Electric Light Orchestra · 10538 Overture

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.


From Songfacts

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.

10538 Overture

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

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

18 thoughts on “Electric Light Orchestra · 10538 Overture”

  1. I love ELO. I also loved The Move. They had a song on one of their albums called ‘Beautiful Daughter’ which you can certainly hear the future ELO. Great stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like The Move also. I’ve been listening to more of them over the past year or so. I really like Roy Wood’s music.


  2. I don’t think I’ve heard that one before. Not their best, but they certainly developed into one of the decade’s best quickly. Really like ELO’s singles through the 70s.
    Different topic — are you one happy Blue-and-white fan today? Betts and Price to LA… didn’t give up quite as much as I thought they would need to.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That intro is a preview on what was to come.

      Oh yes I am… The reason they didn’t have to give up more is because of taking Price’s salary…and they are still under the tax cap.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yeah, Price is probably badly overpaid now but still good news for you guys. He should be at least as good as Maeda, maybe better and of course Betts is a huge addition. Shows the fans LA mean to win this season.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh Boston is picking up at least half of Prices salary so actually now he is about right for a starting pitcher…
        Hopefully no DH and Dodger Stadium will helps his numbers.


  3. The word magnificent comes to mind when I hear ELO. Their music is complex and yet remains reachable. Their lyrics herald the human condition without apology. Jeff Lynne is one of the greats.

    Liked by 3 people

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