Exposing Secrets!

 

Exposing Secrets!


Overview Jeff Lynne's propensity for putting hidden things into his music has a long history throughout his career. Certainly it can be attributed in part to his cheeky nature that he would sneak little things here and there, but his inspiration probably came, in part, from The Beatles. They were known for putting hidden little things in their music, such as the "Paul is dead" story. As Jeff was a big fan of them, he probably noticed this and couldn't help but do things himself.

He began slipping simple, harmless little hidden things into his music (and covers) as early as the Idle Race's first album in 1968. Nearly every project since then has had some hidden little treasure to discover. This culminated in two different instances. The first was in 1974 when Jeff was accused of putting backwards Satanic messages in his song Eldorado on the Eldorado album. This was something that Jeff flatly denied and his response was the rather obvious backwards message on 1975's Fire On High telling them to not waste their time believing such nonsense. This didn't stop Jeff from continuing to put odd little things in for people to discover from time to time. The second culmination was 1983's Secret Messages album which was also in response to the continued accusations. This album was chock full of silly hidden things to discover, some of them fairly obvious and some buried and almost impossible to find.

In addition, some errors slipped into the songs that have been mostly missed by fans and critics. This may include a bad edit or odd mix that was left in for unknown reasons.

This page attempts to lay bare all those little hidden things (with apologies to Jeff!). Each item is addressed, one at a time, evaluated and described. Each item is also given a score of accuracy, from CONFIRMED TRUE to CONFIRMED FALSE and some measures in-between. The scale used is:

CONFIRMED TRUEA true fact, confirmed by an authoritative source (Jeff Lynne, band member, record company, management, etc.)
SURELY TRUEA true fact, based upon observable evidence
MIGHT BE TRUEA true fact, believed to be true, but doubt exists
UNDETERMINEDAn undetermined fact; may or may not be true
MIGHT BE FALSEA false fact, believed to be false, but doubt exists
SURELY FALSEA false fact, based upon observable evidence
CONFIRMED FALSEA false fact, confirmed by an authoritative source (Jeff Lynne, band member, record company, management, etc.)

Sound samples and images are supplied where available.


Audio Secrets

Mr. Crow And Sir Norman by Idle Race
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is the isolated right channel, featuring the conversation between Mr. Crow and Sir Norman.
listenThis is the isolated left channel, featuring the fun, sing-song lyrics by Jeff.
The end of the song features an obscured conversation, theoretically between Mr. Crow and Sir Norman. This conversation plays only in the right channel and is so obscured under the music that it's mostly impossible to hear what is being said. The left channel instead features a fun, sing-song bit by Jeff instead. Thus in stereo, these two conflicting parts give the ending a party type atmosphere.

Turkish Tram Conductor Blues by The Move
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the bit with the "Good shit, Man!" part, followed by a sample from the Take 5 rough mix featuring this "Good shit, Man!" part and additional studio chatter.
This song includes a hidden bit during the saxophone bridge of Jeff Lynne calling out "Good shit, Man!" as if approving of the music being played. There may be other hidden bits that are unheard. On the 2008 Looking On remaster album a version labeled as the take 5 rough mix, this bit can be more clearly heard as well as an extended exchange where Roy says "bring them 'round" after the saxophone solo, then there is an undeciphered exchange between Jeff and Roy where Jeff asks Roy a question, Roy repeats it for clarity, then Jeff says "Yes" in response. [Editor's Note: It sounds to me like Jeff is asking about the "silence".]

Open Up Said The World At The Door by The Move
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the part of the drum solo with the backward part. It's first heard forward, as heard on the original song, then reversed so that the backwards drum part is heard forwards.
This song contains a backwards drum recording. In the middle of the song, Bev plays an extended drum solo. About halfway through the drum solo, the song was edited so that a section of the drum solo is reversed. The bit is mostly seamless, although even a cursory listen will reveal the hidden part.

The Duke Of Edinburgh's Lettuce by The Move
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is first the "swesh" lyric from the original version, followed by another sample taken from the Take 2 rough mix found on the 2008 Looking On remaster.
This is an original hidden bonus track on the 1970 Looking On LP that was attached to the end of Feel Too Good on the original album. As it's uncredited on the album, some people have identified it as a very weird ending to Feel Too Good, however it was always meant to be an extra, hidden track-- a sort of fun, silly way to end the album. Some compilations over the years that included Feel Too Good included this song attached to the end by mistake. The lyrics are very odd, about a man asking to see someone's lettuce. Lettuce is a slang term for a woman's vagina, which sort of fits the lyric ("C'mon, now! Show us your lettuce") but it's unclear if that's how it's meant. The end features the mystery lyric of the singer comparing the lettuce to a "big green SOMETHING" with the mystery word here sounding like "swesh", "squesh" or "squash". Several official sources had confirmed the song's title and status as an individual track from Feel Too Good, although the mystery lyric has never been clarified by any official source. It could just be Roy and Jeff being strange.

Nellie Takes Her Bow by Electric Light Orchestra
UNDETERMINED
listenThis sample is the intro of Nellie Takes Her Bow as heard on the original song (both channels), then the isolated left channel as heard in the song, and then the isolated left channel flipped backwards to (theoretically) hear the cello playing forwards.
The 16 second intro for Nellie Takes Her Bow is a rising synthesizer and cello bit. The recording is exactly the same in both the right and left stereo channels, but they are about a second out of synch, giving it an eerie stereo effect. The cello (and possibly synthesizer) heard is believed to be a backwards recording, however it's difficult to know for sure and some considerable doubt exists about this.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is first the piano section played as heard on the original song, then the isolated back left channel from the quadraphonic mix where the backwards bit can be clearly heard, then finally this back left channel bit played backwards so that the piano playing is heard playing forwards.
There are four rather obvious backwards piano runs in the first and third choruses ("I see the floodlights burning"), heard behind Jeff's singing.

Mr. Radio by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample demonstrates the part heard at the beginning of the song, first with the section heard on the original Mr. Radio, then this same section flipped backwards (so that the Mozart piece is heard forwards), then a sample of the original 1971 recording from which it was taken.
listenThis sample demonstrates the part heard at the end of the original song, first with the section heard on the original Mr. Radio, then this same section flipped backwards (so that the Mozart piece is heard forwards), then a sample of the original 1971 recording from which it was taken.
listenThis sample demonstrates the part heard at the end of the quadraphonic song, first with the section heard on the quadraphonic Mr. Radio, then this same section flipped backwards (so that the classical piece is heard forwards).
There are different recordings of an orchestra sampled at the beginning and end of Mr. Radio that is edited and played backwards. Both are samples of selections from some untitled pieces by Mozart colloquially called the "London Sketchbook" as performed by Sir Neville Marriner & Academy of St. Martin in the Fields in an August 1971 recording at Wembley Town Hall in London. The portion on the beginning of the song is taken from K. 15a-Ss-Devertimento in E Flat-2, K.15dd and the portion at the end is taken from K. 15a-Ss-Divertimento in E Flat-3., K.15cc & 15ff, but both are edited, flipped backwards and mixed into the song. The quadraphonic mix of Mr. Radio used a different classical piece at the song's end, which is as yet unidentified, but probably also one of the Mozart "London Sketchbook" recordings from 1971.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample demonstrates the part heard in the song's bridge, first played forwards, then played backwards, then the isolated back right channel of the quadraphonic mix played backwards where the vocal can be clearly heard.
In the song's bridge, Jeff Lynne sings 'Hello Mr. Radio' with the recording again flipped backward and echo effects added.

Manhattan Rumble (49th Street Massacre) by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is first the original album excerpt, followed by the isolated back-left channel from the quadraphonic mix where it's much more clear.
The middle of the song contains a quick vocal part sung in falsetto and accompanied by piano. As heard on the album, it's practically impossible to hear what the voice is singing. However, thanks to the quadraphonic mix of the The Electric Light Orchestra album released in 2012, it's possible to isolate the singing from the piano and hear the lyric. It's sung by Roy Wood in falsetto, singing the line "Clap hands! 'Cos here comes Charley running up and down the city wall! Clap hands! 'Cos here comes Charley!" The line is lifted, at least lyrically, from the 1925 song Clap Hands! Here Comes Charley!. It's a very strange lyric but it does seem to fit the old-time mood of the song. The actual singer of the line is not certain, as some have claimed it is Jeff singing.

Roll Over Beethoven by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is first part taken from the "Take 1" recording and the second part is taken from the 2006 ELO II remaster CD. Listen very closely for the half a second bit in the second recording.
Surely it was not intentionally done, but Roll Over Beethoven has had an incredibly bad edit in plain sight for many years that was only recently solved. After the final vocal line, a brief blip is heard. With the 2003 release of the "Take 1" version, which included the band's additional (and silly) lyrics, the mystery is solved. In this "Take 1" version, Jeff says "C'mon, Ludwig!". On all the non-"Take 1" releases, a very brief snippet of this "C'mon" line is heard but it is quickly cut out. Obviously a studio engineer wasn't quite fast enough on the knob and left this little bit in which still survives to this day!

Ocean Breakup/King Of The Universe by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the isolated left channel, featuring the Morse code signal. Also included for reference is a Morse signal for "ELO".
The intro (of the Ocean Breakup part) has a high-toned Morse code signal played on keyboard below the synthesizer and strings that is only in the left channel; this Morse code is repeating the code for "ELO" (dot / dot-dash-dot-dot / dash-dash-dash).
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the isolated left channel, featuring the voice hiding behind the lyric.
During the King Of The Universe segment, a voice is heard behind the music. At the 3:05 mark, just as Jeff is singing the third long "Kiiiiiiiing" lyric, a quiet voice can be heard the mix on the left channel that sounds like it's saying "Oh, really?" or "Are you ready?" It's not entirely clear what it says, but it definitely says something there. Perhaps it was Jeff sarcastically replying to himself after stating that he was "king of the universe." Or perhaps it was simply an error.

Bluebird Is Dead by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the guitar solo backwards (as heard on the released recording), then flipped backward so it is heard forwards (as actually played).
The guitar solo in the middle of the song, which is actually quite lengthly, is completely a backwards recording. The solo, running backwards, has a completely different mood than it does running forwards.

Ma-Ma-Ma Belle by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the Ma-Ma-Ma Belle segment forward, then backward, then the section of Dreaming Of 4000 that it's taken from.
The UK single version of Ma-Ma-Ma Belle contains a unique rising string interlude following the second chorus that is not heard on the album version. This short segment is actually lifted from the song Dreaming Of 4000 where it is extracted from that song, flipped backwards, a flange effect is added and it's inserted into Ma-Ma-Ma Belle's UK single mix.

Boy Blue by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the distorted Boy Blue voice, with no enhancement.
There is a strangely altered voice inserted into the beginning of Boy Blue. The distortion is so great that it's become impossible to hear whose voice it is or what it is supposed to be saying. It bears some resemblence to Peter Forbes-Robertson, who spoke the Eldorado intro on Eldorado Overture. [Editor's Note: The voice sounds (to my ears) like it is saying "down through the years, the dream is mine" or similar. This, however, is opinion only and is in no way confirmed.]

Unidentified Eldorado Song by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is of the sections in Nobody's Child where the sound of the closing cases is reported to be heard. First on the song's intro, 15 seconds into the song, a short sound can be heard between the orchestra notes which some have identified as the sound. It is played here twice, first as is, then with enhancement to bring out the very brief sound. The second sample is from the song's bridge, where the authors of Unexpected Messages in 1996 stated "the intent listener is able to hear those 'musicians' slamming their cases and packing their instruments in the middle of Nobody's Child during the piano part." Nothing is currently definitive so it is up to the listener to decide.
During the recording of some string segments for the Eldorado album, some members of the hired British orchestra stopped in mid-performance and put away their instruments and this can be heard on the album. This has been confirmed by Jeff Lynne, who expressed great consternation with the English orchestras during this period. Apparently they were being paid by the hour and their Union rules would not let them play any more than they were being played. Thus, during the actual recording session, just as the hour was up, some members simply stopped their performance. Because of the cost of paying them and the recording was salvageable regardless, this take was kept. It was for this reason that the band stopped using British orchestras and began using the German orchestra at Musicland Studios instead. The actual song where this can be heard has never been definitively identified by someone in authority. However, most people identify it as being in Nobody's Child. Where it is actually heard is debateable. Some people also identify it as being in the song Eldorado and Eldorado Finale.

Eldorado by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED FALSE
listenThis sample simply the contested section of Eldorado, first played forwards as normal, then that same section played backwards. Certainly, if one listens intently for the words it was reported to say when run backwards and stretches the imagination, they can be heard to say what they are supposedly saying. This is, of course, not real.
An as yet unidentified fundamentalist Christian organization in the US had spent a lot of time analyzing rock music in the early 1970s and accused ELO of planting backwards masked Satanic messages in their song Eldorado. During the lyric "Here it comes, another lonely day; Playing the game; I'll sail away, on a voyage of no return to see" was claimed to say something like "He is the nasty one; Christ you're infernal; It is said we're dead men; Everyone who has the mark will live" when played backwards. This has been repeatedly and flatly denied by several members of the band over the years. Jeff has stated that it's hard enough getting the lyrics going forwards and it would be impossible to have it say something meaningful backwards, while saying something else forwards. It is as a result of these very accusations that the band would intentionally plant backwards in their next album, Face The Music, with a rather blatant message to people listening backwards on the album's opening song, Fire On High.

Fire On High by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the backwards vocal section played normally, as heard on the original album, followed by the same section played backward so that the vocal is heard going forward. This sample is actually lifted from the hidden track on the 24KT gold issue of Face The Music.
There is a deliberate and well known backwards message in this song. It was done by the band in response to accusations of accusation of backwards messages put into Eldorado the year before. The message, spoken clearly by drummer Bev Bevan and played backwards is "The music is reversible, but time is not. Turn back! Turn back! Turn back!" The idea was to tell those turning the records backwards to not waste their time. This segment, run forwards, actually got an official release in 1995 on the 24KT gold issue of Face The Music as a hidden track. If one puts the CD in their CD player and hits "play" (so that the song plays normally), then immediately hits the rewind button, then the music will back up to zero and beyond zero into the negative times; once the "beginning" of this negative time is hit (about -34 seconds), then let the player play and the spoken part will play forwards.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the backwards string section as heard in Fire On High, then the same section reversed (so that the strings are heard forwards), then a sample of Evil Woman from where the strings were taken.
Another backwards section in this song, not so obvious, are backwards strings, lifted from the intro of Evil Woman that are flipped and put into the Fire On High intro just after the obvious "music is reversible" bit.

Evil Woman by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is of the string interlude as heard in Evil Woman, then the same section flipped backwards (so that the strings are heard forwards), then the section of Nightrider from which it is taken.
There is a short string interlude heard in the middle of the song. This interlude is actually lifted from another song on the album, Nightrider, only it is flipped backwards and a flange effect is added.

Down Home Town by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the intro as heard on the original song, then flipped backwards so that the backward lyric is clearly heard forwards.
The introduction to Down Home Town features a backwards lyric taken from another song on the album, Waterfall. The line is "face/there's the mighty waterfall" (with the first word frequently debated). This is another rather obvious backwards message, intended to poke fun at those who would accuse the band of putting backwards messages into their music.

Rockaria! by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the intro of the song, including both the "oops" bit and the full opening; included is Jeff singing the lyric in English near the end of the song while the Mary Thomas part is repeated over it.
The very beginning of Rockaria! features Mary Thomas, an opera singer, singing "Aah, fern, wiet'r in die ferne, man hört man hört die Musik" which roughly translates to "far, far away, the music is playing" (which Jeff sings later in English during the song's bridge before the final and ending verse). As is heard on the album, she starts the performance with the opening line, then briefly says "Oops!" as if she messed up, then continues normally. This "oops" bit was not actually how she performed the song, but instead was an edited joke by Jeff Lynne from her practice take. She apparently didn't mind and thought the edit was rather amusing. The UK single and several compilations edit off the "oops" bit.

Mission (A World Record) by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis sample includes the section as heard in the song-- listen for the "Yerffej Ennyl" bit. This is followed by the supposed "electric light" part extracted, flipped backward, and inserted back into the song so it's heard forwards in the track.
The introduction includes a quite curious hidden message that is still partially and undecidedly deciphered in the left channel only. It's a slightly distorted, electronic voice saying "This is [UNCERTAIN BIT] from planet earth." The uncertain bit is actually believed to be one of two different hidden parts. First, it appears to some to be "electric light" (as in Electric Light Orchestra) flipped backwards, such that the message says "This is *Electric Light* following/calling you from planet earth" with the *Electric Light* part extracted and flipped backwards. The second opinion is that it says "Jeffrey Lynne" in a backwards manner-- however, the way it is backwards is not the usual reversal of the tape, but rather spoken normally as it would sound if it the names were pronounced as they are backwards written. In other words, if Jeff's name were Yerffej Ennyl, then pronouncing this as written it could be pronounced as "yerfej" and "enil". Therefore the message says "This is Yerffej Ennyl following/calling you from planet earth." There is some disagreement on which of these two theories is correct and no official source has confirmed it. The final uncertain part is still unknown, but it has been identified by some as either "following" or "calling". Thus, the full hidden message is believed to be "This is [*Electric Light*/Yerffej Ennyl] following/calling you from planet earth." There still remains some doubt whether any of this is actually correct.

So Fine by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis selection is of the So Fine chorus where the stacatto strings are heard, followed by a slowed down version where they can be heard a bit more clearly.
The strings during the chorus of So Fine is believed by some to play Morse code that spells out "ELO". Certainly there is a stacatto string section playing during the chorus, but it is not defined enough to know if it really spells out anything at all.
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis section is the end of So Fine and the beginning of Livin' Thing, demonstrating the merging of the two song through the slowed down strings.
The end of So Fine features dropping strings that were designed to meld with the beginning of Livin' Thing. To create this effect, as the strings were played back to be mixed at the end of So Fine, Jeff Lynne had the engineer cut power to the tape machine so that they strings slowly wound down as the tape playback slowed. The recording of this slowing playback was cut just as the string hit the same note as the opening note of the violin that starts Livin' Thing, thus melding the two songs together.

Livin' Thing by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED FALSE
Somehow, in the 1970s, the rumor started that Livin' Thing was an anti-abortion song. Certainly, if one listens to the lyrics with such a thing in mind, it actually fits rather well with the first verse being the act of sex ("slippin' and slidin', it's magic"), the second verse being the pregnancy ("this is what you conceived") and the third verse being the abortion itself ("so let her go... it's a bad dream") and the "livin' thing" being the baby in question. Jeff Lynne, however, has absolutely denied this is what the song is about, instead it's just about love being the "livin' thing" of the song. It remains uncertain where the idea of an anti-abortion song started, but it was very likely a reviewer making the misinterpretation and the story spreading from there.

It's Over by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the intro as heard on the standard It's Over, then flipped backwards so that the backward section is clearly heard forwards, then the section of Mr. Blue Sky that it is taken from.
The introduction to It's Over is a section of the string section of the coda of Mr. Blue Sky reversed.

Starlight by Electric Light Orchestra
UNDETERMINED
listenThis sample is the section of Starlight with the hidden lyric in two different sections, then played backwards.
There is a low voice saying something that is repeated in the end of Starlight. Some have reported that is says "starlight" backwards, but this remains unconfirmed. Others report that it says forwards "star-ar-light" with a stuttered "ar". Either way, the lyric, although hidden, remains a mystery.

Jungle by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the section of Jungle with the German lyric.
The short segment that starts the bridge in Jungle features the choir singing in German. They sing "Im Dschungel, da tanzen die Tiere herum." In English, this translates roughly as "The animals are dancing around in the jungle" (which, of course, fits the meaning of the song).

Believe Me Now by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the full four-line section of the vocoder voice.
The song Believe Me Now is primarily "sung" by a vocoder voice. It sounds great, but it's difficult to know for sure what it is singing. The vocodor voice sings: Believe me now; I could never say goodbye;Don't leave me now;Believe me now.

Standin' In The Rain by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the intro of Standin' In The Rain with the synthesized voice.
The introduction of Standin' In The Rain features a synthesized voice emulating thunder that says "Concerto for a Rainy Day". This is because obstensibly the intro to Standin' In The Rain is not only the intro to the song, but the third side of the album, which is the aforementioned Concerto For A Rainy Day.
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis selection is of the Standin' In The Rain section where the stacatto strings are heard, followed by a slowed down version where they can be heard a bit more clearly.
The stacatto strings heard near the beginning of the song are believed by some to be Morse code spelling out "ELO"; this string section is not defined well enough to know for sure if it spells out anything in Morse code at all.

Big Wheels by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the speaking vocoder at the beginning of the song. A sample of the ending of Mr. Blue Sky is also included, which repeats the vocoder melody on strings.
The introduction of Big Wheels features a vocoder voice that says "Big wheels, keep turnin'; they turn forever and ever". There is actually some doubt as to whether this should be considered the end of Standin' In The Rain or the beginning of Big Wheels as the songs run together on the original Out Of The Blue album, however, on the latest remaster CD, which was supervised by Jeff Lynne, this vocoder was attached to Big Wheels. Curiously, the melody of the vocoder is repeated on strings near the end of Mr. Blue Sky.

Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is simply the "Please turn me over" ending heard at the end of the song.
The very end of the coda of Mr. Blue Sky features a vocoder voice saying "please turn me over." As it's the last song on the third side of the Out Of The Blue album, it's instructing the listener to turn the record over for side four (which, of course, doesn't apply to modern CD or digital download technology). Despite several instances of official confirmation of what the voice says, doubt continues to persist amongst fans. This may be in part because several vocoder lines earlier in the song say "Mr. Blue Sky" and the ending sounds remarkably similar (with an extra syllable added). Also, the music video for Mr. Blue Sky features text across the screen during this section that says "Mister Blue Sky" (with an additional syllable added to "Sky"). The incorrect lyric fits quite well with the vocodor sound. It's unclear why the music video should have the wrong lyric shown, but it is very likely that whoever put it together understandably misheard the lyric and put the wrong text.

The Whale by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis of the first pair of vocoder lines. Notice how the lines are bounced between the stereo channels.
listenThis is the middle line which is much louder than all the others and is a completely different melody. It's still impossible to know what it says.
listenThis is the final three vocoder lines. Notice how these lines fluctuate between the stereo channels.
This song is a dreamy, synthesizer driven song in which the vocoder again "speaks" some of the lyrics. Unfortunately, with the thick layering of the sounds, it's impossible to determine what the vocoder is saying. There are three main parts for the vocoder. At 1:12 in the song, there are two lines that are spoken and heavily bounced between the stereo channels; it's completely undetermined what it's supposed to be saying and it might even be the same lines repeated. At the 2:15 is a much louder and easier understood vocoder, but it's still undetermined what it's supposed to be saying. [Editor's Note: It has always sounded to me like "here in the whole world the people will die" which is surely incorrect.] Finally, starting at 3:02 are three lines similar to the first that are behind the mix and very difficult to hear; these lines might be all the same line alternating between the stereo channels and might even be a repeat of the lines at 1:12. No official source has ever confirmed what the vocoder is supposed to be saying here.

Birmingham Blues by Electric Light Orchestra
UNDETERMINED
listenThis is the intro to the song, demonstrating the mostly undecipherable shout. It's then played backwards, showing the possible "I messed up!" line.
The beginning of the song features a shout out by Jeff. Opinions about what he is shouting have varied wildly, but the most common claim being that it's "Let's have ya!" The meaning is unclear but some claims are that it has something to do with the Birmingham Blues football team in Jeff Lynne's home town of Birmingham, England. Although the song's lyrics refer to Jeff's longing for a return to Birmingham, he is well known to be a big fan of the football team the the song's title is a double meaning ("Blues" the sports team and "blues" as in sadness). One fan reports hearing, when played backwards, Jeff shouting, "I messed up!". Odd as that may seem, it does sound much like that. Another fan reports hearing Jeff shout "Fuck Saigon!" which, while it seems to fit, is propably not true at all and would not fit something Jeff would do at this time. Yet another fan reports hearing, "Yes I got..." as in "yes, I got the Birmingham blues". And several report hearing "My saga!"
MIGHT BE FALSE
listenHere is the section of Birmingham Blues said to feature Morse code. It's first heard as in the original song, the slightly slowed down to hear the pattern better.
The guitar and strings near just before the guitar bridge of Birmingham Blues are believed by some to spell out "ELO" in Morse code-- first on guitar, then repeated twice more on strings and guitar. However, close examination reveals nothing definitive and it appears more as just a building musical pattern that might resemble Morse code only.

Shine A Little Love by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the Shine A Little Love intro reversed and sped up (so that it's heard correctly), followed by a "Die Blümelein sie schlafen" sample from a recording by Männer-Gesang-Verein Alsdorf - Broicher Siedlung of the same portion. This recording of "Die Blümelein sie schlafen" is not the one sampled in the ELO song, but is merely a close example as the actual recording is currently unknown.
The introduction to Shine A Little Love on the Discovery album features a strange sounding choral piece with odd sound effects throughout. This choral intro has been lifted from a German folk song recording called "Die Blümelein sie schlafen" (translates to "The Little Flowers, They Sleep") written by Johannes Brahms. The actual source of the recording sampled in Shine A Little Love is uncertain, but it is clearly a male choral recording. For Shine A Little Love, a portion of a "Die Blümelein sie schlafen" recording was sampled, some distortion was done to it, various keyboard effects were added over it, and finally the whole recording was slowed and flipped backwards. Because of all the manipulation, it's historically been incredibly difficult to identify. This section is missing from the single version and several compilation releases of the song and may well be considered an introduction to the Discovery album as a whole and not so much an intro to Shine A Little Love.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is a short sample showing the ELO call-out in the song.
During the song's repeated chorus ending, Jeff does several call outs between the main lines. On the fourth one, he sings out "E.L.O." as a not-so-subtle nod to his own band.

Wishing by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE FALSE
listenThis sample demonstrates the last line as actually heard in Wishing, then reversed so the supposed backwards speaking line is heard.
Near the end of Wishing as the main song finishes, it transitions to a final quiet ending. But just as it gets there, Jeff sings a couple of final lines that are blended together. These final lines are not quite clear. [Editor's Note: I've always thought this line was "hold on tonight" but that's very probably not correct.] However, it has been described as actually being a backwards message-- when run backwards (so that the line is heard forwards) it's reported to say "I wish my wife was not away." That's certainly what it sounds like and would fit the song perfectly as at the time of the recording, Jeff's new wife Sandi Lynne, was not with him in the Musicland studios. Perhaps Jeff was trying to hide a message to his wife in the song. Regardless of its accuracy or not, Jeff has stated on several occasions that he does not have the skill to sing something forwards and have it say something else entirely when played backwards. So either this is not really a backwards message or Jeff is more clever than he is admitting. One fan reports hearing a simple, unaltered lyric of "hold on to love".

Don't Bring Me Down by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the door slamming noise, with enhancement on the door slam so it can be heard clearly.
At the song's end is a sound that many have had difficulty identifying over the years. It is confirmed to be a fire door that is slammed at Musicland studios in Germany. It is uncertain why the slamming door part was included, but it likely was intended just as an amusing ending to the song and/or the Discovery album, as if the band were finished playing and were immediately leaving the building.

I'm Alive by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY FALSE
listenThis sample demonstrates the sounds on the intro that may be Morse code. The first part is the section as heard on the song, then slowed down so that the sounds can be easily interpreted. Finally, for good measure, a Morse of "ELO" is attached to the end.
The introduction and fade-out to I'm Alive have been purported to contain a Morse code message that spells out "ELO". Closer examination, however, does not bear that out. Certainly there is a high pitched, erratic beeping noise that sounds like Morse code over the intro, but if it is supposed to be Morse code, it certainly does not spell "ELO". The section heard on the introduction, although erratic and stacatto, like Morse code, actually changes frequency (unlike Morse code) and appears to be just random.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the sound heard on the fade out, with the ending fade volume increased to allow it to be more easily heard. The first part is the fade as heard on the song (with the volume increase), then slowed down considerably. In the first part (normal speed), the "X" can easily be heard playing on the descending notes. The "ANADU" section can be heard in the second, slowed-down segment with the "N" being a little sloppy so it's not so clear.
The Morse code section heard on the fade-out is perhaps more interesting. It does not change frequency, and appears to actually spell out "XANADU" (not "ELO" as often reported). It's rather cleverly hidden. The stacatto notes spell out "ANADU" (no "X"); this pattern is (dot-dash (A), dash-dot (N), dot-dash (A), dash-dot-dot (D), dot-dot-dash (U)). Upon closer examination, the "N" sounds more like an "A" and the "dot-dot" in the "D" is rather subtle, however it is believed that any variation is simply because the person playing the code (Jeff or Richard) didn't quite have the pattern down perfectly. The "X" is layed over all this in a different keyboard. "X" in Morse code is dash-dot-dot-dash. It is played in a longer keyboard with descending notes.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the section heard in the final keyboard bridge. The first part is the "X" (dash-dot-dot-dash) played on the prominently heard keyboard. The second part is the "ANADU" pattern played very quickly (dot-dash (A), dash-dot (N), dot-dash (A), dash-dot-dot (D), dot-dot-dash (U)), followed by this same section slowed down and each letter separated so they can be easily heard.
There is another hidden Morse code spelling out "XANADU" on the final keyboard bridge, just before the song's end. Similar to the fade-out, one keyboard plays the "X" at a slower speed while another keyboard underneath this plays the faster "ANADU" part.

All Over The World by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY FALSE
listenThis sample shows the song's intro and outro. It's interesting to note that they appear to be the same recording as at the end of the intro, Jeff can be heard saying "Oh baby!" then doing the count-in; and on the end of the fade-out of the song's outro, the "Oh baby!" should can be heard again, as if he's about to start the count-in again.
The crowd noise on the song's beginning and end reportedly have the band making lewd comments about Olivia Newton-John. It's unsure where this story originated, but it's never been corroborated and listening to the song, it's impossible to make out any noises at all. This story might have originated from a sarcastic joke during an interview and there is no truth to the story.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the vocal bridge for All Over The World where Jeff calls out various famous international cities, ending with his home town area of Shard End. Cities called out in order are London, Hamburg, Paris, Rome, Rio, Hong Kong, Tokyo, L.A., New York, Amsterdam Monte Carlo, Shard End and... This is a bridge to say that the part is in all these cities... Shard End... and all over the world.
In the song's vocal bridge, Jeff sings the names of various famous cities all over the world. The last city named is Shard End, which is not a famous city at all, but rather an area in Birmingham, England where Jeff Lynne was raised. It also oddly ends as "Shard End and..." as if Jeff were going to name another city but he never does.

Xanadu by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample the line in question: the first is the normal backing vocal line from the end of verse 2, the second is the broken up backing vocal line from the end of the verse 4, and the third is an edit to remove the gaps from the broken up backing vocal line (which may sound odd as it throws the beat off).
The backing vocal line at the end of the fourth verse is curious and has been often misidentified. The original album liner notes do not list the backing vocal lines and it is identified on many Internet sites as "The dreamer in you, will make it happen for you". It is, in fact, the line "The dream in you, they offer you" with some special effects added to break up the vocal line, therefore it sounds like "The dre-eam in you-ou, the-ey o-offer you-ou".

Yours Truly 2095 by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the line in question, as heard on the album, then the whole section flipped backwards so it is heard forwards.
Just before the proper start of the song, a quiet voice is heard that is a backwards line. The line is borrowed from the main bridge of another song on the Time album, 21st Century Man and is "though you ride on the wheels of tomorrow, you still wonder the fields of your sorrow." Various effects are added to the line and it is flipped backwards before Yours Truly 2095 on the album. Although it is typically tracked at the beginning of Yours Truly 2095 on the Time album, it is not really an intro to the song or an ending to the previous song, Twilight, but actually just a between-song bit for the album. Also, this same backwards bit is repeated near the end of the Time album, between 21st Century Man and Hold On Tight. They are the exact same recording, but placed differently within the songs. Whether by accident or by design, on the cassette versions of the Time album (at least the US edition), this part on Yours Truly 2095 is on the exact flipside of the tape as the same part on 21st Century Man.
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis sample is the mystery vocal line in the middle of each verse.
In the middle of each verse is a heavily reverbed voice that is slowly singing something. The words remain unknown at this time. In the first sequence, Jeff can even be heard saying "can you hear me" over it.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the "Twenty Ninety Five" vocoder part repeated after the first chorus.
A vocoder is heard at the beginning and after the first chorus of Yours Truly 2095 that repeats the year from the title of the song many times. It says "Twenty Ninety Five" (as opposed to "Two Thousand Ninety Five") and is the only time that the year in the song's title is stated during the song.

Rain Is Falling by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the intro of the song with the "rain, rain, go away, come again another day" synthesizer voice, followed by the same sequence as heard at the end of the song.
listenThis sample demonstrates the two synthesizers heard after each chorus saying "rain is falling, rain is falling" and "it's raining, it's pouring, [the] old man is snoring" respectively.
Several different synthesizers are used throughout this song. First off, just on the intro, a synthesizer speaks the English nursery rhyme "rain, rain, go away, come again another day"; this is repeated at the song's end as well. At the end of the choruses, two different synthesizers speak: the first is a electronic voice (similar to the one heard in the Out Of The Blue era) saying "rain is falling, rain is falling" and this is quickly followed by a different synthesizer speaking another rain related English nursery rhyme with the lines "it's raining, it's pouring, [the] old man is snoring."

Here Is The News by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of first chorus where the announcer is fairly clear.
listenThis sample is of second chorus where only some of the announcers are clear, but much is hidden in the mix.
listenThis sample is of third chorus where only some of the announcers are clear, but much is hidden in the mix.
listenThis sample is of the song's ending where some announcers are heard, but it is impossible to understand any of it.
Hidden in plain sight in Here Is The News are several newscaster announcements during the song's chorus. The announcers include an unnamed American announcer hired by the band to get an official American sound as well as the band themselves. The announcements in the first chorus are by the American announcer only and are fairly easy to hear. However, for the second and third choruses, the announcements are layered several layers deep, making it difficult, if not impossible, to discern all of them. The announcer on the first chorus states: "Space workers dispute in London today; A lightning strike by air shuttle officers led to over 2,000 passengers being held up for up to 10 hours to board flights; Ten Euro technicians were today sentenced by the justice computer to be banished for life to the prison satellite penal one." The second chorus has much more going on and only snippets of announcement are in the mix; not all of them can be heard, but what can be heard is: "Shares of Roboko development's now claiming to be... a very great friend of mine... our regular scheduled programs... at the world's end... the latest report from the people down there... only a tiny little detail... I'd like to say hello to everybody." The third chorus has about as much going on as the second chorus and only snippets of announcement are in the mix; what can be heard is: "The energy counsel today announced... the Archbishop is waving to the crowds... the world broadcasting authority today announced that travel to... I think that's going to be alright, we'll have to wait and see; I'll call you back later." The repeated ending and fade-out also feature announcements, but it is pushed so far down in the mix that it's impossible to discern anything out of it.

21st Century Man by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the line in question, as heard on the album, then the whole section flipped backwards so it is heard forwards.
At the end of the song after the song proper fully fades, a quiet voice is heard that is a backwards line. The line is borrowed from the main bridge of 21st Century Man and is "though you ride on the wheels of tomorrow, you still wonder the fields of your sorrow." Various effects are added to the line and it is flipped backwards. Although it is typically tracked at the end of 21st Century Man on the Time album, it is not really an ending for the song or an intro to the next song, Hold On Tight, but actually just a between-song bit for the album. Also, this same backwards bit is repeated near the beginning of the Time album, between Twilight and Yours Truly 2095. They are the exact same recording, but placed differently within the songs. Whether by accident or by design, on the cassette versions of the Time album (at least the US edition), this part on Yours Truly 2095 is on the exact flipside of the tape as the same part on 21st Century Man.

Hold On Tight by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the full French language chorus in Hold On Tight.
Also hidden in plain sight are the French lyrics for the third verse in Hold On Tight. The line is basically a direct translation of the first verse from English to French. The original Time album's liner notes credits this as "Accroches-toi a ton rêve, Accroches-toi a ton rêve, Quand tu vois ton bateau partir, Quand tu sents ton cocur se briser, Accroches-toi a ton rêve". At it turns out, Jeff and his family had a home in France at the time, which is where his daughters were living with their mother. At the time, Jeff was in Musicland Studios in Germany recording the song, and apparently called up the girls' nanny in France to get the translation. The French lyrics, credited to Ghislaine (probably the nanny), are not a 100% true translation, although they are very close. Translating the French lyrics back to English, they are: "You hang on to your dream; You hang on to your dream; When you see your ship is parting; When you feel your heart is breaking".

Epilogue by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample the short segment of Epilogue with the obscured spoken lines.
The ending of Time's Epilogue features a mysterious lyric. After the reprise of a "though you ride on the wheels of tomorrow, you still wander the fields of your sorrow" line, Jeff speaks (rather than sings) a couple of lines that are often misunderstood because they are vague and difficult to hear over the music. The line in question sounds like (but is not confirmed as) "let me rise from this day forward, may the world still remember." There has been a lot of variation in how this line is interpreted and when asked directly about the line in a 2001 interview, Jeff claimed not to remember what it was supposed to say. The last word in particular (thought to be "remember") is particularly hard to hear because it is hidden underneath a loud crescendo in the music. It seems peculiar that Jeff should obscure the line so much as it is the final closing line of the album-- a line that one would think would deliver the final meaning to the album. But perhaps it was also done intentionally, to obscure the meaning of an album to which the theme is only loosely cohesive anyway.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample the very end of the Epilogue with the backwards parts as heard on the album, then the same segment in reverse so that the backwards segment is heard forwards.
The very end of the song and the very end of the album features a backwards running water sound effect, building to a backwards keyboard effect that abruptly ends. This backwards water effect somewhat mirrors the Time album's prologue, where the water effect is heard running forwards.

Secret Messages by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the whispered words saying "secret" on the song's intro, first as heard in the song, then flipped backwards so it's heard forwards.
The song Secret Messages contains, not surprisingly, several secret messages. All of them are in the beginning, part of which is ostensibly the Secret Messages album intro. The first is the word "secret" repeated many times (along with other things that cannot be heard) and flipped backwards in the song.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the "welcome to the show/and again" segment, first as heard in the song, then flipped backwards so the "and again" part can be clearly heard.
listenThis sample is a bit of fun, combining the intro to Secret Messages and the outro to Rock 'n' Roll Is King, showing that they are the same. This is a stereo track with Secret Messages isolated in the left channel while Rock 'n' Roll Is King is flipped backwards and isolated in the right channel. They play simultaneously, but slightly out of synch to demonstrate that they are the same.
Another hidden part is where a backwards voice is heard, then a voice whispers "and again" and this backwards voice is repeated. The backwards part is saying "welcome to the show", so altogether it is "wohs eht ot emoclew - and again - wohs eht ot emoclew". This whole beginning section is flipped backwards at the end of the original Secret Messages album, tagged on to the end of Rock 'n' Roll Is King, which also means that the where the "welcome to the show" is forwards and "and again" is backwards.
SURELY FALSE
listenThis sample is the keyboard pattern near the beginning of Secret Messages that is reported to feature Morse code. First it is heard as on the album, then slowed down to be more clearly heard.
Another hidden message is supposedly Morse code heard on a stacatto keyboard just as the Secret Messages song proper starts. Many have reported this as "ELO" however, closer examination proves that it is not "ELO" but a much more complicated pattern. In trying to review the pattern, it now appears to not be Morse code at all as the pattern of notes shows no distinguishing between dots and dashes and some of the supposed "letters" having eight and nine elements, which is impossible in Morse code. It is now believed to be nothing at all, perhaps placed in the song to simply befuddle those looking for a pattern. This stacatto pattern is also repeated at the song's end and into the next song on the album, Loser Gone Wild.

Time After Time by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the "listen to the music" section first as heard on the album, then reversed so it's heard forwards.
There are several hidden messages in Time After Time, some of them obvious and others not so much. First off, on the song's intro, deep below the keyboard is a backwards playback of Jeff saying "listen to the music" a couple of times. This can be very difficult to hear.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the "Hep! Two! Three! Four!" segment first as heard on the album, then reversed so that the backwards parts are heard forwards.
On the song's bridge, Jeff sings "One! Two! Three! Four!" (and some people say he said "Hep!" instead of "One!", which may be true-- it's difficult to tell). He first sings it forward, then it's repeated backwards, then forwards again and backwards again.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is high speed distorted voice as heard on the album, then reversed so it's heard forwards, then finally slowed down so that the phrases can be more clearly heard (although it remains difficult).
Near the end of the song, just after the string break and before it goes into the final verse, a high-speed voice is heard. This voice, saying simply "time after time", is sped up, heavily distorted and reversed. The speed distortion appears to have been accomplished by varying the speed as it plays
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the final chorus with Sandi Lynne's backwards lines, first as heard on the album, then reversed so the lines are heard forwards.
The final hidden message is a backward recording of Jeff and Sandi Lynne (Jeff's then wife) singing "time after time" several times on the song's final chorus, before the repeated ending. Both Jeff's lead vocal and Sandi's repeating backing vocal are backwards in this part, both blending remarkably well.

Stranger by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is the "you're playing me backwards" intro, first as heard on the album, then reversed so it's heard forwards, then slowed down so the voice is clearly heard.
Hidden within the introduction of Stranger is a backwards message that is simply Jeff saying "you're playing me backwards". The message is not only backwards, but also sped up.

Danger Ahead by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the "plant a tree" lin and is in four parts, the first is the the part run as heard on the album (with the backwards speaking), the second is this part reversed (with forwards speaking), the third is this second part with the left channel isolated, then finally the fourth part is the third part with some enhancement to boost the "tree" part which is quite hard to hear otherwise.
The song Danger Ahead features two backwards messages, one rather obvious and the other, not so much. At the intro to the song that is a voice only in the left channel saying "plant a tree". The voice is heavily distorted and buried deep in the mix.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the backwards line in the chorus.
The second, more obvious backwards message is simply Jeff singing a line of the chorus and reversing it in the song.

Train Of Gold by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis sample the hidden voice in Train Of Gold. It's so fast in the song that the sample includes three segments: first is a section of the chorus with the voice with enough information to place it in the song, then again with just the short sample of the voice, then the same sample slowed down so that the voice can be heard more clearly (although it's still difficult).
In the chorus of Train Of Gold is an odd squeaking sound, that is actually someone (perhaps Jeff) saying "train of gold" and heavily distorting the sound by twisting the knobs on playback and speeding it up. [Editor's Note: For years I thought this was an odd scraping of something across the string of a stringed instrument (e.g. guitar, violin, etc.) until I finally looked closer only recently.]

Rock 'n' Roll Is King by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the "thank you for listening" line, first heard backwards as on the album, then flipped backwards so that the voice is clearly heard forwards.
On the quiet intro to Rock 'n' Roll Is King (more properly, a Secret Messages between song interlude between Train Of Gold and Rock 'n' Roll Is King, but tracked on Rock 'n' Roll Is King on all releases) is a simple backwards line by Jeff that, when heard forwards, simply says "thank you for listening".
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the whispered "secret messages" at the song's end, first heard backwards as on the album, then flipped backwards so that the voice is clearly heard forwards.
listenThis sample is the "welcome to the show" bit, first as originally heard on the album, then flipped backwards so that the whispering voice saying "and again" is clearly heard forwards.
listenThis sample is a bit of fun, combining the intro to Secret Messages and the outro to Rock 'n' Roll Is King, showing that they are the same. This is a stereo track with Secret Messages isolated in the left channel while Rock 'n' Roll Is King is flipped backwards and isolated in the right channel. They play simultaneously, but slightly out of synch to demonstrate that they are the same.
At the end of the song (or perhaps more properly, the end of the Secret Messages album but tracked on Rock 'n' Roll Is King) is the reversed intro from Secret Messages that features several backwards messages. First, the whispered voice simply says "secret messages" backwards during the guitar fade-out. And there is another segment that features a voice saying "welcome to the show", then a backwards line, and "welcome to the show". The backwards line is "and again" and is, of course a reverse of what's heard at the album's beginning.

Buildings Have Eyes by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the fade-out, with the volume increased so the synthesizer can be heard. It's still quite difficult to hear as it's such a quiet and low frequency. In this sample, it plays starting between the 3 and 4 second mark, then again between the 7 and 8 mark.
During the fade-out of Buildings Have Eyes, a repeating very low pitch synthesizer repeats "funny money" several times.

No Way Out by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE TRUE
listenThis sample is the section with the mystery voice.
Just at the beginning of the second chorus, there is a mysterious bass vocal, probably Bev Bevan, saying "I'm walking." The phrase is likely in reference to the song's theme of wanting to get out of a relationship.

Hello My Old Friend by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the first instance of the "'spatch and mail" call.
This song, originally meant to be the closer of the original double Secret Messages album, is chock full of hidden things. First off, after the first vocal bridge (ending "...here I could stand for hours and hours"), someone (probably Jeff) can be heard calling out "'spatch and mail" twice, in reference to old calls for newspapers for sale in Birmingham.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is taken from the section before the breakdown and is the "backwards messages can be fun/funny" line, first as heard on the original song, then reversed so that the message is heard forwards.
Just before the long breakdown in the middle of the song, Jeff can be heard mumbling a backwards message that says "backwards messages can be fun" (or perhaps "...can be funny").
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the long breakdown section with a myriad of unidentified messages in it. The Frère Jacques performance can be heard as well as what is believed to be birdsong.
During the long breakdown, there are a great deal of hidden voices heard, but they are so jumbled that very few of them are particularly clear; what is heard is what sounds like a children's choir singing the French nursery song, Frère Jacques (a theme that is repeated later in the song) and what sounds like birdsong but may actually be some hidden message.
CONFIRMED TRUE
listenThis sample is the second instance of the "'spatch and mail" call.
After the second vocal bridge, the shouting out of "'spatch and mail" is again repeated twice.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is taken from near the end of the song and is the children's choir singing the Frère Jacques song.
Fifth, during the song's repeated ending, there is a lot going on, however one section that is quite clear is the children's choir singing the first two lines of Frère Jacques; they might be singing the rest of the lines, but if so, it's lost under other noises.
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is taken from the end of the song and is the backwards and distorted Frère Jacques song; first is the section as heard in the original song, which just sounds like a tape run at high speed (which it is), followed by this section reversed and slowed down. The Frère Jacques performance can be heard in the second, slowed down part, however it is clear that the tape speed was sped up and slowed down during the performance, further distorting it.
Later during the repeated ending, a high speed section is heard; this section is actually a backward, sped up, altered frequency recording of the children's choir singing Frère Jacques again. There may be much more in this song as there are a lot of odd, interesting sounds that may hide something that has yet been identified. Note that this song, originally meant to be the album closer, would have also had the album closing material that eventually ended up on the song Rock 'n' Roll Is King.

Beatles Forever by Electric Light Orchestra
Due to the sensitive nature of Beatles Forever, it is not being reviewed at this time. It is known to contain several reversed and hidden lyrics.

Breaking Out by Dave Edmunds
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the section with the two hidden sections as heard on the original song, then again with processing to suppress the music and enhance the spoken part so it is better heard.
Near the end of the song, during the instrumental part before the repeated ending, a voice (possibly Dave Edmunds himself) can be heard beneath the music asking "Can/Would you go back again?" (it's not entirely clear). It's heard twice, first in the right channel, then again in the left channel.

S.O.S. by Dave Edmunds
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is of the introduction, where the four repeated "SOS" sections are heard.
Perhaps quite naturally, the introduction to the song S.O.S. features a Morse code "SOS" behind the music (dot-dot-dot dash-dash-dash dot-dot-dot). It is heard repeated four times during the introduction.

It's Still Going, You Know by Jeff Lynne
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the whole ending from the original CD.
Surely as a bit of fun, Jeff added a hidden bit (not really a song) to the end of his 1990 Armchair Theatre album. After the last song on the album, Save Me Now, there is a pause, followed by the sound of synthesizer and sea birds, then another long pause and finally Jeff quietly saying, "It's still going, you know", and finally the sound of tinkling bells. The idea is such that someone might hear the long pauses and think the album is over, only to hear these hidden bits with Jeff telling the listener that the album is still playing. On the LP version, the bells are on the end of the runout groove such that if the record arm does not automatically pick up, then the bells would continue endlessly as the needle constantly skipped back a groove from hitting the inner edge. On the 2013 Armchair Theatre remaster, this bit is attached to the end of the album's bonus track, Forecast, rather than Save Me Now because that song is the new ending for the album. The LP version of the remaster does not include the clicks or the trick on the runout groove.

Christmas All Over Again by Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is the fading end where Jeff's reponse is heard.
At the end of the song, Tom Petty is citing a list of things he wants Santa to bring him for Christmas when a familiar voice pops up. Tom says that he wants "a Chuck Berry songbook" when Jeff Lynne can be heard responding, "I'll have one of them."

Free As A Bird by The Beatles
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is the end of Free As A Bird with the backwards bit, first as heard on the original song (where it sounds line "made by John Lennon", then reversed so that it's the "it turned out nice again" line is heard forwards.
In the long tradition of hiding interesting things in Beatles' songs, the newly created song from the John Lennon demo, contained an interesting and bittersweet message at the end of the song. An old recording of John Lennon simply saying "It turned out nice again" (ukulele player George Formby's signature line) is flipped backwards and inserted at the end of the song. What's remarkable is that played backwards, the line actually sounds like it says "made by John Lennon". Although in interviews, the surviving Beatles state that they clearly put this backwards message in there, no record is known of them stating that this was intentionally supposed to say anything when played backwards. This somewhat contradicts Jeff Lynne's statement that getting something played backwards to say something else is impossible as it appears it was handily done in this case.

In My Own Time by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis sample is the portion of In My Own Time's bridge, with the mystery Spanish language party by Rosie Vela.
Over the course of the song's bridge, Rosie Vela (as the naughty tap-dancing Spanish lady) speaks some lines in Spanish. It's not entirely clear what she is saying, but the last few lines can be made out as "Y la biblioteca, ¿donde está?" In English, that translates as "And the library, where is it?" What is this supposed to mean? It's a mystery. It's likely Jeff just being cheeky again.

Easy Money by Electric Light Orchestra
SURELY TRUE
listenThis is a sample just before the song's guitar solo with Jeff's "Take it Jeff!" shout out.
As a bit of a joke, just before the guitar solo break, Jeff Lynne says "Take it, Jeff" as if he is telling himself to do the guitar solo. Perhaps this is Jeff's way of teasing himself since he did all parts of the song, except for the drums (which were done by Ringo Starr).

Cover Secrets

Birthday Party by Idle Race
CONFIRMED TRUE
Jeff Lynne at age 8The Idle Race's first album Birthday Party was packaged as if it were an invitation for the listener to a birthday party. The front cover of the gatefold album sleeve features an oversized formal invitation card with the band members gathered around, as if presenting the invitation. More interesting is the inner sleeve, which depicts a large group of men gathered around tables at a party, with each of the faces replaced by a cut-and-paste face of various notable personalities, most all from the music business. Faces include (but are not limited to) many BBC radio DJs, members of The Move, members of The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Hank Marvin, Tommy Steele, Oliver Hardy, Little Richard, Cliff Richard, Bill Haley and, of course, members of The Idle Race. In particular, although Jeff is included in the picture as a member of the band (between bandmates Dave Pritchard and Gregg Masters), he is also included as an 8 year old boy (between BBC DJs Jimmy Young and Tony Blackburn). The back of the LP sleeve gives a legend to identify the various personalities. A very nice set of images that detail the various personalities on the cover are available at the Balduin Wordpress site.

ELO 2 by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
ELO 2 Gatefold SleeveThe original worldwide (except for USA and Canada) cover for the Electric Light Orchestra's second album, called ELO 2 in the UK, features a rather bawdy image that is hidden in plain sight. The album sleeve is a gatefold sleeve and features a painting of a scene in outer space with a small spaceship labeled "ELO 2" floating about. When the gatefold sleeve is opened and the outer sleeve is seen in its full glory, the comets, nebulae and other space phenomena combine to reveal a giant human crotch facing the viewer. For those that have found the image, there is disagreement over whether the crotch is female (and the center is a vagina) or male (and the center is an anus). The inside cover shows the band from the waist up and all shirtless (with the implication that they are naked) in front of an alien planet mountain range; this may tie into the crotch image of the outside, but it's unclear how it would do this. This cover was designed by Hipgnosis, famous for many rock artist album cover designs over the years, including Pink Floyd's Dark Side Of The Moon. It is speculation that perhaps United Artists in USA recognized the cover for what it represented and made the decision that this could be offensive and changed their cover to a benign light bulb floating over the mountain tops image.

On The Third Day by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
The fictional Ted BlightDuring the recording of ELO's third album, On The Third Day, cellist Mike Edwards provided cello for all the recordings with Colin Walker for a few tracks only before leaving the band. Thus when the album was being prepared for release in the UK, the band was a member short for the album credits! As a joke, they listed a fictional additional cellist named Ted Blight in the album's credits. They also included an intentionally fuzzy picture of this fictional person. This joke was missed by many in the industry and to this day, many still list Ted Blight as a cellist on the recordings. Also, about this time, the band also recorded a music video for Showdown; as they were still missing an additional cellist, sound engineer Rick Pannell stood in and mimed cello. It was about a month later that Hugh McDowell was hired to fill the missing role in the band and Ted Blight was gone.

Eldorado by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
Eldorado Wizard of Oz coverThe Electric Light Orchestra hated the album cover for their fourth album, Eldorado, featuring a scene taken from the 1939 Wizard Of Oz film of the Wicked Witch reaching for Dorothy's ruby slippers and being zapped in the process; the cover evoking the gold at the end of the rainbow which in turn is evoked by the "El Dorado" theme of the music. The cover was commissioned by United Artists and/or Don Arden and created by an artist in Los Angeles. When presented to the band by Sharon Arden (later Sharon Osbourne), they rebelled, believing it to be a horrid cover. They were not familiar with Wizard Of Oz which had become an iconic film in American culture, but was mostly unknown in British culture. The band was talked into accepting the cover by various parties, in part because management and the Americans they had presented it to had agreed that it was a brilliant cover. As it turns out, the Eldorado cover did prove popular with the fans and may have played a role in the album being the band's first ever gold record.

Face The Music by Electric Light Orchestra
MIGHT BE TRUE
Face The Music front coverThe front cover features an electric chair with a set of headphones sitting in the chair. This, along with the album title, was telling the user to really listen to the music. This was in response to the accusations of Satanic lyrics when the album was played backwards and it was telling critics to "face the music" that such accusations were not true. Rather these listeners should really listen to the music and not worry about such nonsense.
CONFIRMED TRUE
Face The Music front coverThe back cover features the band pressed up against a glass window with looks of horror on their faces. The intent was to indicate that they were watching an execution in the electric chair as seen on the front cover. Richard Tandy is looking away because he was disturbed and disgusted by the concept at the time and did not want to take part.

Out Of The Blue by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
USA United Artists catalog number on Out Of The Blue coverThe space plane entering the bay of the ELO spaceship on the cover of the Out Of The Blue LP features a series of letters and numbers on the side. This sequence is the catalog number for the original Out Of The Blue album released in the USA on United Artists. All issues of the LP worldwide, including the UK, featured this code on the plane, despite other countries having different catalog numbers (the UK's number was UAR 100). Also of interest is that six months after this release on United Artists, ELO changed distributors worldwide to CBS and the album was rereleased with a new catalog number. However, the original USA catalog number remained on the rereleases and all subsequent reissues since then.

Discovery by Electric Light Orchestra
UNDETERMINED
Confusion and Brad GarrettDiscovery and Brad GarrettRumor has persisted that the model seen on the cover of the Discovery album is the actor/comedian Brad Garrett, well before he became famous as an actor (famous for his role in the Everybody Loves Raymond series). Most say he is seen on the album's back cover, standing menacingly in a doorway holding a sword, but some others say his is seen on the inside cover holding the ELO spaceship treasure and running across the desert Certainly the back image looks much like a young Brad Garrett. He would have been about 19 at the time the images were shot and it was done well before Brad's comedy and acting career, so the timeline fits. However, there has never been any known confirmation that any of these images are actually him. In addition, there is some opinion that it might be him in some magazine ads for the album's Confusion single and somehow that got translated to him on the Discovery album cover.

Secret Messages by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
The Future's A Bit Fishy.  We've Got A Hand In It.The Secret Messages album cover was built from an original print by Hags Photography called "The Future's A Bit Fishy. We've Got A Hand In It." From this original print, images from various works of art were inserted (covering mot of the grass) and a pair of windows were added. From comparing the print for sale on their website to the ELO album cover, it appears that the print used for the ELO album cover was before the hand and the jets were added to the print (or were removed for the ELO cover).
SURELY TRUE
Band in the windowThe Secret Messages album contains several hidden things in the album's songs, but also the album's cover. Perhaps the most notable and obvious in the album's busy front cover is that the band can be seen in the window of a building on the album's right side. Members in the image, from left to right, are Bev Bevan, Jeff Lynne, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt.
SURELY TRUE
Band names all mixed upThe album's back cover artwork represents the backside of a picture frame, including tape, wire strung across for hanging, and labels for the framing companies. The names of the companies shown on the framing labels are anagrams for the band members names. In this case "T.D. Ryan & F.Y.J Fennel" are for "R. Tandy" and "Jeff Lynne." And "G.U. Ruttock and E.V. Nabbe" are for "K. Groucutt" and "Be Bevan" (missing a "v" letter!).
CONFIRMED TRUE
ELO in MorseThe back of the album in the UK and much of the world features the image of a stamp above the song listing that states "WARNING CONTAINS SECRET BACKWARD MESSAGES". This was only featured as yet another joke about hidden things on the album. However, in North America, CBS was concerned that this could unduly alarm some who were already concerned about hidden messages on rock album so they had it removed.
SURELY TRUE
ELO in MorseThe inner sleeve shows not only the album credits and the song lyrics, but hidden in the image is a Morse code image that simply says "ELO" (dot dot-dash-dot-dot dash-dash-dash) repeated several times in dashes and dots.

Secret Messages by Electric Light Orchestra
CONFIRMED TRUE
Secret Messages picture discTo help promote the release of the song Secret Messages as a single, Jet released a 7" picture disc in the UK. The picture disc contained several clues images that were part of a contest to win prizes, including a personalized gold disc. Answers were to be mailed to CBS Records' UK offices to win one of the prizes. The hidden messages to win the contest 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!

Long Wave by Jeff Lynne
CONFIRMED TRUE
Jeff Lynne on the Long Wave coverThe street image seen on the cover of the Long Wave album is of Sherborne Street in Birmingham as seen in the 1950s. Within the image, in the doorway of a local shop (photoshopped for Long Wave to say "Fender" as in the guitar), is an electronically inserted modern image of Jeff Lynne holding a guitar and looking out.

Other Stuff

Roy Wood left Electric Light Orchestra
Roy Wood left the Electric Light Orchestra in July 1972, just eight months after the official launch of the band. The press and rumors at the time played up a great rift between Roy and Jeff as the reason for Roy's unexpected departure. Although there were some hard feelings at the time, the rift wasn't quite as dramatic as it was played up to be and time has mellowed the men so that today they are good friends. The cause of the problem was simply a clash of personalities. Both Roy and Jeff had been long time friends in Birmingham, both in their own bands-- Roy in The Move and Jeff in Idle Race. The Electric Light Orchestra started as a joint venture with Roy Wood, Jeff Lynne and Bev Bevan with the goal of creating a rock band that incorporated a string section into the band. The first album was released on December 1971 and started touring in April 1972. It was a very difficult time for everyone involved as there were many problems amplifying the strings on stage as well as Roy constantly changing instruments between songs. Add to this, as co-leaders of the band, Roy and Jeff ran into personal conflicts over the direction for the band and attention from the press and fans. (At the time, Roy was a bigger star than Jeff.) Thus, Roy left the band to start Wizzard. Roy's excuse for leaving was that he didn't want to be in a band where he became enemies with the others and he wanted to remain friends with Jeff and Bev. The problem was that Roy left, taking Bill Hunt and Hugh McDowell with him to start Wizzard, without telling Jeff or Bev, leaving them to find out in the trade papers that their band was disintegrating. It's interesting to know that Don Arden was manager for both bands, so it was also curious that Don wasn't the one to tell Jeff and Bev. Despite this challenge, Jeff and Bev carried on, hired new band members (Wilf Gibson and Mike Edwards) and reconfigured the band to overcome the problems they had been experiencing before. There certainly was some animosity at the time, given that Roy had simply abandoned the band. But time mellowed any hard feelings. By the time of Eldorado in 1974, Roy was praising the band, stating that they had finally reached the goal that they were striving for. And by the 1980s, both Jeff and Roy were seen at the same events and parties, culminating in a couple of recordings (Me And You and If You Don't Get What You Want) that they recorded together (which unfortunately remain unreleased in any official capacity).

Jeff Lynne's sunglasses
Jeff and his sunglassesAn often asked question is why Jeff always wears sunglasses. It's now become his trademark and he is never seen without them. When asked, Jeff typically says that he simply started wearing them because of the bright lights of the stage and he is a naturally shy person and likes to hide a bit. However, a more practical reason is that he simply doesn't want his eyes to be seen. There may be a medical condition such that he doesn't like the look of his eyes and therefore he hides them. Perhaps its discomfort with this look that is the real reason for the ever-present sunglasses. Of course, this is not the kind of thing that he would actually say to an interviewer. Only Jeff can really know for sure why he does it. He was also, to a fashion, imitating Roy Orbison, his musical hero.

Double Electric Light Orchestra album that's half live and half studio
Stories of the Electric Light Orchestra releasing a double album, half with live material and half with new studio material have been around since nearly the beginning of their career. It is true that there were reports of such an album in early 1973 with intentions to do so, but for whatever reason it never materialized. Several live shows from the time were recorded, possibly for the project. And Jeff Lynne wrote the On The Third Day suite possibly for the project. However, the concept was not realized and instead the On The Third Day album was released as a full studio album. The live The Night The Light Went On In Long Beach album was released in Europe in 1974, but this was the only original live album the band ever released. In the early 1980s, there were rumors that the band's next album was to be this half-live/half-studio project following the Xanadu release. The live album would have been the 1978 Wembley Arena show and the studio album was yet to be recorded. Again, this concept was never realized and the single Time album was released instead. Rumors also persist Jeff Lynne wanted to release the live album to help fulfill his contractual obligation for ELO albums and finally be done with the band, but the veracity of this story remains undetermined.

Video and TV broadcast of Time tour performance
Reports of an England tour performance during the 1982 Time tour being filmed and broadcast on British TV have existed for many years. Several fans swear they remember seeing it and that they know it exists. Yet no evidence whatsoever that this is true exists and official sources also claim that it is false. Therefore, it probably did not happen and there is no explanation for the hallucination of several UK fans in this regard.


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Robert Porter
November 2017