This was the first song ELO recorded and released. Jeff Lynne wrote it when he was in a band called The Move. This prompted some members of The Move to go ahead with plans to create a new band with string instruments called The Electric Light Orchestra.
The song peaked at #9 in the UK in 1972.
The album was first released in the UK as Electric Light Orchestra. When it was released in the US a few months later, someone from their American Record company called to find out the name of the album but didn’t get through. That person wrote down “No Answer” on the paperwork, and that was accidentally used as the name of the US release.
Lynne wanted the lyrics to be about a man who had a number rather than a name.
1053 was the serial number of the desk Lynne used to write this. They added the 8 and included the word “Overture” to make it clear they were an orchestra.
Did you see your friend crying from his eyes today
Did you see him run through the streets and far away
Did you see him run, did you see him fall
Did his life flash by at the bedroom door
Did you hear the news it came across the air today
Someone has been found on the rocks down in the bay
Did you see him hide, did you see him crawl
Does his life mean more than it did before
Did you see that man running through the streets today
Did you catch his face, was it 10538