Armchair Theatre

Armchair Theatre

After helping his friends George Harrison and Tom Petty release successful solo albums in the late '80s—and then being a member of their supergroup Traveling Wilburys—the next step was for Jeff Lynne to go solo. The Electric Light Orchestra leader released Armchair Theatre in 1990, though it paled in commercial success compared to the aforementioned projects. But there was much more to Lynne’s solo debut than was reflected in the charts. The opening single, “Every Little Thing,” was only a slight departure from ELO. It features acoustic strumming accompanied by British Invasion–inspired guitar leads, Phil Spector–esque orchestral arrangements, wall-to-wall vocal harmonies, and a deep love for that old-time rock ‘n’ roll (replete with a nod to Smokey Robinson & The Miracles’ “Going to a Go-Go”). With Harrison contributing guitar parts and his instantly recognizable vocals, “Lift Me Up” is another album standout, especially with a near-confectionary chorus that’s nostalgically reminiscent of ELO’s Out of the Blue.

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