ELO – Showdown

This was ELO’s third single. The song was on the album On the Third Day in the US…it was released in 1973.

Showdown was written by Jeff Lynne. Early working titles of the song were Bev’s Trousers and All Over The World. Some of these songs have been released on various ELO collections, some using these original working titles and some not. They don’t vary much from the released version, having just various parts of the song mixed in or out as Jeff experimented with different mixes

The song peaked at #53 in the Billboard 100, #12 in the UK, and #47 in Canada in 1973.

The record was a favorite of John Lennon at the time, who dubbed the band “Son of Beatles” in a US radio interview (below is his full quote).

John Lennon on on the New York City radio station WNEW:“‘Showdown’ I thought was a great record and I was expecting it to be #1 but I don’t think UA [United Artists] got their fingers out and pushed it. And it’s a nice group – I call them ‘Son of Beatles’ – although they’re doing things we never did, obviously. But I remember a statement they made when they first formed was to carry on from where the Beatles left off with ‘Walrus,’ and they certainly did. This is a beautiful combination of ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’ by Marvin Gaye and ‘Lightnin’ Strikes’ by Lou Christie, and it’s a beautiful job with a little ‘I Am The Walrus’ underneath.”

Jeff Lynne: “On the early songs like ‘Showdown,’ we were still trying to find our way musically, but I can still listen to these tracks and smile and think how important they seemed at the time, even though at some of our shows we outnumbered the audience!”

From Songfacts

The liner notes for the ELO 2 remastered CD state: “‘Showdown’ was initially recorded under the working title ‘Bev’s Trousers No. 7.’ The song later proved to be a favorite of John Lennon’s and a popular departure into R&B (with cellos) for the band. During these sessions, Marc Bolan was also in the studio, recording material. The UK superstar and chart phenomenon was a friend of Jeff’s from his Idle Race days and accepted an invitation to play guitar on three ELO tracks. Marc also lent Jeff his 1953 Gibson Firebird for Showdown’s guitar solo. ‘Showdown’ was Jeff Lynne’s first self-composed worldwide hit single and ELO’s final release for EMI on 14 September 1973. The original promotional film, featuring an ELO performance on the banks of the River Thames, survives in EMI’s archive.”

Artists to cover this song include Odia Coates, Asia, and The Cadets.


She cried to the Southern wind
About a love that was sure to end
Every dream in her heart was gone
Heading for a showdown

Bad dreamer, what’s your name?
Looks like we’re riding on the same train
Looks as though there’ll be more pain
There’s gonna be a showdown.

And it’s raining, all over the world
it’s raining, all over the world
Tonight, the longest night

She came to me like a friend
She blew in on the Southern wind
Now my heart is turned to stone again
There’s gonna be a showdown

Save me, oh save me
It’s unreal, the suffering
There’s gonna be a showdown

And it’s raining, all over the world
Raining, all over the world
Tonight, the longest night

Raining, raining
raining, raining

Raining, all over the world
Raining, all over the world
The longest night

And it’s raining, all over the world
Raining, all over the world
Tonight, the longest night

You gotta save me, girl
Well, I’m ready for saving
I’m a fool for you
Ya know I’m ready, yeah
come on and save me

Can’t you feel what you’re doing to me, now?
I’m on the run again
Gotta save me

Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

26 thoughts on “ELO – Showdown”

    1. I’m the same…it’s a shame that Lynne and Lennon never got to work together. He seems to be the first one to say something about them.


  1. Adore this record, along with the first single 10538 Overture. Lennon was absolutely right of course, it’s totally Grapevine on Beatles orchestral backing, but Jeff was never one not to reference the greats while making something fabulous. They did sort-of work together on Free As A Bird and Real Love. John would most likely have approved.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed. I kind of get the feeling that “if” the Beatles got back together at some point in the ’70s or ’80s, Jeff Lynne might have been one of them, which might have turned out some good stuff.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. it’s great that Lennon liked them enough to make those remarks. I think of ELO as being a late-70s and early 80s band. I remember when this song was on the radio, but wouldn’t have guessed it was so early in the 70s. Wow.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I hear shades of their songs “All Over the World” and “Last Train to London” on this song. I’ve loved ELO since 1975, when they released “Can’t Get It Out of My Head”. I have their album “Out of the Blue” and also purchased a ton of their songs on iTunes to burn my own ELO’s greatest hits CD.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I joined Columbia House when I was a teenager and I got all of their 70’s albums through them…you are right about those other songs…I hear them also.

      Liked by 1 person

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