Sweet Talkin' Woman

 

Electric Light Orchestra -- Sweet Talkin' Woman

An in-depth song analysis


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

    Initially Released On: Out Of The Blue LP album (1977 October UK Jet/United Artists UAR 100)

  • Comments and Observations

    Sweet Talkin' Woman was recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany during the summer of 1977. It originally started life as a song called Dead End Street, having very different lyrics and arrangement. Probable lyrics that survived from that version can be heard in the opening of the third verse, "I've been livin' on a dead end street". For unknown reasons, Jeff was not satisfied with the song and wrote and recorded all new lyrics. The song was then heavily edited and rearranged to yield the final release of the song. Mik Kaminski's violin playing can be heard prominently on the intro of the song. While the song used a full orchestra (conducted by Louis Clark) on the song, sometimes cellists Hugh McDowell and Melvyn Gale were blended in in the studio. It's not clear if the cellists were mixed into this particular ELO song, though.

    The song was released as a 7" single in England on Jet records on October 7, 1978 with stock number "Jet 121" and having the song Bluebird Is Dead from the On The Third Day album on the B-side. This 7" single was released on both purple and standard black vinyl. It was also released as a 12" single on the same date and the same songs with the stock number "Jet 12-121", being the third commercial release of an ELO 12" single in the UK. The 12" was released on purple vinyl only. In the USA, it was released seven months earlier in March 1978 as the fourteenth single release in the USA. It was released on Jet Records (distributed by United Artists) with stock number "JT-XW 1145" and an edit of Fire On High on the B-side. It was issued on both purple and standard black vinyl. Although the purple vinyl edition is interesting and sought out as a collector's item, the black vinyl edition is actually the more rare of the two. An extremely rare red vinyl edition was also produced. Sweet Talkin' Woman was the final single release distributed by United Artists in the USA, with CBS Records taking over distribution of the next single (Mr. Blue Sky). It was also released as the third track of side 1 on the Out Of The Blue album on October 1977 in the UK and November 1977 in the USA.

    Vintage Iron-On TransferSweet Talkin' Woman was released during a peak period of ELO's popularity and is a significant worldwide hit. It entered the UK chart on October 7, 1978, peaked at #6 for three consecutive weeks on October 21, October 28 and November 4, 1978, and spent 8 weeks in the chart. Curiously, it was the third consecutive ELO single to peak at #6 on the UK charts. In the USA, it entered the Billboard Hot 100 chart on February 17, 1978, reached #17 for two consecutive weeks on April 28 and May 5, 1978, spending 16 weeks in the chart and entered the Cash Box chart on February 17, 1978, reached #8 for two consecutive weeks on April 22 & 28, 1978, spending 16 weeks in the chart. It was ELO's twelfth Billboard chart single. In the USA, it also peaked at #23 on the Record World Top 40.

    It's unclear if the original Dead End Street version or the unedited version have survived. More than likely Dead End Street was destroyed in the process of recording the new vocals for the song. Surely the unedited version of Sweet Talkin' Woman was backed up before it was edited. Back in the 1970s, the process of editing involved actually cutting pieces of recording tape and discarding them or reattaching them in a different order. One error and the work would be destroyed, so it makes sense that a backup tape was made. However, it is unclear if the unedited tape survived. It may have been wiped or taped over after the final mix of the song was completed. In any case, rumor has it that the original Out Of The Blue multitrack tapes are lost so even if this early version of the song was saved to tape, it is likely lost.

    Bev Bevan's bass vocals are used heavily on the song, most notable on the backing vocals from the fourth chorus on. On choruses one through three, Jeff, Bev and possibly Kelly sing the "slow down", "run run" and "hold on" backing vocals, but all of these bits on chorus four and later are sung by Bev alone, barring the "run run" parts which are altogether cut and the brief guitar backing only part of chorus five which Jeff sings.

    The song made heavy use of the Vocoder 2000, as did several songs on the Out Of The Blue album. It's use on Sweet Talkin' Woman was limited to a bit saying "Sweet Talkin' Woman" on the intro and following the first, second and third choruses (times [0:08], [1:04], [1:54] and [2:43]). The vocoder following the third chorus is very subtle, making it seem as if the violin is saying the phrase rather than the vocoder. A curiosity about this vocoder use and evidence of the heavy editing on the song is a noticeable sound fidelity drop out on the left channel over the vocoder bridge following the second chorus (at the 1:54 mark). This part exists on all releases of the song. An attempt to fix this was done for the remastering of the Flashback set (which is used for subsequent releases with additional tweaks), but the drop out is still evident. A sample of the sound drop out-- first the left channel isolated to both channels (to show the drop out), then the regular stereo image-- can be heard HERE.

    Another curiosity about the song is that the USA single release had a version that was inexplicably sped up. It's the same song, but it runs almost 10 seconds shorter than the LP version. Why was this done? In the 1970s, many of ELO's songs were edited to shorter versions for radio. The idea being that radio preferred shorter versions so they could play more songs. Perhaps the speeding up of Sweet Talkin' Woman was done intentionally in an attempt to be more radio friendly. The simplest explanation, though, is that it was done simply in error when the tape machine was run at the wrong speed and no one noticed. Whatever the reason, it remains a mystery.

    Jeff's British accent especially stands out on the third verse. The British have a tendency to add an "r" to the end of words ending with an "ah" sound, such as "Donna" becomes "Donner", "panda" becomes "pander" and "idea" becomes "idear". Listen closely and Jeff can clearly be heard singing "insufficient dater coming through."

    Finally, no discussion of Sweet Talkin' Woman would be complete without a discussion of how it was ripped off by Robert John "Mutt" Lange when he wrote the Huey Lewis and the News song Do You Believe In Love for their 1982 Picture This album. The verses have the same melody and even the opening lines of the songs are remarkably similar.

    Sweet Talkin' WomanDo You Believe In Love
    I was searchin' (searchin') on a one-way street
    I was hopin' (hopin') for a chance to meet
    I was waitin' for the operator on the line
    I was walkin' (beat) down a one-way street
    Just a lookin' (beat) for someone to meet
    One woman who was looking for a man

    A sample of these two verses played side by side can be heard HERE. Admittedly, the melody on the choruses of the two songs is quite different, so not the whole song was ripped off. The irony of this is that in 1984-- just a few years after the melody and lyrics of Sweet Talkin' Woman were ripped off-- Huey Lewis and the News successfully sued Ray Parker Jr., claiming that Parker's song Ghostbusters was a rip off of the Huey Lewis and the News song I Want A New Drug.

    A fan has made a fun little music video where she acts out the song's lyrics. Her video can be seen HERE.

    Structure and Lyrics

    Below is the structure of the fullest, most complete version of the originally released song as available on the standard issues of the Out Of The Blue album.

    Original Electric Light Orchestra Version
    Lyric sheet from Out Of The Blue album
    -Intro
       Violin Part
       Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
       Where did you go?

    -Verse 1
       I was searchin' (searchin') on a one-way street
       I was hopin' (hopin') for a chance to meet
       I was waitin' for the operator on the line
       She's gone so long -- What can I do?
       Where could she be? -- No, no, no
       Don't know what I'm gonna do
       I gotta get back to you

    -Chorus 1
       You gotta slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over

    -Vocoder Bridge 1
       Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
    -Verse 2
       I was walkin' many days go by
       I was thinkin' (thinkin') 'bout the lonely nights
       Communication breakdown all around
       She's gone so long -- What can I do?
       Where could she be? -- No, no, no
       Don't know what I'm gonna do
       I gotta get back to you

    -Chorus 2
       You gotta slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over

    -Vocoder Bridge 2
       Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
    -Verse 3
       I've been livin' (livin') on a dead end street
       I've been askin' (askin' kindly) everybody I meet
       Insufficient data coming through
       She's gone so long -- What can I do?
       Where could she be? -- No, no, no
       Don't know what I'm gonna do
       I gotta get back to you

    -Chorus 3
       NO!
       Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over

    -Violin/Vocoder Bridge 3
       Violin melody with very subtle vocoder underneath singing sweet talkin' woman
    -Chorus 4
       Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over

    -Chorus 5
       Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    with guitar only backing
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    -Chorus 6
       Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
       Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
       It's so sad if that's the way it's over

    -Chorus 7
       Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
       You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
       Hold on...

    Original Lyric Sheet from Out Of The Blue

    Variations

    There are five known non-live variations of the original Sweet Talkin' Woman They are:

    -Sweet Talkin' Woman (Standard Release)
    -Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Single Version)
    -Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Mono Single Version)
    -Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited Video Version)
    -Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)

    The USA single version is simply run fast, so that it's approximately 10 seconds shorter than the standard release. The change is subtle, but it can be detected by simply measuring the running time of the song. The USA mono single version is a mono mixdown of the fast single version. The video version cuts the first two lines of the fifth chorus. And the version on the 1984 Australian 18 Greatest Hits LP includes the shout of "No!" that begins the third chorus, then cuts the rest of the third chorus and the third vocodor bridge, merging with the "slow down" of the fourth chorus.

    Song Section Lyric/Part Sweet Talkin' Woman (Standard Release)
    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Single Version)
    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Mono Single Version)
    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited Video Version) Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)
    Intro Violin Part
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Where did you go?
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Verse 1 I was searchin' (searchin') on a one-way street
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I was hopin' (hopin') for a chance to meet
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I was waitin' for the operator on the line
    YES
    YES
    YES
    She's gone so long -- What can I do?
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Where could she be? -- No, no, no
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Don't know what I'm gonna do
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I gotta get back to you
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 1 You gotta slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Vocoder Bridge 1 Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Verse 2 I was walkin' many days go by
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I was thinkin' (thinkin') 'bout the lonely nights
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Communication breakdown all around
    YES
    YES
    YES
    She's gone so long -- What can I do?
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Where could she be? -- No, no, no
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Don't know what I'm gonna do
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I gotta get back to you
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 2 You gotta slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Vocoder Bridge 2 Vocoder effect singing sweet talkin' woman
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Verse 3 I've been livin' (livin') on a dead end street
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I've been askin' (askin' kindly) everybody I meet
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Insufficient data coming through
    YES
    YES
    YES
    She's gone so long -- What can I do?
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Where could she be? -- No, no, no
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Don't know what I'm gonna do
    YES
    YES
    YES
    I gotta get back to you
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 3 NO!
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    -
    You got me runnin' (run run) you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    -
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    YES
    YES
    -
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    -
    Violin/Vocoder Bridge 3 Violin melody with very subtle vocoder underneath singing sweet talkin' woman
    YES
    YES
    -
    Chorus 4 Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 5 Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    -
    YES
    You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
    YES
    -
    YES
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on) with guitar only backing
    YES
    YES
    YES
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 6 Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Hold on (hold on) sweet talkin' lover (hold on)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    It's so sad if that's the way it's over
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Chorus 7 Slow down (slow down) sweet talkin' woman (slow down)
    YES
    YES
    YES
    You got me runnin' you got me searchin'
    YES
    YES
    YES
    Hold on...
    YES
    YES
    YES

    Music Charts

    These are the known statistics for the various countries' music charts. If you can fill in the missing information or know of charting information in other countries, please let me know at the email address listed at the bottom of this page.

    Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17 Week 18
    UK Official Top 75 Chart Entry Date: October 7, 1978
    17
    7
    6
    (October 21, 1978)
    6
    (October 28, 1978)
    6
    (November 4, 1978)
    9
    15
    34
    51
    UK New Musical Express Chart Entry Date: October 14, 1978
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Peak at #6 on [DATE UNKNOWN] during a run of 6 weeks on the chart
    USA Billboard Hot 100 Chart Entry Date: February 17, 1978
    78
    61
    46
    32
    29
    25
    23
    22
    20
    19
    17
    (April 28, 1978)
    17
    (May 5, 1978)
    25
    29
    34
    91
    USA Cash Box Top 100 Chart Entry Date: February 18, 1978
    81
    72
    59
    42
    33
    28
    26
    23
    20
    18
    (April 22, 1978)
    18
    (April 28, 1978)
    29
    40
    45
    49
    95
    USA Record World Top 100 Chart Entry Date: February 18, 1978
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Peak at #23 on [UNKNOWN DATE] during a run of 14 on the chart
    Australia Chart Entry Date: February 20, 1978
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Peak at #38 on [DATE UNKNOWN] during a run of 18 weeks on the chart
    Canada Chart Entry Date: March 18, 1978
    29
    19
    15
    10
    8
    7
    Peak at #6 on April 29, 1978
    8
    15
    20
    26
    26
    29
    Holland Top 40 (De Nederlandse Top 40) Chart Entry Date: November 25, 1978
    38
    28
    27
    (December 9, 1978)
    32
    40
    Holland Top 50 (Origin uncertain) Chart Entry Date: November 18, 1978
    38
    30
    26
    24
    (December 9, 1978)
    41
    36
    Ireland Chart Entry Date: October 12, 1978
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    ?
    Peak at #6 on [DATE UNKNOWN] during a run of 6 weeks on the chart

    Releases

    Here are all the known USA and UK releases of the song:

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Standard Release)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Single Version)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Mono Single Version)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited Video Version)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Wembley 1978)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Stereo Mix Wembley 1978)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (5.1 Mix Wembley 1978)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Time Tour)

    Pop Medley: Sweet Talkin' Woman/Confusion (Heartbeat '86, March 15 1986)

    E.L.O. Megamix (featuring a Sweet Talkin' Woman sample)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Balance Of Power Tour)

    E.L.O. Mega-Hits (featuring a Sweet Talkin' Woman sample)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Los Angeles, May 2001)

    Tours

    Sweet Talkin' Woman was played on all tours following its release.

    There is only one live version of song that has seen official release, that from from the Out Of The Blue tour (Wembley). Performances of Sweet Talkin' Woman from the Time and Balance Of Power tours have not been officially released, although they have been bootlegged from various sources. The performance from the aborted Zoom tour that was recorded for PBS has also not been released and has not been bootlegged.

    The Time tour performance was a shortened performance that was played as part of a hits medley, coming between Mr. Blue Sky and Shine A Little Love in the medley. It was the entire song up to and including the second vocodor bridge, followed by a quick repeat of "I gotta get back to you" from the verses, before the start of Shine A Little Love. The Balance Of Power tour performance was also part of a hits medley that was shortened even further. Here it was between Showdown and Confusion in the medley and was the entire song up to and including the first vocoder bridge before blending into Confusion.

    Pictures

    UK purple 7-inch single (Jet JET 121) UK black 7-inch single (Jet JET 121) USA purple 7-inch stock single (Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1145) USA black 7-inch stock single (Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1145) USA red 7-inch stock single (Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1145)
    UK purple vinyl single * Jet * JET 121 UK black vinyl single * Jet * JET 121 USA purple vinyl stock single * Jet/United Artists * JT-XW 1145 USA black vinyl stock single * Jet/United Artists * JT-XW 1145 USA red vinyl stock single * Jet/United Artists * JT-XW 1145
    USA purple 7-inch promo single (Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1145) USA black 7-inch promo single (Jet/United Artists JT-XW 1145) UK Out Of The Blue LP (Jet/United Artists UAR 100) UK purple 12-inch single (Jet JET 12-121) Australia 7-inch single (United Artists K-7038)
    USA purple vinyl promo single * Jet/United Artists * JT-XW 1145 USA black vinyl promo single * Jet/United Artists * JT-XW 1145 UK Out Of The Blue album * Jet/United Artists * UAR 100 UK vinyl 12" single * Jet * JET 12-121 Australia vinyl single * United Artists * K-7038
    Belgium 7-inch single (Unknown) Canada 7-inch single (Jet ZS8 5150) Canada 7-inch single (Jet JTXW-1145) France 7-inch single (United Artists JTXW1145) Germany 7-inch single (Jet JET 121)
    Belgium vinyl single * Unknown
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Canada vinyl single * Jet * ZS8 5150
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Canada vinyl single * Jet * JTXW-1145 France vinyl single * United Artists * JTXW1145 Germany vinyl single * Jet * JET 121
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Holland 7-inch single (Jet JET 121) Japan 7-inch single (Jet 06SP371) Japan 7-inch single (Jet CM-112) Mexico 7-inch single (Jet G-2000) New Zealand 7-inch single (United Artists K 7038)
    Holland * Jet * JET 121 Japan vinyl single * Jet * 06SP371 Japan vinyl single * Jet * CM-112 Mexico vinyl single * Jet * G-2000
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    New Zealand vinyl single * United Artists * K 7038
    Singapore 7-inch single (United Artists JT-XW 1145) South Africa 7-inch single (United Artists UASP 361) South Africa 7-inch single (CBS SSC 1784) Spain 7-inch single (Jet JET 121) Spain 7-inch single (Epic N/A)
    Singapore vinyl single * United Artists * JT-XW 1145
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    South Africa vinyl single * United Artists * UASP 361
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    South Africa vinyl single * CBS * SSC 1784
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Spain vinyl single * Jet * JET 121 Spain promo EP * Epic * N/A
    Thailand 7-inch single (Super Hits SP 1038) Thailand 7-inch single (Royal Sound TKR-536) Thailand blue 7-inch single (Cash Box C.B. 145) Thailand pink 7-inch single (Cash Box C.B. 145) Thailand vinyl single (Express Songs Records EXP.0375)
    Thailand vinyl single * Super Hits * SP 1038 Thailand vinyl single * Royal Sound * TKR-536
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Thailand vinyl single * Cash Box * C.B. 145 (blue)
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Thailand vinyl single * Cash Box * C.B. 145 (pink)
    Image used with kind permission of Jon Lock
    Thailand vinyl single * Express Songs Records * EXP.0375

    Cover Versions


    Use in Movies and TV Programs

    Sheet Music

                  
    Sheet music as published in the UK.

                  
    Sheet music as published in the USA.

    Promotional Videos and TV Performances

    Sweet Talkin' Woman promo videoThe video for Sweet Talkin' Woman is another mimed stage performance, but it features several blue laser effects across the stage, as would later be seen on the Out Of The Blue spaceship tour. During the first chorus and briefly before the final vocodor part, there are several split camera tricks, showing four or eight duplicate images. This video is also unique in that it uses the regular album version of the song but mysteriously cuts the first half of the fifth chorus (starting directly with the guitar backing only line "Hold on, sweet talkin' lover..."). This odd edit may be a result of the video being reviewed from the Out Of The Blue promo movie (more on that below) only. It remains uncertain if the regular video truly had this edit as the as the regular promo video for Sweet Talkin' Woman is not available for review.

    This video was also used as part of the Out Of The Blue promo movie, released to support the Out Of The Blue album and featuring several videos from the album, including Turn To Stone and Mr. Blue Sky (and probably, although unconfirmed, Wild West Hero). This promo movie is sometimes referred to as the "Out Of The Blue Video EP." In it, Sweet Talkin' Woman is prefaced by cartoon images of the ELO logo zooming into frame while portions of The Whale and the "Concerto" thunder from Standin' In The Rain (but not the "for a rainy day" bit) play over it. The video is ended by an animated ELO spaceship, as seen on the Out Of The Blue album cover with a space plane flying into the dock (but stopping before it completely enters) while more excerpts from The Whale play.

    All known airings of the Sweet Talkin' Woman promo video are lifted from the Out Of The Blue promo movie, so it remains unclear if a non-promo movie version of the video exists and if it does, if it includes the aforementioned edit. The Sweet Talkin' Woman promo video, as extracted from the Out Of The Blue movie, can be seen HERE.

    The promo video was shown on the BBC's popular Top Of The Pops on October 5, 1978 (David Jensen hosting) and October 12 (Jimmy Savile hosting). The October 26 episode of Top Of The Pops with Tony Blackburn hosting featured, rather than the promo video, the dance troupe Legs & Co. dancing to the song while the single was played. These are the only appearances of the song on Top Of The Pops.

    Fan Comments

    Enter comments only about this song. (Inappropriate comments will be removed.)


    My wife, whose name is Lola, swears there's someone singing "Sweet Talkin' Lola" on the choruses and now I cannot un-hear that! Perhaps it's the vocoder, but it sure does sound like there's a Lola in there. When I read there was a slight Kinks connection in the song (the title "Dead End Street" was already used in a song on their "Face to Face" l.p.), I thought maybe Lynn was making a little joke by slipping in the title of a bigger Kinks hit. Ever come across any musings on this?
    -Anonymous

    Wow - this is an amazing site, and the amount of research that you have put into documenting this material is impressive. As a fellow ELO/Jeff Lynne fan, my sincere thanks for your hard work.

    Michael Brooks
    Toledo, OH
    http://historymike.blogspot.com

    One of my favorites. I love it.
    -Anonymous

    Artwork by Lynnette Johansson for Sweet Talkin' Woman
    -Fan artwork by Lynnette "Cicky" Johansson

    Quotations

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Standard Release)
    The vocoder says "sweet talkin' woman" four times in this song at the marks [0:08], [1:04], [1:54] and [2:43]. The [1:54] vocoder section is roughly cut into the song and on some recordings has a clearly different fidelity to the rest of the track. The [2:43] vocoder section has the vocoder pushed way down into the mix, making it sound as if the violin is "saying" the lyric. Robert John "Mutt" Lange inadvertently ripped off this song when he wrote the Huey Lewis and the News song Do You Believe In Love for their 1982 Picture This album. The melody is a direct rip off of Sweet Talkin' Woman and the lyrics to the opening verse are remarkably similar: "I was walking down a one way street; Just a looking for someone to meet ;One woman who was looking for a man." The real irony of this is that in the mid-1980s Huey Lewis successfully won a lawsuit against Ray Parker Jr., claiming that Parker's song Ghostbusters was a rip off of the Huey Lewis and the News song I Want A New Drug.

    "Originally called Dead End Street but we changed it when Jeff re-wrote the lyrics."
    Bev Bevan (1977 - Japanese Out Of The Blue LP liner notes (United Artists GXG 25/26))

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman... The second single from this consistent group's Out Of The Blue double LP is another catchy rocker characterized by semi-classical elements. The multi-tracked vocals add a powerful choral effect."
    Unknown (February 18, 1978 - Billboard magazine)

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

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman was originally Dead End Street and we spent two days recording the vocals until they were just right. The next morning Jeff came in and asked Mack, our sound engineer, how it sounded. 'Great,' he said. 'Absolutely great.' 'Well, I don't like it,' said Jeff. 'Wipe it off and start again.' Mack sat there behind his massive sound desk and in his unflappable way wiped clean all the vocal tracks from the tape. They were nice vocals, but Jeff had been thinking about them and felt they weren't quite right. He re-wrote the lyrics, changed the title and Sweet Talkin' Woman became one of our biggest single hits."
    Bev Bevan (1980 - The Electric Light Orchestra Story)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman had a whole different set of lyrics, actually. It was called Dead End Street. And I tried it, finished it, did all the backing vocals, took about, y'know, a whole day to sing all the backing parts. And then, came in the next day, listened to it, and said, 'Wipe it.' Wiped all these backing vocals and everything. And I started again, I rewrote the words very quickly, in about an hour and put new, put all new backing vocals on and sang it again."
    Jeff Lynne (June 23, 1990 - Timothy White's Rock Stars: Jeff Lynne's Musical Chairs)

    "...Jeff critically checked his own work and erased the complete vocal track of Dead End Street, and wrote totally new lyrics for that song. The track, now entitled Sweet Talkin' Woman, took the charts by storm when it was finally released as a single."
    Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

    "It was a song called... I think it was called Dead End Street. And, uh, I'd done all the words and everything, finished it. And I came down the next day in the studio and I went, 'I hate that. Let's rub all the vocals off.' And so, he goes, 'Really?' Y'know, me engineer. And I said, 'Yup. Get rid off everything off there. Whatever to do with the vocals.' And he did. He rubbed 'em all off. And I'd been sitting up in the hotel, which is above the studio, working at night just trying to think of a new tune and new words, which I did. And tried it the next day and there they worked. So, it was a good job I did, but it also meant changing the arrangement slightly. So a lot of pairs of scissors were used that day."
    Jeff Lynne (circa late 1990s or early 2000s - Off The Record interview with Uncle Joe Benson)

    "(Early disco). Originally called Dead End Street, has the most edits of any record I've ever made. Painstakingly joined together with half a mile of editing tape."
    Jeff Lynne (2000 - Flashback)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman, where classical meets futuristic, like 10CC soundtracking Kate and Leopold, only not."
    Dom Passantino (October 24, 2005 - Stylus online magazine)

    Here is an nice Seconds article in the Stylus online music magazine from October 26, 2005 by Edward Oculicz about the song Sweet Talkin' Woman. Far too much to quote here, here is a link to the original article: Seconds - Electric Light Orchestra: Sweet Talkin' Woman. Hopefully it won't go away any time soon as it's a great historical document.

    "By now ELO had become a pop leviathan, touring the world with a stage show that featured the band performing inside a giant spaceship. Crucially, the tunes kept coming; [Sweet Talkin' Woman] was another rich, sweet confection that illustrated Lynne's knack for plundering other musical styles - the backing vocals are pure doo-wop."
    David Cheal (December 8, 2005 - The Daily Telegraph)

    "If you went to DJ Sean Rowley's London club night few Saturdays ago, you'd have been treated to the sight of Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson 'grooving like dervishes' - as Rowley puts it - to ELO's Sweet Talking Woman. 'We had Terry Hall [of Specials/Fun Boy Three fame] on the decks,' recalls the Cockney DJ."
    Paul Lester (November 11, 2006 - The Scotsman)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman is a single most should be familiar with."
    Dan MacIntosh (2007 February 15 - Out Of The Blue reissue review on popmatters.com)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman, the final single from the album [in the UK], was originally recorded as Dead End Street but Lynne felt the lyrics were not quite right. Ever the consummate record producer, he calmly instructed Mack to wipe the vocal tracks and set about rewriting the editing the song until it became one of ELO's most popular hits ever: 'where space-age vocoder meets acoustic guitar meets barber-shop harmonics and sounds fantastic.'"
    Rob Caiger (February 26, 2007 - Out Of The Blue remaster liner notes)

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

    "Listen out for the edit points on Sweet Talkin' Woman and Wild West Hero - very noticeable to me from the first time I bought the original LP but does anyone else notice these (and others)?"
    Rob Caiger (March 3, 2007 - Showdown mailing list)

    "The hits that made this collection [Out Of The Blue] such a success are all here: the exuberant Sweet Talkin' Woman, the jittery Mr. Blue Sky and the Abbey Road- flavored Big Wheels."
    Jesse De Leon (March 9, 2007 - Corpus Christi Caller-Times's Out Of The Blue remaster review)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman remains Lynne's most perfect hit. From its George Martin-homage string intro to the massed acoustic guitars, it's a rollercoaster of sweetness."
    Keith Scott (March 2007 - Out Of The Blue album review for BBC)

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

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Single Version)
    Oddly enough, the USA single version of Sweet Talkin' Woman has been mixed at a slightly faster speed. The edit is the same as the Out Of The Blue album, but it runs about 10 seconds shorter because of the faster speed. It's uncertain why this song was released at a faster speed. Was it intentional or purely an accident?

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Fast USA Mono Single Version)
    This is a mono version of the USA single version of Sweet Talkin' Woman.

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited Video Version)
    The difference between this version and the original Out Of The Blue version is that it cuts the first half of the fifth chorus.

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Edited 18 Greatest Hits LP Version)
    This version, found on the Australian 18 Greatest Hits LP from 1984, differs from the original Out Of The Blue version in that it cuts the third chorus and the vocoder/violin bridge after the third chorus.

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Wembley 1978)
    Jeff Lynne flubs a couple of lyrics on this recording. During the first verse, Jeff sings "I was askin', for a chance to meet" (rather than the correct lyric of "I was hopin'"). Apparently he confused the lyric and started to sing the line "I was askin' everybody I meet" from the last verse. Also, on the third line from the first verse, "I was waitin' for the operator on the line", Jeff gets a bit ahead of himself and says the "on" of "on the line" a bit early. On the video of the performance, Jeff clearly realizes that he's screwing it up as he looks sideways at Kelly Groucutt in annoyance.

    "Bassist Kelly Groucutt sang consistently impressive harmonies, especially for Strange Magic and the joyous Sweet Talkin' Woman."
    Bruce Westbrook (July 5, 1978 - The Oklahoman review of Oklahoma City concert)

    "On [the Out Of The Blue] tour they used the most pre-recorded basic tapes on stage. For Standin' In The Rain, Turn To Stone, Mr. Blue Sky and Sweet Talkin' Woman, the group was accompanied by strings, choir, piano, backing vocals, co-lead vocals (!), guitars and synthesizer sounds from the album..."
    Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

    "To cater for the limitations of the original TV broadcast [of the 1978 Wembley concert], the 24 track live recording was mixed down to one mono track. During the mix down, more of a back-up 'backing' tape was pushed up into the mix on some of the then new Out Of The Blue songs than was actually used at the live show. [...] Sweet Talkin' Woman - as Turn To Stone [performed totally live at Wembley a tape was playing in the background] but[the backup tape was] pushed up as the strings lost their tuning mid-song."
    Rob Caiger (March 30, 2002 - Showdown mailing list)

    "Sweet Talkin' Woman ([backup tapes were used for the] complete song as back up, band playing and singing live)"
    Rob Caiger (July 20, 2003 - Showdown mailing list)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Stereo Mix Wembley 1978)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (5.1 Mix Wembley 1978)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Time Tour)

    E.L.O. Megamix (featuring a Sweet Talkin' Woman sample)
    This is a mix of portions of the songs (in order) Don't Bring Me Down [0:00 to 1:05], Sweet Talkin' Woman' [1:05 to 2:29], Livin' Thing [2:29 to 3:34], Calling America [3:34 to 4:39], So Serious [4:39 to 5:24], Shine A Little Love [5:24 to 6:35], Twilight [6:35 to 7:44], Turn To Stone [7:44 to 8:39], and Hold On Tight [8:39 to 10:08]. Although this song saw official release, it is clearly not made from the original master tapes. Sound quality even on the official release is inferior. Remixed by Dakeyne of Disco Mix Club (UK).

    "The [Calling America] 12-inch (TA 7317) did however contain probably the strangest ELO 'release' of all: the ELO Megamix. Mixed by one Dakeyne of Disco Mix Club (UK), its [sic] nine minutes and fifty-seven seconds contain snippets from nine of ELO's old songs, segueued together to the beat of a drum machine. A desecration? Well, Jeff apparently wasn't too happy about it (his permission wasn't asked), bit certainly was different. The combination of the Megamix and the scarcity of the 12-inch due to the dispute and the poor sales of the limited number of copies that did get out makes this one of ELO's most sought-after items, and it can easily fetch 10, with even the 7-inch rated at 5. GTTP [sic] was of course the last ever official ELO release...."
    Andrew Whiteside (1994 - Face The Music fanzine #17)

    "The [Getting To The Point] 12-inch features an ELO Mega Mix [sic] by Dakeyne of Disco Mix Club UK. After the single is in the shops, it turns out that Jeff did not give his permission!"
    Rob Caiger (1994 - Face The Music fanzine #17)

    "...the 12 inch [single of Getting To The Point] with the ELO Megamix was only available in the UK which meant that all foreign collectors were hunting after the few records sold in Great Britain."
    Patrik Guttenbacher, Marc Haines, & Alexander von Petersdorff (1996 Unexpected Messages)

    "Matter Of Fact and the Megamix [sic] will not be on the remastered edition [of Balance Of Power]."
    Rob Caiger (March 22, 2005 - Showdown mailing list)

    Pop Medley: Sweet Talkin' Woman/Confusion (Heartbeat '86, March 15 1986)

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Balance Of Power Tour)

    E.L.O. Mega-Hits (featuring a Sweet Talkin' Woman sample)
    This curious remix was officially released on a Spanish issue promo only 12" single, thought to be part of the Spanish only The Very Best Of Electric Light Orchestra promotion (which was a trimmed down Spanish version of the USA-issued Afterglow set). It begins with some strange, spacey keyboards with an unknown sample of a man saying, "I mean, come on! Give me a break!". The keyboards are mixed with the opening violin from Livin' Thing. The mix contains a mix of the ELO songs Livin' Thing [0:11 to 1:35], Don't Bring Me Down [1:25 to 1:55], Sweet Talkin' Woman [1:55 to 2:16], I'm Alive [2:16 to 3:04], Shine A Little Love [3:04 to 3:54], and Roll Over Beethoven [3:54 to 4:58] and in that order. Of interest is that the songs in the mix are sometimes edited and rearranged, with the most noteable section being sections from Beethoven's Fifth Symphony that are used to end the song Roll Over Beethoven are used to begin the sample in this mix, then the normal guitar that starts the song and the first verse, then a section of the chorus, then the Beethoven's Fifth Symphony ending is repeated to end the mix. The same mix is on both sides of the 12" single. The remix is by two Spanish DJs, calling themselves "Rebeldes Sin Pausa" (which translates to English as "Rebels Without Pause").

    Sweet Talkin' Woman (Los Angeles, May 2001)

    This page is intended to be a complete record of information on the Electric Light Orchestra song Sweet Talkin' Woman. If you notice any errors or omissions, please contact me at elofan@juno.com and let me know. I strive for accuracy.

    Robert Porter
    October 2014