
    Australia Top 100 Chart Entry Date: [DATE UNKNOWN]
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Peak at #23 on February 2, 1976 during a run of 18 weeks on the chart
    Canada Top 30 Chart Entry Date: December 27, 1975
    28
    16
    9
    8
    7
    Peak at #6 on January 31, 1976
    Peak at #6 on February 2, 1976
    9
    20
    Holland Top 40 (De Nederlandse Top 40) Chart Entry Date: December 27, 1975
    30
    28
    20
    (January 10, 1976)
    22
    33
    Holland Top 30 (Origin uncertain) Chart Entry Date: January 3, 1976
    21
    (January 3, 1976)
    21
    (January 10, 1976)
    25
    Ireland Top 20 Chart Entry Date: February 19, 1976
    16
    13
    16
    Peak at #10 on March 11, 1976
    New Zealand Top 40 Chart Entry Date: March 23, 1976
    17
    16
    20
    16
    13
    8
    (March 16, 1976)
    13
    25
    25
    29
    22
    35
    27
    not
    in
    chart
    not
    in
    chart
    36
    36
    36
    40

    Releases

    Here are all the known USA and UK releases of the song:

    Evil Woman (Standard Release)

    Evil Woman (Edited UK Single Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited USA Single Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited USA Mono Single Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited Olι ELO Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited Argentina Promo Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)

    Evil Woman (Edited Remaster Version)

    Evil Woman (Stripped Down Mix)

    Evil Woman (Supersonic December 4, 1975)

    Evil Woman (Top Of The Pops January 8, 1976)

    Evil Woman (The Midnight Special - February, 1976)

    Evil Woman (Winterland February 14, 1976)

    Evil Woman (London June 20, 1976)

    Evil Woman (Portsmouth June 22, 1976)

    Evil Woman (A New World Record Tour)

    Evil Woman (Out Of The Blue Tour)

    Evil Woman (Time Tour)

    Evil Woman (Balance Of Power Tour)

    Evil Woman (VH1 Storytellers, April 20, 2001)

    Evil Woman (Los Angeles, May 2001)

    Evil Woman (5.1 Mix - Los Angeles, May 2001)

    Evil Woman (Solo Version)

    Evil Woman (Bungalow Palace - March 2011)

    Tours

    Evil Woman was played on all tours following its release.

    The live performances that have seen official release are three versions from the Face The Music tour (Winterland, London and Portsmouth) and one version from the PBS performance for the aborted Zoom tour. Performances of Evil Woman from the A New World Record, Out Of The Blue, Time and Balance Of Power tours have not been officially released, although they have been bootlegged from various sources.

    The Time tour performance was a different performance, with Jeff and Kelly Groucutt alternating lyric lines over the first two verses and the third verse completely cut from the performance. During the rare Balance Of Power tour performances, which were in Germany only, Jeff changed the lyric "you better get your face on board the very next train" to "you better get your asshole on board the very next train". Perhaps he didn't think the German audience would notice, but it was secretly recorded and this amusing factoid is now preserved for history.

    Also of interest is that at almost every live performance, just before the instrumental bridge, Jeff shouts "Take it, Richard!" to Richard Tandy.

    Pictures

    UK 7-inch single (Jet Jet 764) USA standard 7-inch single (United Artists UA-XW 729-Y) USA promo 7-inch single (United Artists UA-XW 729-Y) USA promo 7-inch single (United Artists UA-XW 729-Y) USA Face The Music LP (United Artists UA-LA546-G) UK The ELO EP EP (Jet Jet ELO 1)
    UK vinyl single * Jet * Jet 764
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    USA standard vinyl single * United Artists * UA-XW 729-Y USA promo vinyl single (both sides) * United Artists * UA-XW 729-Y USA Face The Music album * United Artists * UA-LA546-G UK The ELO EP EP * Jet * Jet ELO 1
    UK Can't Get It Out Of My Head 7-inch reissue single (Jet Jet ELO 1 JB) USA 7-inch reissue single (United Artists US X 1177-Y) USA 7-inch reissue single (Golden Oldies Jet CBS ZS8 5151) Version #1 USA 7-inch reissue single (Golden Oldies Jet CBS ZS8 5151) Version #2 USA 7-inch reissue single (Collectibles Jet CBS ZS8 5151)
    UK Can't Get It Out My Head vinyl single * Jet * Jet ELO 1 JB USA vinyl single * United Artists * US X 1177-Y USA vinyl single * Golden Oldies Jet * CBS ZS8 5151 (Version #1) USA vinyl single * Golden Oldies Jet * CBS ZS8 5151 (Version #2) USA vinyl single * Collectibles Jet * CBS ZS8 5151
    Argentina promo 7-inch single (Epic DEP-139) Australia promo 7-inch single (Polydor 2001 620) Belgium 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 2001 620) Brazil 7-inch single (Polydor 2229 187) Canada 7-inch single (United Artists UA-XW729-Y)
    Argentina promo vinyl single * Epic * DEP-139 Australia vinyl single * Polydor * 2001 620 Belgium vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 2001 620
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Brazil vinyl EP * Polydor * 2229 187
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Canada vinyl single * United Artists * UA-XW729-Y
    Canada 7-inch single (United Artists XW1132) Canada 7-inch single (Columbia C4-1028) France 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 2001 608) Germany 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 2001622) Greece 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 2001 622)
    Canada vinyl single * United Artists * XW1132 Canada vinyl single * Columbia * C4-1028 France vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 2001 608
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Germany vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 2001622
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Greece vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 2001 622
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Guatamala 7-inch single (Polydor 11114) Holland 7-inch single (Polydor 2001 608) Republic of Ireland 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 764) Italy 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 2001 625) Italy 7-inch promo single (Jet Polydor 2001 625)
    Guatamala vinyl single * Polydor * 11114 Holland vinyl single * Polydor * 2001 608 Republic of Ireland vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 764
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Italy vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 2001 625
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Italy vinyl promo single * Jet Polydor * 2001 625
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Italy 7-inch Jukebox single (Jet Polydor AS 5000 340) Japan 7-inch single (Jet Polydor DP 4020) Japan 7-inch single (Jet CM-114) Japan 7-inch single (Jet 06SP370) Mexico 7-inch single (Jet Polydor 629)
    Italy vinyl Jukebox single * Jet Polydor * AS 5000 340
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Japan vinyl single * Jet Polydor * DP 4020
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Japan vinyl single * Jet * CM-114
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Japan vinyl single * Jet * 06SP370 Mexico vinyl single * Jet Polydor * 629
    New Zealand 7-inch single (Polydor 2001 622) Peru 7-inch single (Polydor 2001608) Philippines 7-inch single (Polydor PRO-3452) Spain 7-inch single (Polydor 20 01 632) Thailand 7-inch single (Royalsound TKR 349)
    New Zealand vinyl single * Polydor * 2001 622
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Peru vinyl single * Polydor * 2001608
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Philippines vinyl single * Polydor * PRO-3452
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Spain vinyl single * Polydor * 20 01 632
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Thailand vinyl single * Royalsound * TKR 349
    Thailand 7-inch single (Express Song EXP-172) Uraguay 7-inch single (United Artists 300.017) Yugoslavia 7-inch single (Polydor RTB S 53 938) Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra album with solo version
    Thailand vinyl single * Express Song * EXP-172 Uraguay vinyl single * United Artists * 300.017
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Yugoslavia vinyl single * Polydor * RTB S 53 938
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra album containing newer solo version

    Cover Versions


    Use in Movies and TV Programs

    Electric Light Orchestra's original Evil Woman


    Electric Light Orchestra's solo Evil Woman


    Sheet Music

           
    Sheet music as published in the UK.

    Please note that because this is published and copyrighted material, the full sheet music cannot be shown here.

    Promotional Videos and TV Performances

    Evil Woman promo videoThe promo video for Evil Woman features the band on an unidentified concert stage miming to the UK single version of the song (missing orchestral intro and fade slightly early). Jeff is wearing the same black shirt with white wings on the shoulders that was seen in the Can't Get It Out Of My Head video. He is also wearing a brown newsboy hat and his infamous dark sunglasses. No other videos in support of the Face The Music album were produced. The Evil Woman promo video can be seen HERE. The video has never been commercially released.

    Evil Woman on SupersonicELO's first and only appearance on the UK TV show Supersonic was broadcast on December 4, 1975 performing Evil Woman. This performance, which was a live vocal and live piano over a taped backing track (with the band miming the taped parts), is amusing because throughout the performance, fog machines were overwhelming the cello players on the multi-tiered stage and at one point in the song, Jeff looks over at Hugh and breaks up laughing, momentarily breaking from his mimed performance. This appearance can be seen HERE. Although this performance was never rebroadcast on Supersonic, it was sold to music programs outside the UK. In particular, it was used for an episode of Twiggy's Juke Box in the USA in 1978.

    Evil Woman on TOTPThe band also appeared on the UK's Top Of The Pops broadcast on January 8, 1976 where they again performed a live vocal and unidentified female backing vocals over a taped backing. This performance is edited, utting the second chorus and the entire piano part from the instrumental bridge that follows as well as fading early. Otherwise, it was a simple mimed stage performance. This appearance can be seen HERE. This performance was rebroadast on subsequent Top Of The Pops episode on January 22, January 31 and February 12 of 1976

    Evil Woman on The Midnight SpecialIn the US, the band performed a completely live version of the song (no taped backing) on The Midnight Special. The show was broadcast on March 5, 1976, although the actual recording was done between February 8 and 11, inclusively. The song was a straight stage performance, along with performances of Nightrider and Strange Magic. This appearance can be seen HERE. This performance of Evil Woman was rebroadcast on The Midnight Special on April 23 and June 25 of 1976.

    It is known that the band also made an appearance with the song on a German TV show called Pop '75 in 1975, but details about this appearance are uncertain at this time. It is hoped that more details about this TV performance and possibly others can be detailed at a future date.

    Fan Comments

    Enter comments only about this song. (Inappropriate comments will be removed.)


    Tell the world what you think of Evil Woman. Who did Jeff have in mind when he wrote the song?

    Artwork by Lynnette Johansson for Evil Woman
    -Fan artwork by Lynnette "Cicky" Johansson

    Quotations

    Evil Woman (Standard Release)
    Evil Woman was used in the film Austin Powers In Goldmember, using the original Electric Light Orchestra version, however it did not show up on the officially released soundtrack. Instead, the soundtrack featured a cover version by Soul Hooligan featuring Diana King.

    Note also that on the Flashback set, the orchestral intro to this song was improperly placed at the end of the previous song, Tightrope.

    "Evil Woman though, is the classic. It fuels perfectly the soul direction so crassly assimilated on Showdown, an explosion of flickering rhythm guitars, clarinet and surging strings, a rich vein of hooks and melodies that seem instantly familiar. If it isn't a huge hit we are in a worse shape than we think."
    John Ingham (1975 - from a transcribed UK Face The Music album review of unknown origin)

    "Funny enough, when we did the LP... We never do singles as a thing, we just go in and make an LP. I write all the songs and [Evil Woman] just sounded like a single straight away, we did it. Y'know, it had a good feel to it. And, uh, that's what everybody chose to release. The record company, Jet, which is David's label and Don's label, we all agreed on it and it came out. And it's a hit in England as well."
    Jeff Lynne (1976 - Innerview with Jim Ladd)

    "Now we're home! ELO has its first real hit single. From Face The Music, it delivers ELO the stature they deserve..."
    Author Unknown (June 1976 - liner notes for Olι ELO album)

    "Lynne's compositions, such as Looking On and especially What?, sound far more like classic ELO than the nondescript disco sludge of Evil Woman. [...] Material from this [The Night The Light Went On In Long Beach] LP has appeared on the B-sides of the last three UK singles, and the live 10538 Overture (with its teasing, truncated Do Ya riff in the middle) is the American B-side of Evil Woman. [...] [Face The Music] rocketed up the charts [in the UK], and when Evil Woman was pulled as the single... The test, as they say, is history. [...] Face The Music is one of the more uneven ELO releases. The dreadful disco of Evil Woman was followed by an equally lame nonentity called Strange Magic, which has also proved a huge hit."
    Joel Bellman (December 1976 - Trouser Press #17)

    "It's primarily a singles market in England, especially among the younger fans. If you look at the album charts, you'll usually find Perry Como or something like that high up. Some of our singles do well-- Evil Woman went top ten, but then Strange Magic flopped."
    Bev Bevan (January 17, 1977 - Circus magazine)

    "I wrote Evil Woman in the studio and it came to me quicker than any other song I have written."
    Jeff Lynne (November 1979 ELO's Greatest Hits)

    "It was out of a different song, that string bit that comes in backwards. It was out of something... Nightrider, the string tracks off that. And, uh, I played it backwards and it was in the right key."
    Jeff Lynne (August 8, 1980 - The ELO Story radio show)

    "Face The Music also gave Jeff his fastest-ever [produced] song. We were short a track on the last day of recording in Munich and Jeff went in early. By the time the rest of us arrived at 2 P.M. he had Evil Woman ready for us to play. It made the top ten in both Britain and America as a single release in later months."
    Bev Bevan (1980 - The Electric Light Orchestra Story)

    "Yeah, Evil Woman, actually [still gives me a thrill]. It sounds like a complete... song. I wrote that in about fifteen minutes. It was really weird because I needed one more song for the album and all the rest of the group were hanging about and I said, 'You all go do something and I'll just write this song on the piano in the studio.' And I had it done like... kinda like 'bout half an hour later it was almost ready to record. Y'know, just showed everybody how it went. And it... I made the record in probably a day, wrote the words the next day. It was very, very quick. Some take months to make, y'know. Some just come easy."
    Jeff Lynne (June 23, 1990 - Timothy White's Rock Stars: Jeff Lynne's Musical Chairs)

    "Sparked by the controversially discofied sound of Evil Woman and the soothing slow-dance charms of Strange Magic, the [Face The Music] album out-sold Eldorado."
    Ira Robbins (1995 liner notes for Strange Magic: The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra)

    "Almost at the end of the recording sessions [for Face The Music] one more song was needed so Jeff walked into the studio, sat on the piano [sic] and wrote Evil Woman very quickly. When the band came in as usual the song was finished!"
    Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

    "Probably the fastest song I ever wrote was on [the Face The Music] session-- Evil Woman which took about six minutes to write the basic tune. I was always planning on changing the chorus a bit but I couldn't come up with anything better. [...] Me second go at an R&B style song. [...] I took the high string crescendo from [Nightrider] and over dubbed it backwards onto Evil Woman where it's prominently featured."
    Jeff Lynne (2000 - Flashback)

    "They all went out for like half an hour and I just walked up to the piano and played these three chords. And it was Evil Woman immediately. I never even changed it. It was just... that's the verse of Evil Woman. It was just, uh, A minor, E minor, D minor, built into C and then goes: 'dow, dow, dow.' Right back into them chord changes. And it was just done instantly. And, uh, so I got all that and said, 'This is how it goes.' And then, it was recorded in that afternoon and then, I probably did the words at the end, as usual. And I was gonna change the actual chorus. [Sings 'Evil Woman.'] I was gonna change that bit. One day, I was gonna change that at the last minute. But I could never come up with anything better, so I left it like that."
    Jeff Lynne (June 2 & 9, 2001 - Mr. Blue Sky: The Jeff Lynne Story 2001 BBC 2 Radio show)

    "Yeah, [I wrote Evil Woman very quickly]. I actually walked up to the piano and wrote the first three chords and it just went through just like that. And, uh, it took me a lot longer to do the words... probably it took me six weeks to do the words, but the actual tune... the track... [...] Well this is a little innovative idea that I had. You see, the two songs-- We'd just done the two string sessions, like, probably three strings sessions in a session. So I'd just been overdubbing orchestra and I noticed that where that crescendo went off, I turned it 'round backwards and listened to it and thought, 'That'll fit right in Evil Woman in this beat that I'm really bored [with].' And, I tried it out on, y'know, just took a little copy of it. Snip it in; snip it out. And put this thing in backwards. And it fit perfectly. It never missed a beat and it just whizzed through like nothing ever happened and here it was backwards. "
    Jeff Lynne (June 24, 2001 - Off The Record interview with Uncle Joe Benson)

    "Actually, [Evil Woman] was a premonition of a woman I was about to meet. [Laughs] So we don't have to go too deeply into that one. Funny enough, the title, I was gonna change... I'd written the song really quickly, like in about six minutes. And I came to do the words and I've got the-- I wrote those last and I couldn't thing of anything except 'evil woman' so I left it in there."
    Jeff Lynne (July 2001 - Electric Light Orchestra - Up Close US Jones Radio Network Radio Show)

    "Face The Music's single, Evil Woman, written hurriedly as a filler, was the first to make the Top 10 on both sides of the Atlantic, but it was the third album in a row not to chart in Britain. In front of his first audience since 1986, Jeff goes into Evil Woman and notes ruefully that 'it came true recently'. Acrimoniously divorced from his second wife, Jeff now lives in LA with singer Rosie Vela, who joins him in the new line-up."
    Jim Irvin (August, 2001 - The Bullring Variations article in Mojo)

    "Face The Music gave Lynne his first worldwide smash with the single Evil Woman, the fastest song he ever wrote. "
    Author Unknown (March 31, 2003 - website only expanded liner notes for ELO 2 remaster CD)

    "Face The Music... was an immediate hit and also gave Lynne his first worldwide smash hit, Evil Woman."
    Rob Caiger (2003 liner notes for The Collection)

    "Face The Music also wrought... the soulful Evil Woman, an infectious tune built around a dynamic string riff, which Lynne was said to have penned in only 30 minutes."
    Jaan Uhelszki (April 1 2003 liner notes for The Essential Electric Light Orchestra)
    Editor's Note: The song was built around the piano riff, not a string riff.

    "Well, actually it turns out [the evil woman in Evil Woman is] somebody I know. [Laughs] So I can't talk about it really."
    Jeff Lynne (July 5, 2005 - Face The Music: The Story of the Electric Light Orchestra BBC 2 Radio show)

    "There's songs such as Evil Woman that were presented to the band complete for them to learn to play..."
    Rob Caiger (July 20, 2005 - Showdown mailing list)

    "ELO's Jeff Lynne made three of the most over-the-top enjoyable radio hits of the 1970s: Evil Woman, Don't Bring Me Down and Turn to Stone."
    Peter Relic and Brian Hiatt (November 17, 2005 - Rolling Stone issue #967)

    "...a lot of songs are edited - its just that the edited version that makes it to the album is the only one you've heard. Evil Woman for example is an edited track - the full-length version has an additional verse and chorus."
    Rob Caiger (February 4, 2006 - Showdown mailing list)

    "Jeff does control his songs and the sample [from Evil Woman] used for the Pussycat Dolls [song BEEP] was approved by him."
    Rob Caiger (March 1, 2006 - Showdown mailing list)

    "Millionaire rock star Jeff Lynne is set to make a killing - because sexy popbabes Pussycat Dolls have borrowed one of his old chart hits. The musician from Meriden in Warickshire has given the girls permission to use part of ELO's Evil Woman in their new single, and it's being tipped as a No 1. They've even credited the former Move and ELO frontman as one of the writers of Beep, a cheeky pop song with most of the chorus beeped out. If it follows in the footsteps of their first tune Don't Cha, it will top the charts - giving Lynne his first No 1 since Xanadu, recorded with Olivia Newton-John way back in 1980. Former ELO drummer Bev Bevan, now a Saga FM DJ and Sunday Mercury columnist, said he hadn't been told that Evil Woman was about to make a comeback. 'Evil Woman is one of my favourite songs,' he said. 'I haven't heard Beep yet. I'm not a huge fan of the girls, although they're very attractive!'"
    Unknown (February 26, 2006 - Birmingham Sunday Mercury)

    "Check out the stripped down version of Evil Woman; I think it's a better mix than the original 1975 one. I took the high string part of Nightrider that climbs up to a climax, and used it backwards in Evil Woman as a big effect. I was amazed when it slotted in seamlessly."
    Jeff Lynne (September 11 2006 - Face The Music remaster liner notes)

    "[Face The Music] also included one song composed in record time. Short of a final track for the album, Lynne created the classic Evil Woman in six minutes, the fastest song he ever wrote. J.L.: 'Now, when I say I wrote the song in six minutes, I didn't write the words in six minutes! I wrote the actual structure of the song, the chords and the melody and the little twiddly bits and then invited the group back in, showed everybody what to play and then laid it down. It was all done in a couple of hours in the afternoon and then I went back and worked on the arrangement and on the lyrics.' Evil Woman gave Lynne his first worldwide top 10 hit single, including a no.10 chart placing in the U.K."
    Rob Caiger (September 11 2006 - Face The Music remaster liner notes)

    "[ELO] had dabbled in... prog rock (the slightly superior Evil Woman)..."
    Author Unknown (September, 2006 - Q Magazine Sep 2006)

    "JEFF LYNN [sic] of ELO gave me center mic," exclaims Marge. "He liked a background vocal arrangement I came up with for Evil Woman (Evil Woman went to #1). To this day, I still hear my voice loud and clear on that part, in fact it was just used in the AUSTIN POWERS GOLDMEMBER movie."
    Author Unknown (circa 2008 - Marge Raymond's web biography (http://www.margeraymond.com/bio.html))
    Editor's Note: Evil Woman did not reach #1 on the charts.

    "Face the Music, released in 1975 -- featuring Evil Woman and Strange Magic as top 20 singles and non-single track such as Fire on High and Waterfall -- was the most solid release to date."
    Rock Cesario (October 16, 2006 - The Daily Sentinal (Grand Junction, Colorado))

    "Face The Music (1975) produced the international Top Ten Evil Woman and the equally brilliant Strange Magic. Both continued to redefine Lynne as a consummate pop composer."
    Lindsay Planer (November 6, 2006 - MusicTAP On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record remaster review)

    "In 1995 Michael Stipe imitated Lynne at an REM concert, wearing a frizzy wig and singing Evil Woman..."
    Paul Lester (November 11, 2006 - The Scotsman)

    "Face the Music is the album that introduced the radio-friendly version of ELO to the masses with the singles Strange Magic, Waterfall, and the ubiquitous disco-tinged Evil Woman."
    Barry Nothstine (2006 - The Phantom Tollbooth On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record remaster review)

    "His songwriting machine was so well honed at this point that he could toss off a generic song like Evil Woman in an afternoon, dress it up with the production techniques he had been working toward all decade, and have it go straight to the top 10 all over the world. The song is a compendium of clichιs-'You took my body and played to win', 'A fool and his money soon go separate ways'-but the commanding piano opening, the burping riff after each iteration of the chorus, and the backward crescendo break make it irresistible anyway. (The [Face The Music] reissue includes a 'stripped down mix' that removes the female backing vocals and the orchestra overdubs. This allows the piano solo to come through much more clearly but deprives the song of some of the towering preposterousness that made it magical.)"
    Rob Horning (2007 February 16 - On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record reissue review on popmatters.com)

    "Two of ELO's biggest hits, Evil Woman and Strange Magic are here [on the Face The Music remaster] and the band swiftly started gaining ground on the charts."
    Scott Homewood (2007 February 2 - On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record reissue review on cdreviews.com)

    "ELO's finest singles may have appeared on the two prior albums (can you argue with Evil Woman or Livin' Thing?)..."
    Rob Mitchum (March 1 2007 - Pitchfork Media Out Of The Blue remaster review)

    "Even today it's hard not to be bowled over by the impact and innovation of Evil Woman, Mr. Blue Sky or Strange Magic, a song whose title perfectly summarized the Lynne mystique."
    Unknown (Summer 2007 - Yamaha All Access)

    "[Cliff Richard's] Miss You Nights was to be the first single released [from his I'm Nearly Famous album], in February 1976, because there was some concern that Devil Woman might get confused with the Electric Light Orchestra's Evil Woman which had entered the charts in January."
    Steve Turner (2008 January - Cliff Richard - The Biography (revised edition))

    "Then came Evil Women [sic]. I can [remember] to this day how amazed we all were when we heard this track. Jeff was quite the genius in music innovation. He was one of the first to use phase shifting and other special effects in music. Jeff wants us all to strengthen the chorus 'EEEvil Women'. So here we are standing in front of the mic and the opening of the tune comes on: 'You made a fool of me...', etc. We all look at each other and mouthed the words... 'WOW what sound and what great tune.' We missed our entrance a few times because we were listening to this song in the headsets and were blown away, especially on the part where it phase [shifts] into the chorus 'Evil Women'. We apologize to Jeff...Sorry...we are just blown away with the effects and the sound. We come back into the control room. Jeff says he still feels there is something missing in the tune. We listen to the playback. We add vocals to the part that says, 'HA HA (women what you gonna do, etc)'. Back in the control room we are listening back again and right after the part 'but you better get yourself onboard the very next train' and 'Ha Ha, very nice to know, that you aint got no place to go' I came up with the preceeding vocal part. Jeff loved it!!! [Jeff says:] 'Marge go out in the studio and do that!!' So we all go back into the studio, but he puts me center mic, which makes my vocals stand out the most. You can hear the 'hey, hey, hey' and 'Your an evil women'. Then came the tag at the end of the song: 'Your an evil women...such an evil women, etc..' [It's] me loud and clear. [...] Can you imagine what I felt like when I heard Evil Women [sic] for the first time. I was completely blown away. While I was in he studio I knew that this album had smash hits on it. Evil Women went to #1 and stayed there for many weeks. Wow! To this day, its still on the radio and I always get a thrill to hear it and my voice. I still say to myself, I cant believe its me on that tune, 34 years later. That song will be around forever...its classic. [...] In Goldmember [sic], I hear Evil Women [sic] and my voice. Now its on the Xbox Grand Theft Auto game which is in litigation for not paying out any royalties to anyone. You just can't take music and not pay out on it, especially when its a union job. I would get a conversion payout because my vocals are used in a different medium... i.e. first a recording... then a movie... then a game."
    Marge Raymond (February 23, 2009 - Facebook message board for an ELO page)
    Editor's Note: Evil Woman did not reach #1 on the charts.

    "Evil Woman was went Top 10 both in America and in England in 1975."
    Author Unknown (August 18, 2012 - Something Else! website review)

    "[Evil Woman was] a premonition of somebody I was going to meet."
    Jeff Lynne (October 9, 2012 - L.A. Weekly)

    "I was working in the Record Plant overdubbing some girl singers onto the end of Evil Woman. Ellie Greenwich, the famous singer-songwriter, and two other girls did the part (sings 'You're an evil woman'). It was great to have them. While we were there, May Pang (one-time girlfriend of John Lennon) came into the studio and told me that John had said that Showdown was one of his favorite songs..."
    Jeff Lynne (January 2013 - Goldmine magazine)

    "Evil Woman, Mr. Blue Sky, Livin' Thing and Don't Bring Me Down can't fail to brighten your day."
    Duncan Jamieson (2013 March - Melodic Rock Fanzine #55)

    Evil Woman (Edited UK Single Version)
    The difference between this version and the standard Face The Music album version is that it edits off the orchestral intro and fades a few seconds early.

    Evil Woman (Edited USA Single Version)
    The difference between this version and the Face The Music version is that it cuts both the orchestral and vocal intro, as well as two lines from the first verse, one line from the third verse, a large section of the intrumental bridge and a much earlier fade beginning a the end of the fourth chorus.

    Evil Woman (Edited USA Mono Single Version)
    This is a mono version of the USA single version of Evil Woman.

    Evil Woman (Edited Olι ELO Version)
    This is subtlety different in that it excludes the orchestral intro from the album, but includes the full album fade-out.

    Evil Woman (Edited Remaster Version)
    This version is the same as the full album version, including the orchestral intro, but it fades two lines earlier as on the UK single. This edit was probably done in error, when Jeff went back to the original tapes to remaster the Face The Music album.

    Evil Woman (Edited Argentina Promo Version)
    This version is simply the first 2 minutes and 30 seconds of the standard single version, fading on the second rising string part of the instrumental break. It was issued only on a Can't Get It Out Of My Head/Evil Woman promotional 7" single, designed to promote the Argentenian release of ELO's Greatest Hits.

    Evil Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)
    This version, found on the Australian 18 Greatest Hits LP from 1984, differs from the original Face The Music version in that it cuts the entire instrumental bridge and the third chorus. Curiously, for an edit, it includes the orchestral intro as well.

    Evil Woman (Stripped Down Mix)
    The stripped down mix appears to be a raw backing track with added vocals. The arrangement is mostly the same except that there are no strings, no female backing vocals and the piano on the instrumental bridge is different. Also, the orchestral intro is cut (obviously) as well as the fifth chorus and the flanged string interlude. Most notable is the addition of the fourth verse.

    "...a lot of songs are edited - its just that the edited version that makes it to the album is the only one you've heard. Evil Woman for example is an edited track - the full-length version has an additional verse and chorus."
    Rob Caiger (February 4, 2006 - Showdown mailing list)

    "Check out the stripped down version of Evil Woman; I think it's a better mix than the original 1975 one."
    Jeff Lynne (September 11 2006 - Face The Music remaster liner notes)

    "The bonuses [on the Face The Music remaster] will be manna for enthusiasts already familiar with the music as there is an early version of Fire On High, a stripped down configuration of Evil Woman and the instrumental backing for Waterfall. "
    Lindsay Planer (November 6, 2006 - MusicTAP On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record remaster review)

    "The bonus tracks shine on Face the Music, especially the essential stripped-down version of Evil Woman (minus strings)..."
    Barry Nothstine (2006 - The Phantom Tollbooth On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record remaster review)

    "The [Face The Music]reissue includes a 'stripped down mix' that removes the female backing vocals and the orchestra overdubs. This allows the piano solo to come through much more clearly but deprives the song of some of the towering preposterousness that made it magical."
    Rob Horning (2007 February 16 - On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record reissue review on popmatters.com)

    "The stripped down mix of Evil Woman was from the original Face The Music multitrack that we briefly had in our possession in Abbey Road studios. That was rough mixed to stereo by Paul Hicks, myself and Al Q during a very hectic session. More material from that day may surface later."
    Rob Caiger (March 14, 2007 - Showdown mailing list)

    Evil Woman (Supersonic December 4, 1975)
    This performance, lifted from a December 4, 1975 broadcast on the ITV's Supersonic program, features live vocal and live piano over a taped backing. It's a rather infamous recording as during the performance, Hugh McDowell is being overwhelmed by fog machines and Jeff Lynne, witnessing this, cracks up laughing for a few moments and breaks from his mime performance.

    Evil Woman (Top Of The Pops January 8, 1976)
    This performance, lifted from a January 8, 1976 broadcast on the BBC's Top Of The Pops, features live lead vocal and female backing vocals over a taped backing. The tape backing is an edit of the standard UK single version cutting the second chorus and the instrumental bridge except for the string interlude part. It also fades quickly at the end of the fourth chorus, cutting the repeated choruses that follow.

    Evil Woman (The Midnight Special - February, 1976)

    Evil Woman (Winterland 1976)

    Evil Woman (London June 20, 1976)
    "I was saving myself for the 'hit', and so were a lot of the crowd-- Evil Woman-- ELO's biggie. Most were 'getting down'. I even tapped a foot and sang-- ha, I knew the words to this one! The 'true fans'-- the nutters-- didn't seem to like it though, and there was a bit of a backlash at the time to ELO 'selling out to disco'."
    Rob Caiger (1991 - Face The Music fanzine #9)

    Evil Woman (Portsmouth June 22, 1976)

    Evil Woman (A New World Record Tour)
    "Perhaps the highlight of the evening was Evil Woman, during which even the expressionless Lynne seemed duly inspired by the pride and excitement of being involved in a winning effort. As one young lady in a dark blue pantsuit was overheard to exclaim: 'I like the performance all the more when even the band members are enjoying it!'"
    Scott Appleby (March, 1977 - Unknown newspaper review of March 25, 1977 show)

    Evil Woman (Out Of The Blue Tour)
    "[The band's songs] were played exquisitely too, with Showdown, Evil Women [sic], Livin' Thing and Telephone Line once more demonstrating Lynne's incredible resilience at pure pop penmanship."
    Harry Doherty (June 10, 1978 - Melody Maker)

    "To fans of Do Ya, Evil Woman, Livin' Thing and Strange Magic, it was an evening of pure delight."
    Carl Diltz (August 20, 1978 - St. Paul Pioneer Press concert review)

    "A brilliant performance of Evil Woman didn't even make the TV broadcast [of the Wembley concert] as during the string break, the [strings] went completely out of tune. It was so painful that sliding fingernails down a chalk board wouldn't even come close...."
    Rob Caiger (July 20, 2003 - Showdown mailing list)

    Evil Woman (Time Tour)

    Evil Woman (Balance Of Power Tour)

    Evil Woman (VH1 Storytellers, April 20, 2001)

    Evil Woman (Los Angeles, May 2001)

    Evil Woman (5.1 Mix - Los Angeles, May 2001)

    Evil Woman (Solo Version)
    In approximately 2008 (possibly earlier), Jeff Lynne re-recorded a solo version of Evil Woman that was almost identical to the original album recording. It features his daughter, Laura Lynne, on backing vocals. The song was officially released on the 2012 Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra compilation, however it had appeared as early as 2008 in aMy Name Is Earl TV episode entitled Jump For Joy and a 2009 Medium TV episode entitled Things to Do in Phoenix When You're Dead. Less than a minute of the song is heard in each of these appearances.

    "Mr. Blue Sky [sic] features re-imaginings of the title track, Evil Woman, Livin' Thing, Don't Bring Me Down, and 10538 Overture."
    Author Unknown (August 2, 2012 - Something Else! website review)

    "Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra is a powerful testament to Lynne's enduring artistry and his singular desire to get things right once and for all. Featuring such classics as Evil Woman, Don't Bring Me Down, Livin' Thing and Mr. Blue Sky, the result is, in effect, a kind of showdown between Jeff Lynne today and his extremely illustrious past, and thanks to improved technology and recording artistry, Lynne somehow comes out on top again."
    Scott Hopkins (September 25, 2012 - Pop Bitez website)

    "Lynne played every instrument on Long Wave, which he also does on Mr. Blue Sky – The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra, a fascinating, deeply entertaining reworking of his own hits. Evil Woman, Don't Bring Me Down, Telephone Line, Livin' Thing – they're all here and more. Lynne doesn't maim his ELO legacy so much as puts a fresh spin on some of the greatest pop-rock songs to flood the radio waves during the '70s and early '80s."
    Joe Bosso (October 3, 2012 - Musicradar website)

    "Lynne worked six days a week [on ] perfecting songs including Do Ya, Evil Woman, Strange Magic, and Don't Bring Me Down. He did this at home, mostly on his own. 'I just love playing all the instruments and going back and thinking fucking hell, I did all that.'"
    Katie Bain (October 9, 2012 - L.A. Weekly)

    "I used to listen to them on the radio, my old ELO records, and go 'Oh wow, it's not quite as good as I thought it was.' It's not that it's bad – it just doesn't quite sound the way that I thought it did when I originally recorded them. Since then I've had many more years – like 30 more years – experience so I thought I'd try re-recording Mr. Blue Sky to start with, just to see what I could get it to sound like. And I was very pleased with the results. I played it for my manager and he said, 'Oh wow, it sounds so much better. Why don't you try another one and see how you get on?' I did Evil Woman and Strange Magic and they came out really well, crisp and clear. That's what I was looking for. The old ones, not that they're bad – I still like them very much – but they got a bit wooly in places, just sort of not punchy enough."
    Jeff Lynne (October 9, 2012 - The All Music Blog website)

    "I wouldn't say that [Evil Woman] was me favorite one of those [rerecorded ELO songs]."
    Jeff Lynne (October 14, 2012 - Absolute Radio)

    "The resulting Mr. Blue Sky [sic] album features revamped versions of ELO classics Evil Woman, Turn To Stone, Showdown and Telephone Line."
    Simon Copeland (October 19, 2012 - The Sun)

    "I listened to [my ELO songs] on the radio and I go, 'I dunno, it's a bit wooly, that. It's wooly sounding. There's no clarity, and that's what I was looking for.' So I went into my studio and I started on Mr. Blue Sky. I finished it as this brand new version and I played it for my manager Craig and he said, 'Wow, that's fantastic, it's much better. Why don't you try some more,' and so I did. I tried Evil Woman and Strange Magic and they came out really good, too--bright and full with nice punchy bottom end. I'm very, very pleased with them and I'm really glad that I did it because now they exist in the world in a much better form than they were before."
    Jeff Lynne (October 21, 2012 - The Huffington Post)

    "Mr. Blue Sky The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra is a powerful testament to Lynne's enduring artistry and his singular desire to get things right once and for all. Featuring such classics as Evil Woman, Don't Bring Me Down, Livin' Thing and Mr. Blue Sky, the result is, in effect, a kind of showdown between Jeff Lynne today and his extremely illustrious past, and thanks to improved technology and recording artistry, Lynne somehow comes out on top again."
    Author Unknown (October 2012 - Rock Music Report website)

    "I heard Mr. Blue Sky playing once, and I thought, 'I thought it was better than that.' But it obviously wasn't, not the way I had always heard it in my head. So I started with that one, to see what it would be like. I played it for my manager and a lot of other people, and they all went, 'Whoa, you should do more.' So I tried Evil Woman, and then I tried Strange Magic. And I thought, 'Just keep going, then.' And I enjoyed doing them."
    Jeff Lynne (November 1, 2012 - Mix online magazine)

    "I played it [the new recording of Mr. Blue Sky] to me manager and he said, 'Wow! That sounds fantastic! Try another one.' I did Evil Woman and Strange Magic as well, right away, after that, 'cause I was so pleased with the way they sounded. And they sounded not dull, they sounded punchy, they sounded... they had lots of clarity and they had focus and presence. And that's what I was after that was missing on the old ones."
    Jeff Lynne (2012 November 30 - The Adam Carolla Show)

    "Now I've had 30 years more experience and technology is 30 years ahead. So I tried doing Mr. Blue Sky again and it sounded so much better. Then I did Evil Woman, Strange Magic, and I ended up doing 17 of them again, but we got it down to 12 for the album."
    Jeff Lynne (December 2012 - Classic Rock magazine)

    "[My daughter Laura Lynne] does the answer phrases on Evil Woman and some others, but apart from that it's just me. Laura's got a great voice, very soulful, but she's not really interested in music after a career.!@# some menues are big while others are not... fix"
    Jeff Lynne (December 2012 - Record Collector magazine)

    "...Craig (Fruin), my manager, said, 'Try another one and see how you get on with that.' I tried another one, which was Evil Woman, and that turned out really well. I played that around to people and asked what they thought, and they agreed it was better. Who'd have thunk it?"
    Jeff Lynne (January 2013 - Goldmine magazine)

    Evil Woman (Bungalow Palace - March 2011)
    "Even as Jeff Lynne is set to issue new solo versions of his greatest hits with the Electric Light Orchestra, he has reunited with former ELO member Richard Tandy. Videos of the pair performing Showdown and Evil Woman have been posted to elo.biz."
    Author Unknown (August 18, 2012 - Something Else! website review)
    Editor's Note: What was posted on elo.biz was an excerpted portion the acoustic Live From Bungalow Palace performances.

    MBSTSOJeff LynneAELO

    This page is intended to be a complete record of information on the Electric Light Orchestra song Evil Woman. If you notice any errors or omissions, please contact me at elofan@juno.com and let me know. I strive for accuracy.

    Robert Porter
    August 2014