With any slate of back catalogue reissues, you’re already running the risk of the consumer saying “been there, done that.” But it takes talent to achieve the same effect when it comes to the added-value bonus material. Maybe that’s a little unfair; as with the other ELO remasters to date, 1973’s On The Third Day has never sounded better. The apocalyptic-sounding fusion of strings and the closest ELO ever came to heavy metal positively sparkles, and the liner notes finally give a little bit of insight into the making of the album; with its bizarre, quasi-Biblical themes, Third Day has never ceased to fascinate me. It’s territory ELO hadn’t ventured into before, and never ventured into again.
Now here’s the problem: like a great many other things covered on this site, ELO has a strong cult following. Its fans snatch up any release that holds the promise of previously unheard material from any era of the group’s classic repertoire. This isn’t really a problem until you realize that almost all of the “bonus tracks” attached to this re-release have been heard before. The various early takes and mixes of “Ma-Ma-Ma Belle” and “Dreaming Of 4000” were included on the 2-disc UK reissue of Electric Light Orchestra II (and, before that, on an early 90s compilation called Early ELO), and so too was the previously unreleased (and still very Dylanesque) song “Everyone’s Born To Die”. The em>only really “new” track here is a wild track of various orchestral interludes which were eventually mixed in between songs on the original album – so it’s not that you haven’t heard them before, you just haven’t heard them on their own.
It’s not a total disappointment, since not everyone will have gotten that UK import (and since those bonus tracks didn’t show up on the North American version of the ELO II remaster), but aside from some nice liner notes and a sharper sound, hardcore ELO fans won’t find much new here that they haven’t heard already.
- Ocean Breakup / King Of The Universe (4:07)
- Bluebird Is Dead (4:42)
- Oh No, Not Susan (3:07)
- New World Rising / Ocean Breakup Reprise (4:05)
- Showdown (4:09)
- Daybreaker (3:51)
- Ma-Ma-Ma Belle (3:56)
- Dreaming Of 4000 (5:04)
- In The Hall Of The Mountain King (6:37)
- Auntie (Ma-Ma-Ma Belle Take 1) (1:19)
- Auntie (Ma-Ma-Ma Belle Take 2) (4:05)
- Mambo (Dreaming Of 4000 alternate mix) (5:05)
- Everyone’s Born To Die (3:43)
- Interludes (3:40)
Released by: Epic / Legacy
Release date: 2006 (originally released in 1973)
Total running time: 57:30