Electric Light Orchestra - Confusion [Single/Album Version]Details

Confusion magazine ad"The next song, Confusion, tells emotionally of what is it to be unsure of love. The vocal is strong and bluesy, being supported in a medium tempo with a strong drive behind the symphony."
Unknown (1979 Summer - The Vinyl Edition Volume 2, Number 2)

"After [Shine A Little Love on the Discovery album], the album shift into another gear, as the ELO sound emerges, in Confusion. There's nothing remarkable about their nasal, somewhat high pitched voices. What you do recognize is the instrumental framework and the song structures, replete with triplets and dotted eighth notes as a kind of signature."
Unknown (1979 - from a published Discovery review of unknown origin)

"Besides focussing on the trials and tribulations of various love affairs, Jeff has also covered in his lyrics that Great British topic of conversation - the weather. Generally, it's either been throwing it down with rain or 'the sun beats down on the main street'. These two extremes have come to be the tell-tale for the mood of the lyrics as well. The sunshine has meant couples happy together in Jeff's songs, whilst the rain on the window pane has been the tears in the eyes of the lovers who are miles apart. You only have to look at the lyrics to Mr Blue Sky, Standin' In The Rain, Rain Is Falling, Confusion, So Fine and Sweet Is The Night to see this. They're simple, yet effective."
Neil Frost (1987 - Face The Music fanzine #3)

"To round off the year, in November, Jet released ELO's first double A-side, Confusion/Last Train To London (Jet 166). They excelled themselves with the picture sleeve, utilising US promotional artwork for OOTB [sic] showing a fleet of Shuttles approaching the Spaceship, with the reverse showing a closeup of one of the Shuttles. Wonderful stuff: arguably ELO's finest single sleeve, though one can't help feeling that an opportunity was lost to release a picture disc. This would almost certainly have ensured a higher chart placing than No.8. Still, considering it was the fourth single from a massive selling album, it's not to be sneezed at, and after all, it did have a respectable chart run of ten weeks. A mint copy is worth £3.50 today, and if it's complete with the logo stickers given away free with initial copies as well, it's worth £5."
Andrew Whiteside (1992 - Face The Music fanzine #11)

"According to legend, Confusion was written halfway through a game of snooker played between Jeff and Trevor Francis, then England's most expensive football player (sorry, I just can't seem to stop writing about it!). Just before he was due to take his shot, Jeff got up and said: 'Hang on a minute,' dashed off into another room, wrote down the melody line in three minutes flat, dashed back and went on to win the game, much to Trevor's slack-jawed astonishment! Jeff's initial burst of inspiration held out through the subsequent recording process, as despite the fact that at its heart, Confusion is an Abba-esque bit of slush, there are enough nice touches to keep it afloat, such as Bev's reggae-style rim shots, and a reprise of Richard's 'fairydust' synthwork."
Andrew Whiteside (1992 - Face The Music fanzine #11)

"There was this keyboard called the CS-80. It's the main keyboard sound on the record. Unfortunately, the thing weighed about 2,000 pounds. It was a great machine but a roadie's nightmare."
Jeff Lynne (2000 - Flashback)

"I'd just got hold of the very latest synthesizer, the Yamaha CS-80. This song is based entirely on the sound it made."
Jeff Lynne (2001 - Discovery Remaster)

"...the double a-side Confusion/Last Train To London continued chart success during November [1979]."
Author Unknown (March 31, 2003 - website only expanded liner notes for ELO 2 remaster CD)

"Ready for this? The ELO track Confusion was actually conceived by Lynne during a game of snooker with [Birmingham City Football Club football star] Trevor [Francis]. Honest. I quote TF. 'We were playing snooker together and at the end of the game he disappeared - and I followed - into his studio. There and then he had got the idea for a new track!' How amazing is that? The glamorous worlds of football and showbiz entwined."
Brian Halford (March 25, 2004 - Evening Mail article entitled Mr. Blue Sky's role in the ELO legend; A tantalising glimpse into the showbiz world of Tricky Trev - yours for 50p.)

"Confusion is the best glam-soul pop ballad David Bowie never wrote. "
Andrew Gaerig (October 27, 2005 - Stylus online magazine's On First Listen article)

"...Confusion, which has been crying out for a cover version by a Teenage Fanclub or a Silver Sun for the last 35 years."
Simon Price (2014 September 16 - The Quietus article entitled The Jesus Of Uncool Has Risen: ELO Live)

"The album’s second track, Confusion, was allegedly written by Jeff halfway through a game of snooker with his friend, footballer Trevor Francis. As he was about to take a shot, he went into another room, wrote his ideas down before he could forget them, and returned for the rest of the game— although to this day we do not know who won. [...] Towards the end of the year two more tracks from the album, Confusion and Last Train To London—the latter about ‘the hours and hours we spent on trains going back and forth from Birmingham to London to make records’—were released as a double A-side in Britain and reached No. 8. This set yet another record in making the album the first to generate four top-ten singles, a successful new milestone in spite of the fact that this was the first which the group did not support with a tour."
John Van der Kiste (August 2015 - Jeff Lynne: Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After)

"I might have been joking [when I said I sounded like Helen Shapiro on [Confusion]!"
Jeff Lynne (April 2016 - Uncut)

"Tonally, the VA4s are nicely balanced – when playing Confusion (https://open.spotify.com/track/64s505TlypzXMyRB4Mtk2U) ELO, the high treble synths of the Yamaha CS80 that open the song come across subtly, without any harsh or aggressive edges to them."
Unknown (February 14, 2017 - What Hi-Fi? website)


  • Running Time: 3:42
  • Record Date: March/April 1979
  • Record Location: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Mack
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer), Bev Bevan (drums, percussion), Richard Tandy (grand piano, synthesizer, electric piano, clavinet), Kelly Groucutt (bass, vocals), Louis Clark (orchestra conductor)

  • Released On:
    • Discovery LP album (1979 May 31 — UK — Jet JET LX 500)
    • Discovery LP album (1979 June — USA — Jet FZ 35769)
    • Confusion 7" single (1979 October — USA — Jet/CBS ZS9 5064)
    • Confusion 7" promo single (1979 October — USA — Jet/CBS ZS9 5064)
    • Confusion/Last Train To London 7" single (1979 November 17 — UK — Jet JET 166)
    • Four Light Years LP album (1981 April — UK — Jet JET BX2)
    • A Box Of Their Best LP album (1980 — USA — Jet Z4X 36966)
    • Discovery Half Speed Mastered LP album (1980 — USA — Jet HZ 45769)
    • The Best Of ELO LP album (1981 — UK — Tellydisc TELLY 7)
    • Discovery CD album (1983 — USA — Jet ZK 35769)
    • Discovery LP album (1987 — UK — Epic 450083 1)
    • Discovery/Time LP album (1989 — UK — Epic 465224-1)
    • Discovery/Time CD album (1989 — UK — Epic 465224-2)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1989 — UK — Telstar TCD 2370)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra: 13 Classic Videos VHS videotape (1991 — UK — Telstar TVE 1033)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits Volume Two LP album (1992 — UK — Epic 471956 1)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits Volume Two CD album (1992 — UK — Epic 471956 2)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1994 — UK — Dino DINCD90)
    • Discovery 24KT Gold CD album (1995 — USA — Jet/Epic/Legacy ZK 64646)
    • Strange Magic: The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1995 — USA — Legacy/Epic Associated Z2K 64157)
    • Light Years: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1997 October 1 — UK — Epic 489039 2)
    • Out Of The Blue Tour - Live At Wembley / Discovery VHS videotape (1998 December 8 — USA — Image Entertainment ID4561ER)
    • Out Of The Blue Tour - Live At Wembley / Discovery DVD (1999 January 19 — USA — Image Entertainment ID4562ERDVD)
    • Discovery VHS videotape (1999 April 6 — UK — Eagle Rock ERE057)
    • Out Of The Blue Tour - Live At Wembley / Discovery DVD (2000 June 16 — UK — Eagle Rock Entertainment EREDV 058)
    • Flashback CD album (2000 November 21 — USA — Epic/Legacy E3K 85123)
    • Flashback CD album (2000 December 11 — UK — Epic/Legacy 500931 2)
    • Discovery CD album (2001 June 11 — UK — Epic 5019052)
    • Discovery CD album (2001 June 12 — USA — Epic/Legacy EK 85420)
    • The Ultimate Collection CD album (2001 October 22 — UK — Sony Music STVCD126)
    • Discovery digital album (2003 — UK — Epic 5099750190524)
    • Discovery digital album (2003 — USA — Epic/Legacy 696998542020)
    • Out Of The Blue Tour - Live At Wembley / Discovery DVD (2004 October 5 — USA — Eagle Vision 801213008292)
    • The Collection CD album (2004 November 12 — UK — Sony/BMG 5099751866527)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2005 June 6 — UK — Sony 5201292)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2005 June 6 — UK — Sony 827969448922)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2005 August 2 — USA — Epic/Legacy EK 94489)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2005 August 2 — USA — Epic/Legacy 827969448922)
    • Discovery/Time CD album (2006 April 10 — UK — Sony/BMG 88697149622)
    • The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2006 November 1 — USA — SRI Records 821603643971)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra eco-friendly CD album (2007 February 2 — UK — Sony/BMG 88697046492)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra eco-friendly CD album (2009 March 3 — USA — Sony/BMG 88697 48046 2)
    • Original Album Classics CD album (2010 October 25 — Europe — Sony 886997873423)
    • Flashback CD album (2010 November 8 — UK — Sony Music 88697807792)
    • The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2011 May 30 — UK — Sony 88697920962)
    • The Essential Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2011 October 10 — UK — Epic/Legacy 88698983612)
    • The Essential Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2011 October 10 — UK — Epic/Legacy 886443171084)
    • The Essential Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2011 October 24 — USA — Epic/Legacy 88697977522RE1)
    • The Essential Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2011 October 10 — UK — Epic/Legacy 886443171084)
    • The Classic Albums Collection CD boxed set (2011 November — USA — Epic 8 89978 73262 0)
    • The Classic Albums Collection CD boxed set (2011 November 14 — UK — Epic 8 89978 73262 0)
    • The Classic Albums Collection digital album (2014 June 10 — UK — Epic/Legacy 886444622653)
    • The Classic Albums Collection digital album (2014 June 10 — USA — Epic/Legacy 886444622660)
    • Flashback digital album (2014 June 27 — Worldwide — Sony Music 886444707701)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2014 December 12 — Worldwide — Sony 5099752012923)
    • Out Of The Blue - Live At Wembley Blu-ray album (2015 March 14 — UK — Eagle Rock ERSBD3017)
    • Out Of The Blue - Live At Wembley Blu-ray album (2015 March 14 — USA — Eagle Rock ERSBD3017)
    • Discovery digital album (2015 November 13 — UK — Epic/Legacy 886445594034)
    • Discovery digital album (2015 November 13 — USA — Epic/Legacy 886445594027)
    • The Collection digital album (2015 November 27 — USA — Legacy Recordings 5099751866527)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra LP album (2016 June 10 — Europe — Epic/Legacy 88985312351)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2016 June 10 — Europe — Epic/Legacy 520129 2)
    • Discovery LP album (2016 July 1 — UK — Sony 88985312321)
    • Dicsovery clear vinyl LP album (2016 July 1 — UK — Sony 88985312321) [Barnes & Noble exclusive]

  • Top UK Chart Position: 8
  • Top US Chart Position: 37
  • Cover Versions:
    • Joachim Horn on his Verloren single (1980) (Note: retitled from Confusion to Verloren)
    • Stefan Hallberg on his Verwirrung single (1980) (Note: retitled from Confusion to Verwirrung)
    • Street Power on their Hits On 33 album (1980)
    • Raivo Tammik on the Die Hitorgel mit Raivo Tammik album (1980)
    • OrKestra during live performances from 1987 to 1991
    • King on an album of unknown origin (199?)
    • Electric Light Orchestra Part II on their One Night - Live in Australia album (1997)
    • The Orchestra from live performances (2000s)
    • Electric Live Orchestra during live performances (2000)
    • The Magic Orchestra on their Classic Nights album (2006)
    • The ELO Experience during live performances (2008)

  • Used as a Sample in the Songs:
    • Cheese Special & a Draw by Paul White on the The Strange Dreams of Paul White (2009)