Electric Light Orchestra - Secret Messages [Edited UK Single Version]Details

This song is edit from the Secret Messages album version, cutting the Secret Messages album intro, beginning at the first guitar part (mixed louder), cutting an instrumental bit following the final chorus, and then fading on the final "secret messages" repeated lyric and ending the fade before the final long "secret" lyric. This version, compared to the Secret Messages album version, starts after the Secret Messages Intro at about the 38 second mark. This version of the song is on the Light Years compilation and is referred to as the "Special version from the LP". There's no explanation as to what that means since this version is obviously not the version that turned up on the regular Secret Messages and is the UK single version instead. This is thought to be a reference to one of the remixes from the famed six sided acetate, or is simply an error as the Light Years collection was meant to have only UK single edits.

There was a special 7" picture disc of Secret Messages in 1983 that had a sticker attached to the clear sleeve advertising a contest to win a "Personal Gold LP Disc". The sticker states: "Contained on this picture disc are 4 clues identifying a line from an ELO song." Entrants had to figure out the line and send it in for prizes. The clues are:

1. Backwards writing on the disc that says "GO TO JETLX 527" referring to the Secret Messages album (by it's UK stock #).
2. A picture of four diamonds referring to the Four Little Diamonds song.
3. More backwards writing on the disc that says "WE SHOUT RAVING NOTES", and...
4. A picture of a jester.
By rearranging the letters in "WE SHOUT RAVING NOTES" and the word "JESTER", one gets the line "there's just no answer to give" from the song Four Little Diamonds. And that's the answer!

"What makes this set [ELO's Greatest Hits Volume Two] interesting is the fact that it contains the remixed single version of Secret Messages, the first time it's ever seen CD release."
Andrew Whiteside (1992 - Face The Music fanzine #13)

"To keep interest alive in the [Secret Messages] album, Jet released the title track in late August (JET A3720). In order to get over the small problem of the lengthy fade-in intro, the first minute or so of the song is edited and the song starts with an added drum burst. To acknowledge the minor remix, the label (with reverts to a standard yellow Jet design, incidentally) bills the track as a "Special version." The picture sleeve depicts the cherub boy sitting atop the canvass [sic] which has the cover art peeping through. The B-side was one of the unreleased tracks from the double LP, the pleasant but lightweight Buildings Have Eyes. There was no 12-inch released this time, but a large number of Dutch 12-inch singles were imported, and these should not prove too hard to find. A standard 7-inch is worth 3.50 today. To make up for the lack of anything else of interest to the collector, Jet released a 7-inch picture disc (Jet WA3720), the first on of the band's career (7-inch, that is!). Yet again, it utilised elements of artwork from the LP's cover, as well as a girl's face, a typewriter, the head of a jester and a boy listening to a can with a piece of string attached to it. Why? Because these consisted of clues to win a gold disc of the album. From the information given on the disc, you had to work out which line from the album it related to. I must confess, it is still beyond me what it was, I wonder if anyone actually won it? I would estimate the picture disc's value as 7-8. Despite the limited edition, the single didn't get any higher than No. 48 though, and it was only in the charts for 3 weeks."
Andrew Whiteside (1993 - Face The Music fanzine #15)


  • Running Time: 3:35
  • Record Date: 1982 or 1983
  • Record Location: Wisselord Studios, Hilversum, Holland
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Bill Bottrell
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, piano, synthesizer, bass*, percussion, Oberheim DMS), Bev Bevan (drums, percussion), Richard Tandy (grand piano, synthesizer, electric piano, Oberheim DSX), Kelly Groucutt* (bass) -- *unconfirmed

  • Released On:
    • Secret Messages 7" single (1983 September 3 UK Jet A 3720)
    • Secret Messages 7" picture disc single (1983 September 3 UK Jet WA 3720)
    • 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)
    • Light Years: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1997 October 1 UK Epic 489039 2)
    • The Ultimate Collection CD album (2001 October 22 UK Sony Music STVCD126)