Electric Light Orchestra - Prologue [Album Version]Details

ELO's Prologue (and Twilight and part of Hold On Tight) were used as part of the Japanese Anime intro for the DAICON IV convention in 1983.

Cher's 1998 hit song Believe samples in its intro (about 13 seconds into the song) a small portion of keyboard that can be heard on both ELO's Prologue and Epilogue. The sample, which is repeated in both ELO songs, is the water and keyboard sounds that build up before abruptly ending. It can be heard playing behind other keyboards about 20 seconds into Prologue and alone at the very end of Epilogue. Given the cleaner sound of this keyboard in Epilogue, the sample that Cher used for Believe is likely the source of the sample. Credit for the sample is not provided in the song's liner notes. Some have speculated that this may have been a tip of the hat to ELO's use of the vocoder as it is used heavily in both ELO's Prologue and Cher's Believe.

Another song that sampled Prologue is on a 1996 album of various artists performing music inspired by the X-Files TV series. The song in question is titled Borderline by Jean Paul van Engelen and Robert Marselje, in which about a minute and a half into the song can be heard the Prologue vocoder saying "just on the border." This sample can be heard five or six more times during the track, with one time including the complete "just on the border of your waking mind" line.

"Prologue is the only track [on the Time album] set in the 'present' (i.e. 1981), with backward running synths and liquidy sounds perfectly conjuring up the sleeve. The vocoder monologue invites us into Jeff's collection of future scenarios: 'Just on the border of your waking mind, there lies another time...'. The synths provide a suitably portentous backing, peaking with the line: 'I have a message from another time...', which creates an enormous sense of expectation, giving full release in the sheer adrenalin rush of Bev's phased syndrum (sic) intro to Twilight."
Andrew Whiteside (1992 - Face The Music fanzine #13)

"That was a vocoder that did [the vocal bit on Time's Prologue] on a very deep bass note. And it was just me talking over this note. And the vocoder makes... it actually just turns a note into whatever you say. So it's a speaking keyboard, really, yeah."
Jeff Lynne (June 27, 1983 - Rockline)

"It's that Vocoder again."
Jeff Lynne (2001 - Time Remaster)

"The synths may have come in, but in Time, ELO released the proggiest album they had done in years: a science fiction-oriented concept album, whose bombastic opening couplet of Prologue and Twilight would later be sampled by Cher."
Jerry Ewing (April 2016 - Prog magazine)


  • Running Time: 1:16
  • Record Date: March to summer(?) 1981
  • Record Location: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Mack
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (guitar, piano, synthesizer), Bev Bevan (drums, percussion), Richard Tandy (piano, synthesizer, electric piano, guitar), Kelly Groucutt (bass), Rainer Pietsch (orchestra conductor)

  • Released On:
    • Time LP album (1981 July USA Jet FZ 37371)
    • Time LP album (1981 July 31 UK Jet JET LP 236)
    • Time Half Speed Mastered LP album (1981 UK Jet HZ 37371)
    • Time CD album (1987 USA Jet ZK 37371)
    • Time LP album (1988 UK Epic 460212-1)
    • Time CD album (1988 UK Epic 460212-2)Larson Sutton
    • Discovery/Time LP album (1989 UK Epic 465224-1)
    • Discovery/Time CD album (1989 UK Epic 465224-2)
    • Afterglow CD album (1990 June 15 USA Epic Associated Z3K 46090)
    • Time CD album (2001 June 11 UK Epic 5019062)
    • Time CD album (2001 June 12 USA Epic/Legacy EK 85421)
    • Time digital album (2003 UK Epic 5099750190623)
    • Time digital album (2003 USA Epic/Legacy 696998542129)
    • The Collection CD album (2004 November 12 UK Sony/BMG 5099751866527)
    • Discovery/Time CD album (2006 April 10 UK Sony/BMG 88697149622)
    • Eldorado/Time/Secret Messages CD album (2007 September 6 UK Sony/BMG 88697161622)
    • 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)
    • Time digital album (2015 November 13 UK Epic/Legacy 886445594072)
    • Time digital album (2015 November 13 USA Epic/Legacy 886447025260)
    • The Collection digital album (2015 November 27 USA Legacy Recordings 5099751866527)
    • Time LP album (2016 July 1 UK Sony 88985312331)

  • Cover Versions: Jim Davidson on his The Jim Davidson Album album (1985)
  • Used as a Sample in the Songs: Believe by Cher (1998)