ELO – The Diary of Horace Wimp

This was a song off of the Discovery album released in 1979. I got this album from Columbia House. When I recieved the album this song first caught my attention because of the name and the song lived up to it.

This was recorded at the Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany. Jeff Lynne sang the lead vocals, played lead and rhythm guitar, the piano and the synthesizer.

Jeff stream lined ELO. He started by trimming the lineup to a foursome also featuring drummer Bev Bevan, keyboardist Richard Tandy and bassist Kelly Groucutt. Discovery became the first ELO project without an orchestral component.

ELO engineer Reinhold Mack suggested doing away with the choirs and strings that the production usually had. Jeff Lynn aso started to listen to the Bee Gee’s production and Voilà … ELO were venturing into disco.

The Diary of Horrace Wimp peaked at #8 in the UK Charts in 1979. The Album Discovery peaked at #5 in the Billboard Album Charts, #3 in Canada, #1 in the UK, and #2 in New Zealand.

Jeff Lynne: “I just lost my way, totally,””In the beginning, ELO was supposed to be very avant-garde, very off the wall. And then, once I started having hits, it drifted from that. Suddenly, the record companies and managers were clamoring for hits. And I tried to cater to the fuckers. And it grew into this monstrous thing that I didn’t want. I got to feel trapped, and I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on. It was a fuckin’ drag.”

Jeff Lynne: “Having a 30-piece string section was fine for the first three times, albums-wise,” Lynne told the Quietus in 2015. “I’d be going, ‘Oh great! Strings today!’ But after that, it became, ‘Oh, strings today. So fed up with these fucking strings.'”

The Diary of Horace Wimp

Late again today, he’d be in trouble though he’d say he was sorry, he’d have to hurry out to the bus

Horace was so sad, he’d never had a girl that he could care for, and if he was late once more, he’d be out

Don’t be afraid, just knock on the door,
Well he just stood there mumblin and fumblin’
Then a voice from above said-
Horace wimp,this is your life,
Go out and find yourself a wife,
Make a stand and be a man,
And you will have a great life plan

Horace met a girl, she was small and she was very pretty, he thought he was in love, he was afraid

Asks her for a date, the café dowm the street tomorrow evening, his head was reeling, when she said Yes, O K

Don’t be afraid, just knock on the door,
Well he just stood there mumblin’ and fumblin’
Then a voice from above said-
Horace wimp,this is your life,
Go out and find yourself a wife,
Make a stand and be a man,
And you will have a great life plan

Horace, this is it, he asks the girl if maybe they could marry, when she says gladly,
Horace cries

Everybody’s at the church, when Horace rushes in and says Now here comes my wife,for the rest of my life, and she did

Don’t be afraid, just knock on the door,
Well he just stood there mumblin and fumblin’
Then a voice from above said-
Horace wimp,this is your life,
Go out and find yourself a wife,
Make a stand and be a man,
And you will have a great life plan

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

32 thoughts on “ELO – The Diary of Horace Wimp”

  1. I’m a huge ELO fan, Max. I love them. The production. The musicianship. The hooks. The mashup of Rock, Pop, Soul and Disco. The strong Beatle influence. It’s formula, but it is their unique formula. I can see why a Beatle superfan like yourself would appreciate the glorious voice harmony of this song…I’m not a fan of this one, but that’s just me.

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    1. I got the album when I was around 12-14 and it stuck with me. Lynn writes such fine pop songs and then adds those ornaments with each one. If you stripped all of the effects away…you would still have a good pop song underneath.

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      1. No. I looked them up though. Creature Feature, I’m assuming you are referring to the band…never heard of them until now. Sir Cecil Creape… I watched something, it was in the late 80s though, and it was local…very early in the morning…it was quite excellent, comedy, along the lines of Fernwood Tonight…but Sir Cecil Creape?…no. I wish I was hip to it. It sounds like something I could get into.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh Creature Feature was a special in the 70s with Sir Cecil Creape as a host on Channel 4 for horror movies. I’m doing a post on him Thursday…and he came back in the 80s to do TNN to do the same thing.

        He was corny mostly appealing to college students to grade school kids. I wasn’t sure if you caught him or not.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I don’t think so. I got here in 87 and if I saw something like that I would have no idea what I was watching. Ha! That’s cool. I’m looking forward to your post.
        A little left of field topic wise, I’m sure you remember Ernest Angley…the preacher…oh my goodness!…my husband and I caught his show one morning when we first got here…WOW! That’s all I’m going to say…it was different.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Oh ok…well there goes that plan! I thought you might be the only person who would know…yea 87 was too late.

        Oh YES!!! “You are HEALED” …I went to high school we would do that constantly. Very different. Thanks for bringing him up! That brought back memories and a laugh.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Yes I am…I live near Pleasant View and grew up in Ashland City. I’m glad I found someone on here who remembers. I’m posting it tomorrow and I don’t think many will.
        I don’t remember the original run but I remember channel 4 had reruns at times with his show in the mid to late seventies.

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  2. It’s maybe a sign of ageing … but I was never into ELO as a youngster. I was so engrossed with Punk at the time, I think. But since Jeff Lynne’s ‘comeback’ if you ike, @ 10 years ago, I guess, I’ve totallly discovered just how good, clever and inventive the band’s music is. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes I can totally understand that. I was 12 when this came out and didn’t know much about punk…plus I’m a super Beatles fan. I got into punk a little later. Lynn can write a great pop song.

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  3. oh yeah! I had forgotten about this one but like you, I had that album and thought it was a fantastic song back then. Now, doesn’t rank with one of their best but it’s still kind of likable and a pretty nice little story in three minutes.

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  4. Love this track, quirky and sweet and sticking up for all self identifying wimps of which i was vey much one at the time. Jeff could fo no wrong for me, i loved the avante garde 19538 overture and i loved every single and album. Discovery continued the peak of out of the blue for me. Thought he went off the boil around secret messages and didnt get his mojo back proper till Wilbury Beatles times. The recent ELO stuff has been a bonus joy after decades of slagging off that ELO endured. People get too wrapped up in what sounds are currently fashionable and dismiss old stuff as sounding old. They were always only runners up to Abba for me during the 70s and early 80s 🙂

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    1. I had tickets to see the new ELO in 2019 but a kidney stone stopped my plans. With his songs…you can take off the extra things he builds his songs with….strip it back and you still have a great pop song.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a lesser known ELO song for me, but such a sweet story in the lyrics. I’m still sad for you that you couldn’t go to the show in 2019. Hopefully they will come around again, once Covid no longer threatens to derail tours.

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    1. ELO and Queen…that is some heaving producing with their music…layers and layers of overdubs.
      I just read about Chris Thomas today…he worked with Queen and I forgot about tihs but he worked with the Beatles also…When George Martin wasn’t around.

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  6. ELO are an interesting band, in my book. Many of their tunes feel like Phil Spector’s wall of sound on steroids and/or have other weird elements, yet oftentimes, they are very catchy and well-crafted pop songs: Strange Magic! I frequently feel similar about Queen. That being said, I generally dig both groups!

    I got “Discovery” when it came out – one of my first vinyl records as a 12-year-old. That album was very popular in Germany. “Shine a Little Love”, “Confusion” and “Don’t Bring Me Down” received lots of radio play.

    Admittedly, I didn’t recall “The Diary of Horace Wimp” based on the title, but once I started listening, I remembered it right away. The track that follows, “Last Train to London,” is one hell of a catchy song. Dang it, now that I remembered that tune, it’s probably gonna be stuck in my brain for the rest of the night! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was 12 years old and the title just got me. I had to listen to it and loved it. Now it isn’t in my top ELO songs now but I just had to post it.
      Yes you are right….Queen and ELO had some in common…layer after layer of over dubs!

      I loved this album…after this my intrest waned after Xanadu but they still came out with a song every once in a while that I liked.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was a huge ELO fan back in the day, and pretty much loved all their singles. I bought their album “Out of the Blue”, as I passionately loved “Sweet Talkin’ Woman” and “Night in the City”. And though I really liked the singles “Shine a Little Love”, Last Train to London” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”, I never listened to the entire “Discovery” album, so never heard “The Diary of Horace Wimp”. Seven or eight years ago, I purchased a bunch of their songs on iTunes and created my own ‘ELO’s Greatest Hits’ CD, something I’ve also done for such artists as Coldplay, the Bee Gees, Dionne Warwick & Petula Clark.

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