35 years after its first appearance, Electric Light Orchestra’s Secret Messages is returning to vinyl in a new edition moving closer to founder Jeff Lynne’s original vision for the album. On August 3, Legacy Recordings will reissue Secret Messages on double 150-gram vinyl restoring all but one of the tracks which were cut from the original LP release. Alas, that outtake – the near-legendary “Beatles Forever” – is still missing in action.
1983’s Secret Messages was originally conceived by producer-writer Lynne as a 2-LP set, but the idea was torpedoed by a cautious record label. Accordingly, Lynne reimagined the record, removing numerous songs from the final running order. Of these, “Buildings Have Eyes” emerged as a single B-side to the title track “Secret Messages,” and “After All” (in a different, longer edit) was released as the flipside of the top 20 hit “Rock ‘N’ Roll is King.” “Mandalay,” “No Way Out” and “Hello My Old Friend” were first released on the band’s 1990 Afterglow box set. The Roy Orbison-inspired “Endless Lies” (re-recorded for 1986’s Balance of Power) was added to the 2001 CD reissue of Secret Messages. Still other songs were tweaked for the single-LP version of Secret Messages. Adding to the confusion, “Time After Time” was included only on the original CD and cassette releases, though it was available on vinyl via the “Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King” maxi-single.
It’s unknown whether the upcoming LP will restore the original edits of the songs from the double Secret Messages, though the sequence matches Lynne’s original concept for the album minus the affectionate homage “Beatles Forever” which reportedly would have been slotted between “No Way Out” and “Letter from Spain” on Side B. The track titles show, however, that the original, shorter “Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King” titled “Motor Factory/Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King” is here, so it’s likely that the originally-intended versions will be utilized.
The remastered and expanded Secret Messages is due on vinyl from Legacy on August 3 and can be pre-ordered at the links below!
- Secret Messages
- Loser Gone Wild
- Take Me On and On
- No Way Out
- Letter from Spain
- Danger Ahead
- Four Little Diamonds
- Train of Gold
- Endless Lies
- Buildings Have Eyes
- Motor Factory/Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King
- Time After Time
- After All
- Hello My Old Friend
LP 1, Track 6 and LP 2, Tracks 6 & 9 first released on Afterglow, Epic Z3K 46090, 1990
LP 2, Track 3 from Secret Messages, Epic EK 85424, 2001
LP 2, Track 4 from Jet single A 3720, 1983
LP 2, Track 7 from Jet maxi-single TA 3500, 1983