Strange Magic

Album: Face the Music (1975)
Charted: 38 14

Songfacts®:

  • Written by ELO frontman Jeff Lynne, "Strange Magic" is the sixth track on Electric Light Orchestra's fifth studio album Face the Music.

    By this time, the band had shifted their orchestral sound to make it brighter and more radio-friendly. The strategy paid off, as this song and "Evil Woman" were both big hits.
  • The song is about a captivating woman, but "Strange Magic" is also a good description for this song's sonics. Compressed to a tight 3:27 for the single release (it runs 4:29 on the album), the song packs in an intriguing array of harmonies and hooks while integrating the famous ELO string section. The lyric is suitably trippy, and very repetitious, with the title appearing five times per chorus.
  • The weepy-sounding guitar lick is provided courtesy of Richard Tandy, who was somehow persuaded to take his hands off his various keyboards to pick up a guitar. Normally, Tandy's array of Moog synth, clavinet, mellotron, and piano was so omnipresent that it led to the stereotype of prog-rock bands having a stack of keyboards onstage.
  • Some of you movie-music fans may cringe at this, but this song was also used in the 2007 stage production of Xanadu. Fear not, it was not part of the 1980 film soundtrack, although the soundtrack was the least of that film's problems... or so we're told.

    The Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, doubled as the set of "Xanadu."

Comments: 7

  • Bonney from OttawaCamille from Toronto; I too, was growing up in TO at that time; this song still haunts me...and I think I am still growing up, too! We have hooked up our stereo lately and so I've been playing this song over and over, just like 1976!
  • Matt from CarlsbadLos Angeles' Pan-Pacific Auditorium has no connection with Googie Arcitecture - non at all. Built in 1935, it was pure Art Deco. Art Deco is the joining of art and industry and Googie is architecture meets the space age as envisioned starting the early to mid 1950s.
  • Lacey from VaCamille in Toronto!! I agree!!! Strange Magic can transform one!! This song makes me smile and literally tingle with happiness. It almost makes me dizzy at times and I have to listen to it loud on Harman Kardon speakers in my car or with ear buds on my laptop. There are only a handful of songs that have ever had that perfect blend that just hearing them is an incredible experience... when the beat before they sing 'strange magic' hits, I know something amazing is coming... Ironically the chorus makes my mind swirl and while make a swirling sound making one envision the movement!! It's a brilliantly POWERFUL song and I LOVE IT!!!
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn June 25th 1976, the Electric Light Orchestra performed "Strange Magic" on the NBC-TV program 'The Midnight Special'...
    Three months earlier on March 7th, 1976 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #71; and on May 16th, 1976 it peaked at #14 (for 2 weeks) and spent 14 weeks on the Top 100...
    It reached #10 in France; they had 16 records that charted in France and all 16 made the Top 10...
    Between 1973 and 1986 the group had twenty-five Top 100 records; seven made the Top 10 with "Don't Bring Me Down" being their biggest hit, it peaked at #4 (for 2 weeks) on September 2nd, 1979.
  • Esskayess from Dallas, TxThanks for sharing the "Googie" link. I've always enjoyed that genre of architecture.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhWhat!?! Only one comment posted here?! This is SUCH a fabulous, hauntingly beautiful song; always takes me to the time in my life I was transitioning from teen-age-dom to adult-hood. Those lyrics "I'm never gonna BE the same again......" just explains how life's experiences as we continue to grow move us forward. It's just so mystical; perfect.
  • Bratt Pid from Algiers, Algeriathis song was also used in the excellent "virgin suicide" starring the delightful kirstin dunst in a very appropriate scene ,along with some Ann and Nancy Wilson classics (magic man ,crazy on you)
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