Set Of 6

 

Electric Light Orchestra on Set Of 6

An in-depth look at the UK TV program performances


Comments and Observations

Set Of 6 title card
Show Credits
Directed by: Terry Henebery
Producer: Muriel Young
Designed by: Denis Parkin
Advisor: David Wason
The Set Of 6 TV performances are unique in ELO history as they are the only surviving video recording and non-bootleg live audio of Roy Wood still with the band. These early live performances were challenging for the band as they struggled due to difficulties with amplifying the string section and Roy Wood frequently changing instruments between numbers. This early performance for TV, although still having to deal with these problems, showcases an excellent performance and is a rare glimpse into what the original vision was for the band.

Set Of 6 was a UK Granada TV pop music program that ran in 1971 and 1972 with ELO making their broadcast appearance on June 20, 1972. The concept of the program was that a performer would come on the show and perform a set of six songs during the 30 minutes of the show, thus the show's title. Perhaps because of the length of many of ELO's songs at the time, with the longest running nearly seven minutes, the band actually only performed five songs for the show.

ELO performing on Set of 6The performance was filmed on Tuesday, May 9, 1972 in Manchester in front of a live audience. The broadcast, originally on Granada TV only, was 42 days later on Tuesday, June 20, 1972 (just weeks before Roy left the band). The audio for the performance was recorded and broadcast only in mono. The songs performed that day were Queen Of The Hours, Jeff's Boogie #2, Whisper In The Night, Great Balls Of Fire and 10538 Overture. Note that Jeff's Boogie #2 was an early version of what would be recorded and released on the ELO 2 album under the title In Old England Town (Boogie #2) but with different lyrics and arrangement. It is unclear if the show was ever broadcast outside of Granada TV or rebroadcast at a later date.

As for the performances, the band played very tight, but it's also clear that the string section were having great difficulties with amplification. The cellos all sound quite rough (and even occasionally out of tune) because of how they are miked and they tend to overpower almost all other instruments, including lead guitar. Wilf's violin playing, although fine as a performance, sounds weak and is barely audible, probably in part because it was so poorly amplified. The arrangements were what the band was known to be performing live at the time, including a version of Queen Of The Hours that featured an extended piano and guitar bridge and a choirless Whisper In The Night that also includes drums and additional backing. The remaining tracks are matching the album/single counterpart or original songs (although Jeff's Boogie #2 would later be recorded for the ELO 2 album).

Roy Wood was documented as often changing instruments during and between songs, but it appears that Bill Hunt and Richard Tandy switched around quite a bit as well. The breakdown of who played what on the Set Of 6 tracks is as follows:
Jeff Lynne Roy Wood Bev Bevan Richard Tandy Bill Hunt Wilf Gibson Hugh McDowell Mike Edwards Andy Craig
Queen Of The Hours vocals and guitar cello drums bass piano and French horn violin cello cello cello
Jeff's Boogie #2 vocals and guitar bass drums piano organ violin cello cello cello
Whisper In The Night bass vocals and guitar drums piano French horn violin cello cello cello
Great Balls Of Fire vocals and guitar baritone saxophone drums bass piano violin cello cello cello
10538 Overture vocals and guitar cello drums bass French horn violin cello cello cello

ELO performing on Set of 6Inside the Electric Light Orchestra 1971-1973 DVDTotal Rock Review DVDThe film was originally recovered by ELO archivist, Rob Caiger, around 2000 or 2001, discovered in the Granada archives in Yorkshire, England on a 1-inch tape. This was the source of audio only releases for three of the songs on the 2001 The Electric Light Orchestra: First Light remaster (EMI 5 33374 2). Some of these were under consideration for later audio compilations, but they were nixed by Jeff Lynne and/or Roy Wood before release (which implies that they are not exactly pleased with these recordings). The two remaining songs recorded for the show were probably not released on the 2001 released because they are incomplete; the show started partway through the performance of Queen Of The Hours and ended partway through 10538 Overture, so only this partial performance survives. In 2005 the video and audio was released on a DVD documentary called Inside The Electric Light Orchestra 1970-1973 (Music Reviews LTD CRP1811), but the performance was severely edited and various reviewers and experts talked over much of the material. This was done because Music Reviews LTD did not have rights to the performance. To get around the rights issue, they edited it for journalistic purposes only. The audio for this documentary was also released on CD in 2005 under the same title (Music Reviews LTD CRP1812). Thankfully the audio of the documentary features a 5.1 mix with many of the songs isolated in the surround/back channels from the interviews in the center and front channels, allowing for some of the previously unreleased material to be heard. The following year, in August 2006, a company called Storm Bird released this same documentary on a DVD called Total Rock Review (Storm Bird STB2179). On this release, they included bonus material of excerpts from the program, but not the full program. The excerpts are the performances of the three complete songs and a partial performance of Queen Of The Hours, but not 10538 Overture. Further, the bonus release of Queen Of The Hours cuts off a small portion of the beginning of the track as recorded for the program, likely because the producers of the DVD did not want to include the Set Of 6 logo superimposed over the screen in the footage. 10538 Overture was also not included at all because the song is not complete and more importantly, the show's credits played over the footage of the band performing. Storm Bird wanted to avoid including any show credits on the DVD (to avoid any rights problems). Unfortunately, this bonus material is cropped at the top and bottom to make it fully fit the widescreen format. Regarding the rights issues, it's interesting to note that the back of the Total Rock Review DVD box states: "This film is totally unauthorised and has not been approved by past or present members of the Electric Light Orchestra, nor has it been authorised or approved by their past or present management."

It's curious that the full program obviously exists as it was discovered in the very early 2000s, but it has never been rebroadcast or released in any format therefore it remains unseen. Considering the great historic significance for the band, its members and pop music in general, it's peculiar that it's not gotten more attention since its discovery.

The chart below shows the contents of the full known program as well as what releases these performances have had.

The Electric Light Orchestra: First Light CD Inside The Electric Light Orchestra DVD Total Rock Review DVD Comments
Queen Of The Hours
-
Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary, then the last half of the song is heard mostly uninterrupted as a bonus track (the very beginning of what was heard on the broadcast is omitted in order to chop off the Set of 6 logo from the DVD). This performance is heard only in part because that's how it was used in the broadcast. Because of the time limitation, the show started with the Set of 6 logo over the band in the middle of the song already. The arrangement was the same as the live performances the band was doing at the time, with the final verse, an extended piano and guitar jam, then a repeat of the final verse and the normal ending.
Jeff's Boogie #2 Heard in full, including the spoken song intro by Roy. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary, then the full uninterrupted song is included as a bonus track (minus the spoken song intro by Roy (which is instead heard in the documentary)). This is an original song (at the time) that the band would later record for the ELO 2 album with the same basic arrangement but totally different lyrics. Roy jokingly introduces this as #2 of 13 "boogies" that Jeff has written that he can't think of titles for.
Whisper In The Night Heard in full, including the spoken song intro by Roy. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary, then the full uninterrupted song is included as a bonus track (again minus the spoken song intro by Roy (which is instead heard in the documentary)). The arrangement is the same basic arrangement as the The Electric Light Orchestra album, but without the choir (to which Roy comments they couldn't afford that night) and additional backing from the rest of the band (drums, bass and piano).
Great Balls Of Fire Heard in full, including the very brief spoken song intro by Jeff. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary, then the full uninterrupted song is included as a bonus track. This is a cover of the Jerry Lee Lewis song with a distinct arrangement in which the majority of the instrumentation is replaced by cello and violin.
10538 Overture
-
Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Heard and seen only in part during the documentary. Only part of the song was actually broadcast as the show's closing credits played during the song and then it cut off before the end of the song. This segment, although not officially released anywhere, can be isolated and extracted from the documentary's 5.1 mix and is believed to be mostly as complete as broadcast.

ELO performing on Set of 6The full Set Of 6 show, audio or visual, has not had an official release. However the great majority of the audio performance can be cobbled together from the released sources: The Total Rock Review DVD contains the audio and visual recording of Queen Of The Hours (minus a few seconds), the The Electric Light Orchestra: First Light CD contains the complete audio for Jeff's Boogie #2, Whisper In The Night and Great Balls Of Fire (the Total Rock Review DVD bonus material has the video, but excludes the song intros while some of the intros are included in the documentary), and the Inside The Electric Light Orchestra documentary contains what is presumed to be the complete audio from the broadcast for 10538 Overture in the back channels of the 5.1 mix of the documentary. The only thing missing is the very beginning (a few seconds only) of the as-broadcast performance of Queen Of The Hours.

Note that the documentary on the Inside The Electric Light Orchestra and Total Rock Review DVDs also include some footage of ELO performing 10538 Overture on 2 G's and the Pop People (1972) and Evil Woman on Supersonic (1975) as well as The Move performing Blackberry Way on Colour Me Pop (1969) and Wild Tiger Woman on Beat Club (1969). All these performances are mimed to the studio recordings except Evil Woman which is partially live to a backing track.

This page is intended to be a complete record of information on the Electric Light Orchestra's Set Of 6 performances (few though they may be). If you notice any errors or omissions, please contact me at jefflynnesongs@gmail.com and let me know. I strive for accuracy.

Robert Porter
November 2017