ELO – Sweet Talkin’ Woman

This song was on the Out of the Blue album. It edges toward disco a little but everything was at this time.

The song was originally called “Dead End Street” before Jeff Lynne decided he wasn’t happy, so he erased the vocal track and re-wrote the lyrics. Some words that survived from that version can be heard in the opening of the third verse, “I’ve been livin’ on a dead-end street.”

This song peaked at #17 in the Billboard 100, #16 in Canada and #6 in the UK in 1978.

Jeff Lynn: “It was a song called Dead End Street. 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.”

From Songfacts

This was a hit single from British pop rock band Electric Light Orchestra’s double album, Out of the Blue, recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany during the summer of 1977. The song finds ELO leader Jeff Lynne searching for the elusive sweet talkin’ woman. He asks everyone he knows where he can find her, and even calls the operator to ask about her whereabouts, but his search is fruitless. Seems she doesn’t want to be found.

The USA single release was ten seconds shorter than its British counterpart due to a slightly faster mix. It is not known whether it was purposely edited to help the song to get more airplay or a simple error due to the tape machine being run at the wrong speed.

Like several songs on Out of the Blue, this song made use of the Vocoder 2000. ELO were one of the first music acts to make extensive use of the vocoder, which could synthesize voice into a robotic sound.

Robert John “Mutt” Lange inadvertently ripped off this track when he wrote the Huey Lewis & the News song “Do You Believe In Love?,” for their 1982 Picture This album. The verses have the same melody and the lyrics of 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.”

Sweet Talkin’ Woman

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?)
Don’t know what I’m gonna do
I gotta get back to you

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

I was (walkin’), many days go by
I was thinkin’ (thinkin’) ’bout the lonely nights
Communication break down all around
(She’s gone so long)
What can I do?
(Where could she be now?)
No no no, don’t know what I’m gonna do
I gotta get back to you

You gotta slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
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

I’ve been livin’ on a dead-end street
I’ve been askin’ ev’rybody 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

Slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
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

Slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
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

Slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
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

Slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
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

Slow down (slow down), sweet talkin’ woman
You got me runnin’, you got me searchin’

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

20 thoughts on “ELO – Sweet Talkin’ Woman”

  1. Excellent song from one of the 70s best bands. Tough to pick a favorite by them but this one and “Telephone Line” would probably be leading contenders to me. Interesting how the US and UK versions were slightly different. I’ve noticed through the years hearing what seemed like slightly different versions of it – never consciously thought “this one’s going about 3% slower than normal” but I have gone “hmm- something’s just a bit different about this version.” That’s probably why.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have always liked this song…it was a good single. I mentioned it on your post but it has something in common with Do You Believe in Love…Mutt Lange took the first lines from this to his song.

      I never paid attention to the different speeds but I found the two versions…they are little different.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know…I haven’t either…he didn’t do it on purpose but it was there. There was no suing or anything.

        Like

  2. I love ELO and their Disco influences. They are so melodic. Their music, for me, anyway, has that certain quality that gives me goosebumps, sometimes. They performed a televised concert, fairly recently, probably about 2014. It was outdoors. Just ELO. I think it was in England. Thousands and thousands of people were there. Gorgeous light show. It was spectacular. They were amazing. Played all there hits. I just loved it.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wore the grooves off of this album back in the day. All I can think when I listen to it is a magic carpet ride into outer space. Seriously, it takes me to another place. I also love their white man ‘fros in the video.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ELO music to my ears oftentimes feels completely overproduced, sort of like The Beatles on steroids. At the same time, many of their songs are just brilliant with catchy melodies and great groove.

    Jeff Lynne is a very gifted songwriter and pretty solid guitarist. One performance that comes to mind is his kick-ass Chuck Berry tribute performance of “Roll Over Beethoven” at ELO’s 2017 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame – so much to watch!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Their motto was to start where I Am The Walrus left off…so coming from that angle…I see it but yes…Lynne can over produce at times.

      That is cool dude! They do rock it. Man I had tickets for ELO this past summer in July and I got my first and only kidney stone…had to miss it because the pain was way too much.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. If you like a good power pop album….he had a solo album called Armchair Theatre….it’s really good.
        From what my friends told me it was great. Yea my first and hopefully only kidney stone…had to stay in the hospital…worst pain ever.

        Liked by 1 person

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