Electric Light Orchestra - Turn To Stone [Single/Album Version]Details

"There are the pop songs [on Out Of The Blue], songs like Turn To Stone, a reminder that they must have absorbed a lot of different developments within contemporary music over the past decades..."
David Brown (1977 October 28 - Out Of The Blue review from unknown magazine or newspaper)

"Turn To Stone (the current single) is up for [Out Of The Blue] openers. A driving, urgent song, it carries on where New World Record [sic] left off."
Jim Evans (1977 November 5 - Record Mirror review of Out Of The Blue)

"Turn To Stone, after a pleasant enough verse, delivers a dry, overly rhythmic chorus that doesn't do much except pulsate. Not exactly something you'd want to sing along with."
Owen Gleiberman (November 19, 1977 - The Michigan Daily review of Out Of The Blue)

"The first single to be taken from the album. Very up-tempo number and a great rhythm feel. Listen out for the 'operatic' type vocal part in the middle-eight."
Bev Bevan (1977 - Japanese Out Of The Blue LP liner notes (United Artists GXG 25/26))

"The last [video of the set of Out Of The Blue videos] we did was Turn To Stone which was pretty loose [as we were drunk]; it really was. But it didn't really matter. That film won't be used that much except in countries where the single has just been released."
Bev Bevan (April 10, 1978 Good Times #194)

"Tour or no tour, Out Of The Blue continues to sell at a consistent pace, already producing two hit singles: Turn To Stone and the current Sweet Talkin' Woman."
Steve Wosahla (April 10, 1978 Good Times #194)

"Following the trio of Top Tenners prised off ANWR [sic], expectations were high for the next ELO release. In the event, Turn to Stone (JET UP 36313), released in November 1977 as the first single from Out of the Blue proved to be too esoteric for the British record buying public, what with it's DJ-unfriendly fade-in intro and extremely interesting, but not particularly commercial superspeed vocal section, and it stalled at No.18, although it did remain in the charts for a more than respectable 12 weeks. Again. the single was graced with a picture sleeve, a simple affair of the ELO logo on a deep blue background, and a free sticker of the logo was also given away with initial copies. Label design was the regular Jet -'20th Century Fox'- logo, and the B­side was Mr. Kingdom [sic] from Eldorado, which was faded as it led into Nobody's Child. A mint condition copy with sticker is worth £3."
Andrew Whiteside (1990 - Face The Music fanzine #7)
Editor's Note: There was no free sticker with any issues of the Turn To Stone single.

"None of this mattered much to Jeff Lynne though, as he lay holed up in an outrageously expensive chalet in Switzerland, trying frantically to come up with the songs for the proposed masterwork. ELO had now reached the point of their careers where their every move had to be precisely timetabled months in advance, but of course, everything was dependent on Jeff coming up with the goods on schedule . And with just over a week to go to the deadline, he hadn't written a thing! The logjam finally broke one day when Jeff was messing around with a Moog synthesiser, and suddenly a repetitive little riff appeared by magic. It was to become Turn to Stone. and in honour of being the first song to break his writing block, it was chosen as the lead single, and also to open the album, which was of course Out Of The Blue. Turn To Stone ushers in the [Out Of The Blue] LP, and al though it proved too fussy to the record buying public as a first single, in retrospect, it was the ideal choice to open the album. Leading off Richard's bubbling Moog riff, the sudden interruption of Bev's crashing cymbal acts as a kickstart to Jeff's vocals, which dominate the track. Now tolally confident with his abilities as a producer, Jeff dispensed with the back-up singers who had appeared intermittently on ELO's records since ELO 2, and simply used his and Kelly's multi-tracked voices in a classic call-and-respense set-up. The song's most memorable moment comes after the second chorus, with a superspeed vocal section, which defies all attempts at imitation. Indeed, if there one area on OOTB [sic] which is a marked improvement on it's [sic] predecessors, it is the vocals. You could say that it was the album on which Jeff realised he could really sing. For the first time, he is unashamedly at the very front of the mix, and it's a wonder why he was so shy until that point, as the album showcases what a truly musical voice he has, blending seemingly effortlessly with any of the enormous range of musical styles present on OOTB."
Andrew Whiteside (1990 - Face The Music fanzine #7)

"The keyboard parts on Turn To Stone were completely done by Jeff."
Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

"Another Swiss effort, I was really pleased with the chords and the Moog bass line."
Jeff Lynne (2000 - Flashback)

"The first four days, I couldn't get a thing. The fifth day I was playing bass notes on the moog, and out of that came Turn To Stone (no.18, October 1977). I bashed away on a bucket for drums, and punched the microphone for bass drums. "
Jeff Lynne (March 31, 2003 - website only expanded liner notes for ELO 2 remaster CD)

"I was actually in Switzerland and I had a Moog. And I actually worked out that bass riff meself. Y'know, and I played actually it on the record, meself. Normally I'd have Richard play it. But that was the whole basis of the song really, was that riff. That was... That's what drove the song. And the chords were nice."
Jeff Lynne (July 5, 2005 - Face The Music: The Story of the Electric Light Orchestra BBC 2 Radio show)

"Don't go to ELO to hear the darker side of emotional experience. Lynne's voice never sounds anything but chipper, no matter what he's singing ('I turn to stone! When you are gone! I turn to stone!')"
Angela Pancella (July 2005 - Playback St. Louis review of All Over the World: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra)

"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)

"I had a Moog in Switzerland and I worked out that bass riff myself. Normally I would have Richard play it but I'd actually learned it and it got really kind of pretty good and funky going along, so I played it on the record as well. That was the whole basis of the song really, that riff, that's what drove the song and the chords were nice."
Jeff Lynne (February 26, 2007 - Out Of The Blue remaster liner notes)

"...Turn To Stone, Out Of The Blue's lead track and first single. It featured Lynne playing the Moog synthesiser instead of Tandy."
Rob Caiger (February 26, 2007 - Out Of The Blue remaster liner notes)

"Out of the Blue has its share of greatest hits regulars sprinkled across its four vinyl sides: Turn to Stone, Sweet Talkin' Woman, Wild West Hero. "
Rob Mitchum (March 1 2007 - Pitchfork Media Out Of The Blue remaster review)

"The dizzying, layered vocals and whirring strings of Turn To Stone" kick off the proceedings [for the Out Of The Blue album], and an album of 'what the Beatles would have sounded like in the 70's,' as John Lennon himself once said, gets giddily under way."
Jesse De Leon (March 9, 2007 - Corpus Christi Caller-Times's Out Of The Blue remaster review)

"[Songs] such as Turn To Stone, Across The Border, Night In The City and Believe Me Now that still hold up over the decades."
Ron Wynn (March 15, 2007 - Nashville City Paper)

"Just re-released with three nondescript bonus cuts, Out of the Blue includes one big hit, Turn to Stone..."
Wayne Garcia (April 18, 2007 - Creative Loafing Out Of The Blue remaster review)

"The [Out Of The Blue] album's two biggest hits, Turn To Stone and Sweet Talkin' Woman, boast the insanely catchy melodies and punchy rhythms common to the band's singles, which have always been more accessible than their regular album tracks."
Tierney Smith (2007 May 11 - Goldmine (Out Of The Blue reissue review))

"Songwriter and Electric Light Orchestra frontman Jeff Lynne was awarded Million-Air certificates for Turn To Stone, which has earned over one million airplays, and Don't Bring Me Down, for having over two million airplays. BMI's Linda Livingston and Phil Graham presented Lynne the certificates at a recent visit to his studio in Los Angeles."
Unknown (2008 November 4 - BMI website news)

"[Turn To Stone: ] the opening track and first single from the band's double-album opus Out of the Blue, like every single cut on our list of the Top 10 Electric Light Orchestra Songs, comes with a Godzilla-size hook that stomps over everything in its way. The small symphony of strings that pushes its way through the choruses is a bonus blast of awesome."
Michael Gallucci (December 30, 2012 - Ultimate Classic Rock online magazine article 'Top 10 Electric Light Orchestra Songs')

"ELO ruled the 1970s, with multi-platinum albums such as Out Of The Blue, and US and UK Top 20 hits with the likes of Livin' Thing, Sweet Talkin' Woman and Turn To Stone."
Mark Blake (December 2012 - Classic Rock magazine)

"You won't believe this; that's why I say it can be a craft. I had the whole backing track [for Turn To Stone] finished with the whole orchestra on it, had all the strings. I've done all the instruments. Everybody had done all the bits. And I still hadn't got any words. And that's the... the inspiration was trying to get some words for it, basically. And that's how it came about."
Jeff Lynne (September 12, 2014 - The Chris Evans Breakfast Show)

"Still, for those looking for something to connect the dots back to... the anthemic groove of Turn to Stone (on the soaringly gorgeous Lonesome Lullaby), Zoom is perhaps the best ELO album you’ve never heard."
Nick DeRiso (June 13, 2015 - Something Else! website Zoom review)

"Yet the [Out Of The Blue] album opens with Turn To Stone, a beautifully textured track with a beat which prefigures early techno, a quirky Moog bass played by Lynne, and a vocal melody in which each line is answered by tight multi-part harmonies. It became the first of four major hit singles to be drawn from the album."
Johnny Black (July 2015 - Hi-Fi News)

"At the time [autumn 1977], Telephone Line was still in the charts worldwide, most inconsiderately delaying the release of the new track [that] they had chosen as the first single [Turn To Stone]. [...] Kicking off Side One [of Out Of The Blue] was the brisk opener Turn To Stone, featuring Jeff on Moog as well as guitar. [...] As for the album’s singles in Britain, Turn To Stone was the first to be released. It fell short of the top ten by some way, rising no higher than No. 18 in November, and No. 13 in America."
John Van der Kiste (August 2015 - Jeff Lynne: Electric Light Orchestra - Before and After)

"Electric Light Orchestra was huge throughout the ’70s and into the early ’80s, the British band started by Lynne and Roy Wood placing hit after hit on the charts – 15 singles reached the Top 20 in the United States – songs such as Telephone Line, Evil Woman and Turn To Stone becoming radio staples over that time."
Peter Larsen (November 25, 2015 - The Orange County Register)

"AM and FM radio were saturated with ELO hits. Turn to Stone, Sweet Talkin’ Woman, and Rockaria!— an aria... made of rock! You just couldn’t get them out of your head."
Marc Spitz (November 27, 2015 - Salon website)

"Turn to Stone (1977): Turn to Stone is one of my favorites I ever did. It's just so primary and simple, but yet very evocative. I love the shuffle beat. There's a part in the middle where I talk super fast. I just felt like it needed something simple in the middle of the song. I often used to put a funny little piece in a song just in case I get bored with it. I'd go, 'Well, maybe this is going on too long. I'll think of something daff to put in there.' Disco was popular around this time, and I loved it. I loved the strictness of it. It really helped the group because I could really get a good punch going. There's a lot of goodness in disco. I like some punk too. Obviously they were doing it from a place where they meant well, though maybe they didn't quite know how to play properly yet. They were rough and ready, like I was when I started. "
Jeff Lynne (January 21, 2016 - Rolling Stone article entitled: 'ELO's Jeff Lynne: My Life in 15 Songs')

"Turn to Stone - If we learned one thing about Jeff Lynne in the late 70s it was that, relationship-wise, he was a waiter. If dumped while on tour, he’d let that phone ring all night, and when ditched at home he’d sit staring at the wall for weeks like a gargoyle in sunglasses. Such was the sentiment of Turn to Stone, the dazzling opening track and first single from 1977’s double-album behemoth Out of the Blue, galloping in surrounded by Doppler effects like the first chariot race ever to break the sound barrier. Alongside Sweet Talkin’ Woman it marked ELO’s sideways shimmy into the disco era. Its electronic backing choir would become a band trademark, and the track itself became a kind of secret handshake between surreptitious ELO diehards. Let on you’re a fan and expect to be tested on a rendition of Turn to Stone’s tongue-twisting middle eight to prove you’re not what serious Lynneheads call a 'Bobby Blue Sky'."
Mark Beaumont (March 30, 2016 - The Guardian)

"Out Of The Blue was a commercial monster, shipping quadruple platinum and spinning off the hit singles Turn To Stone (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDhJU_cNCZE) and Sweet Talkin’ Woman (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v2r_VnmL6A), as well as the deathless movie-trailer staple Mr. Blue Sky (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjPqsDU0j2I). "
Steven Hyden (April 25, 2017 - Uproxx website)

"The [Out Of The Blue] album's first British single, a British No. 18 hit and the only one not to reach the Top 10, fades in with an exhilirating, busy rush of sound and bubbling Moog riff and crashing cymbals, Lynne's lead vocals have one of the finest moments after the second chorus, with a few seconds of the immortal tongue-twisting phrase, which he always reproduced faithfully in live performances."
John Van der Kiste (July, 2017 - Electric Light Orchestra: Song By Song)

"The hits Turn to Stone and Sweet Talkin' Woman, in particular – were dizzyingly high. [...] 'Turn to Stone is one of my favorites I ever did. It's just so primary and simple, but yet very evocative,' Lynne told Rolling Stone. 'There's a part in the middle where I talk super fast. I just felt like it needed something simple in the middle of the song. I often used to put a funny little piece in a song, just in case I get bored with it. I'd go, Well, maybe this is going on too long. I'll think of something daft to put in there.'"
Nick DeRiso (October 19, 2017 - Ultimate Classic Rock online magazine)


  • Running Time: 3:47
  • Record Date: Summer 1977
  • Record Location: Musicland Studios, Munich, Germany
  • Written By: Jeff Lynne
  • Produced By: Jeff Lynne
  • Engineered By: Mack
  • Performed By: Jeff Lynne (vocals, guitar, synthesizer), Bev Bevan (drums, percussion), Richard Tandy (keyboards), Kelly Groucutt (bass), Mik Kaminski* (violin), Hugh McDowell* (cello), Melvyn Gale* (cello), Louis Clark (orchestra conductor) -- *unconfirmed

  • Released On:
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (1977 October 28 — UK — Jet/United Artists UAR 100)
    • Turn To Stone 7" single (1977 October 29 — UK — Jet JET UP 36313)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (1977 November 5 — USA — Jet/United Artists JT-LA 823-L2)
    • Turn To Stone 7" single (1977 November — USA — Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1099)
    • Turn To Stone 7" promo single (1977 November — USA — Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1099)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (1978 May — UK — Jet JET DP 400) [blue coloured vinyl on 1978 November]
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (1978 May — USA — Jet JET KZ2 35530)
    • Turn To Stone 7" single (1978 May — UK — Jet S JET 103)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits LP album (1979 November — UK — Jet JET LX 525)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits LP album (1979 November — USA — Jet FZ 36310)
    • Four Light Years LP album (1981 April — UK — Jet JET BX2)
    • A Box Of Their Best LP album (1980 — USA — Jet Z4X 36966)
    • Turn To Stone/Sweet Talkin' Woman Golden Oldies 7" single (1980 December — USA — Jet/CBS ZS8 5150)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits LP album (1980 — USA — Jet PZ 36310)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits Half Speed Mastered LP album (1980 — USA — Jet HZ 36310)
    • The Best Of ELO LP album (1981 — UK — Tellydisc TELLY 7)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits CD album (1986 — USA — Jet ZK 36310)
    • Out Of The Blue CD album (1986 — UK — Jet CD 400)
    • Out Of The Blue CD album (1986 — USA — ZGK 35530)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (1987 — UK — Epic 4508851)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits LP album (1988 — UK — Epic 450357 1)
    • ELO's Greatest Hits CD album (1988 — UK — Epic 450357 2)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1989 — UK — Telstar TCD 2370)
    • Afterglow CD album (1990 June 15 — USA — Epic Associated Z3K 46090)
    • Turn To Stone/Sweet Talkin' Woman Collectables 7" single (1991 — USA — Jet/CBS ZS8 5150)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra: 13 Classic Videos VHS videotape (1991 — UK — Telstar TVE 1033)
    • Burning Bright CD album (1992 — USA — Sony Music Special Products A22639)
    • The Very Best Of The Electric Light Orchestra CD album (1994 — UK — Dino DINCD90)
    • 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 CD album (1998 — UK — Epic 450885)
    • Out Of The Blue CD album (2000 — UK — Epic MILLEN3)
    • Flashback CD album (2000 November 21 — USA — Epic/Legacy E3K 85123)
    • Flashback CD album (2000 December 11 — UK — Epic/Legacy 500931 2)
    • Planet Groove: The Huey Session Various Artists CD album (2001 February 5 — USA — Beechwood Music PLANETCD01)
    • The Ultimate Collection CD album (2001 October 22 — UK — Sony Music STVCD126)
    • The Essential Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2003 April 1 — USA — Epic/Legacy EK 89072)
    • 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)
    • The Best Of Electric Light Orchestra digital album (2006 November 1 — USA — SRI Records 821603643971)
    • Out Of The Blue Remaster CD album (2007 February 20 — USA — Epic/Legacy 82796 94272 2)
    • Out Of The Blue Remaster digital album (2007 February 20 — USA — Epic/Legacy 827969427224)
    • Out Of The Blue Remaster CD album (2007 February 26 — UK — Epic 88697053232)
    • Out Of The Blue Remaster digital album (2007 February 26 — UK — Epic 886970532327)
    • Out Of The Blue Carbon Neutral CD album (2007 August 27 — UK — Epic 88697123162)
    • Platinum CD album (2007 October 23 — USA — Sony/BMG MEG2 53449)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra eco-friendly CD album (2007 February 2 — UK — Sony/BMG 88697046492)
    • Playlist: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra CD album (2008 August 19 — USA — Epic/Legacy 88697 29802 2)
    • All Over The World: The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra eco-friendly CD album (2009 March 3 — USA — Sony/BMG 88697 48046 2)
    • The Collection CD album (2009 — UK — Camden 88697480462)
    • 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)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (2012 August 13 — Europe — Music On Vinyl MOVLP383)
    • 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 digital album (2015 November 13 — Europe — Epic/Legacy 886445593945)
    • Out Of The Blue digital album (2015 November 13 — USA — Epic/Legacy 827969427224)
    • The Collection digital album (2015 November 27 — USA — Legacy Recordings 5099751866527)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (2015 December 18 — Worldwide — Epic 88875152421)
    • Out Of The Blue LP album (2016 May 27 — Worldwide — Epic 88875175261)
    • 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)
    • Studio Albums 1973 - 1977 CD boxed set (2016 June 10 — UK — Epic 88985324162)
    • Out Of The Blue LP picture disc album (2017 November 24 — Worldwide — Sony 88985456161)
    • The UK Singles Volume One 1972-1978 7" single box set (2018 September 28 — Worldwide — Epic Records 88985424617)
      [Turn To Stone 7" single (United Artists JET UP 36313)]

  • Top UK Chart Position: 18
  • Top US Chart Position: 13
  • Cover Versions:
    • Jack Livingston Orchestra and Singers on their A Tribute To ELO album (early 1980s)
    • Super Hit Orkan on the 20 Hits Non Stop album (19??)
    • OrKestra during live performances from 1987 to 1991
    • Electric Light Orchestra Part II on their Electric Light Orchestra - Greatest Hits Live album (1992)
    • King on an album of unknown origin (199?)
    • J Church on their Cat Food album (1998)
    • Paul McNulty on the Into The Red tribute album (1999)
    • Roger Klug on the Lynne Me Your Ears tribute album (2001)
    • J Church on their Meaty, Beaty, Shitty Sounding album (2001)
    • The Orchestra from live performances (2000s)
    • Sun Flower Orchestra during a live tribute concert (October 2003)
    • How I Became The Bomb and Kindercastle during a live tribute concert (June 2009)
    • The Magic Orchestra during a live performances (2009)
    • Fragile X on their MySpace page (2010)
    • Noisewaves on the ELO: The Video Game OST album (2014)
    • Explosive Light Orchestra during live performances (2016)

  • Used in the Film or TV Program: Doctor Who episode Love And Monsters (2006)
  • Used in the Advertising Campaign: Shiseidoh Cosmetics TV (1979 — Japan)