Electric Light Orchestra - Nightrider [Album Version]Details

"Thankfully, the whole thing is rescued by some powerful rockers like Poker and the relentless drive of Nightrider."
Joel Bellman (December 1976 - Trouser Press #17)

"[The] Phil Spectorish sound [that was] formerly brought to Nightrider, but Lynne does just the contrary and pulls back [on Out Of The Blue]."
Owen Gleiberman (November 19, 1977 - The Michigan Daily review of Out Of The Blue)

"Ignoring an obvious hit, the Status Quo (then enjoying their greatest singles successes), piss-take Poker, Jet/Polydor's next ELO release was (arguably) the LP's best track, the powerful and stately Nightrider (Jet 769). It made a strange single, though, and a nameless (but far from blameless) cutting engineer saw fit to butcher the song, hacking about a minute off the track, including part of the intro, and (horror of horrors), fading the last half-minute of the song. With its appeal so severely stunted, the single died the death. The B-side was an unedited live take of Daybreaker. As so few people even realised it was released, Nightrider became ELO's rarest single, and is worth £5 today. Disappointed no doubt by Nightrider's failure to chart, Jet/Polydor decided to release the LP's most commercial option after Evil Woman itself, namely the beautiful acoustic ballad Strange Magic (Jet 779)."
Andrew Whiteside (1988 - Face The Music fanzine #4)

"Superb though Evil Woman was though, there was even better to follow. Nightrider is one of ELO's most powerful and underrated pieces, immaculately arranged, from the plaintive keyboard intro to a glorious quasi-hard-rock chorus, buoyed up by some driving rhythm section work. The second verse also saw Kelly's debut as guest lead vocalist, something he would do every now and again over the years on ELO's LP's. The song had some subtle moments that really make the track, like Richard's guttural Moog underpinning Louis Clark's string arrangement (arguably, along with Mr. Blue Sky, his best post-Eldorado work with ELO), and a gorgeous piano and violin outro that brings the side to an elegant halt."
Andrew Whiteside (Early 1989 - Face The Music fanzine #5)

"...a galloping tip of the titular hat to Lynne's beloved old band..."
Ira Robbins (1990 liner notes for Afterglow)

"I took the high string crescendo from this song and over dubbed it backwards onto Evil Woman where it's prominently featured."
Jeff Lynne (2000 - Flashback)

"The [Face The Music] album achieved gold status in the USA but the follow up single Nightrider, did not chart in the UK and Strange Magic was only a minor hit."
Author Unknown (March 31, 2003 - website only expanded liner notes for ELO 2 remaster CD)

"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)

"The slow-building Nightrider shifts through enough different catchy parts for several songs, but develops none of them into something truly memorable."
Rob Horning (2007 February 16 - On The Third Day, Face The Music and A New World Record reissue review on popmatters.com)

"On Nightrider, Jeff and Kelly knew exactly what they wanted. I was to sing along with Kelly: 'Hold on, Nightrider baby, Hold on your a nightrider...' The rest of the group sang: 'riding the night' and I sang with Kelly: 'ride the night, for what is gone, reach the end'. On the part where he sings 'desolation degradation row, etc.' listen in the background... You hear string, but its also our voices emulating the string parts... I though that was simply genius on Jeff Lynne's part to come up with that. Vocals that emulate string parts..BRILLIANT. At the very end of the tune I came up with a tag part... 'Nightrider Baby'... but Jeff didnt use it. At this point in the session Jeff would just let me sing anything I came up with and he made the decision to use it or not use it when he did the final mix of the record."
Marge Raymond (February 23, 2009 - Facebook message board for an ELO page)

"On Nightrider, Jeff and Kelly knew exactly what they wanted. I was to sing along with Kelly: 'Hold on, Nightrider baby, Hold on your a nightrider'... the rest of the group sang: 'Riding the night' and I sang with Kelly: 'Ride the night, for what is gone, reach the end'. On the part where he sings 'Desolation degradation row', etc... listen in the background, you hear string, but its also our voices emulating the string parts... I thought that was simply genius on Jeff Lynne's part to come up with that. Vocals that emulate string pa+ rts... Brilliant. At the very end of the tune I came up with a tag part, 'Nightrider Baby'... but Jeff didn’t + use it. At this point in the session Jeff would just let me sing anything I came up with and he made the decision to use it or not use it when he did the final mix of the record."
Marge Raymond (August 31, 2009 - ELO Secret Messages blog)

"Another slot on Top Of The Pops for the appearance in March of Nightrider failed to chalk them up another hit."
John Van der Kiste (August 2015 - Jeff Lynne: Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After)


  • Running Time: 4:26
  • 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, vocals), Mik Kaminski (violin), Hugh McDowell (cello), Melvyn Gale (cello), Louis Clark (orchestra conductor), Ellie Greenwich, Susan Collins, Nancy O'Neill, Margaret Raymond (backing vocals)

  • Released On:
    • Face The Music LP album (1975 September — USA — United Artists UL-LA 546-G)
    • Face The Music promo banded LP album (1975 September — USA — United Artists UA-LA546-1-DJ)
    • Face The Music LP album (1975 November — UK — Jet JET LP 11)
    • Face The Music LP album (1976 — UK — Jet/United Artists UAG 30034)
    • Do Ya 7" single (1977 February — USA — UA-XW 939-Y)
    • Do Ya/Nightrider Silver Spotlight Series 7" single (1978 — USA — United Artists US X 1178-Y)
    • Face The Music LP album (1978 — UK — Jet JET LP 201)
    • Three Light Years LP album (1978 December 1 — UK — Jet JET BX1)
    • Face The Music LP album (1978 May — USA — Jet JZ 35527)
    • Face The Music LP album (1980 — USA — Jet PZ 35527)
    • Face The Music LP album (1985 — UK — Epic EPC 32544)
    • Face The Music CD album (1987 November 17 — USA — ZK 35527)
    • Afterglow CD album (1990 June 15 — USA — Epic Associated Z3K 46090)
    • Face The Music CD album (1991 — UK — UK 982648-2)
    • Face The Music 24KT Gold CD album (1995 August 15 — USA — Epic/Legacy ZK 57184)
    • Face The Music Remaster CD album (2006 September 11 — UK — Epic/Legacy 82796942782)
    • Face The Music Remaster digital album (2006 September 11 — UK — Epic/Legacy 827969427828)
    • Face The Music Remaster CD album (2006 September 12 — USA — Legacy EK 94271)
    • Face The Music Remaster digital album (2006 September 12 — USA — Legacy 827969427828)
    • Face The Music/A New World Record CD album (2007 September 17 — UK — Sony/BMG 88697162062)
    • Eldorado/Face The Music CD album (2011 August 29 — USA — Epic 886979304024)
    • Original Album Classics CD album (2010 October 25 — Europe — Sony 886997873423)
    • 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)
    • Face The Music digital album (2015 November 13 — Europe — Epic/Legacy 886445593853)
    • Face The Music digital album (2015 November 13 — USA — Epic/Legacy 886445593884)
    • The Collection digital album (2015 November 27 — USA — Legacy Recordings 5099751866527)
    • Studio Albums 1973 - 1977 CD boxed set (2016 June 10 — UK — Epic 88985324162)
    • Face The Music LP album (2016 July 1 — UK — Sony 88985312341)

  • Top UK Chart Position: - Did not chart
  • Top US Chart Position: N/A
  • Cover Versions: Tufano & Giammarese Band on their The Other Side album (1977)
  • Used as a Sample in the Songs:
    • Araingus (Race the Moon) by Mystik Journeymen on the Black Sands Ov Eternia album (1999)
    • Mess It Up by Quarashi (2003)
    • The Exclusive by Madlib and Guilty Simpson feat. M.E.D. on the Madlib Medicine Show #1: Before the Verdict album (2010)