ELO / Secret Messages 2LP vinyl

Double vinyl available for the first time, as originally conceived.

Secret Messages, the Electric Light Orchestra‘s (ELO) 1983 album will be reissued as a double vinyl set in August reinstating a number of ‘missing’ tracks 35 years after Jeff Lynne was forced to omit them in order in order to deliver a single album to the record label.

There are six tracks here presented on vinyl for the first time including Hello My Old Friend and Endless Lies. The latter was included on 1986’s Balance of Power in an alternate version. Some of the missing tracks ended up as B-sides and reappeared on the Afterglow box set in 1990

Secret Messages will be reissued as an expanded 2LP vinyl set on 3 August 2018.

Side 1

  • 1. Secret Messages
  • 2. Loser Gone Wild
  • 3. Bluebird
  • 4. Take Me On and On

Side 2

  • 1. Stranger
  • 2. No Way Out
  • 3. Letter from Spain
  • 4. Danger Ahead

Side 3

  • 1. Four Little Diamonds
  • 2. Train of Gold
  • 3. Endless Lies
  • 4. Buildings Have Eyes
  • 5. Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King

Side 4

  • 1. Mandalay
  • 2. Time After Time
  • 3. After All
  • 4. Hello My Old Friend

SuperDeluxeEdition.com helps fans around the world discover physical music and discuss releases. To keep the site free, SDE participates in various affiliate programs, including Amazon and earns from qualifying purchases.


Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I have to say after my second Amazon delivery because of a warped 1st LP and receiving ANOTHER minor warped LP. I JUST cracked and listened. I really think the sound quality is superb. Great to hear everything (Except Beatles forever) and the original version of endless lies that was intended for this album in its original glory as opposed to the cut version on Balance was truly a treat! Being a ELO fanatic for many years this is forgiveness for the 40th anniversary OOTB picture disk travesty of last year. I’m happy over all…. a lil booklet of photos from the studio… ie unreleased images would have been a nice addition… but hey! Maybe we fans should design the next rerelease! Stop complaining and enjoy! Roll on Belfast in Oct!


What a disappointment! Ok, we did know there is no “Beatles Forever”, but the rest of this release is minimal effort, too. No padded inner sleeves, marginal text, no lyrics (the original had an inner sleeve with printed lyrics and nice design). Yes, you get a download, but only MP3, hmm. For me this is typical for ELO re-releases, a taste of a half glass empty …


I’d love to disagree with your assessment, but I also felt rather let down by the product as well. On a positive note, the MP3 files are at 320kbps…but lossless would have been a preferred choice.

I only bought this vinyl issue as there was no option of a CD version. I think I read on this site that a download code could/would be included, so I took the chance.


Totally agree with you, although I must say the vinyl sounds very clear and is quiet. Seems a great pressing.

Wayne Olsen

Jeff left it off because he didn’t want people to think that ELO was too Beatles influenced. Besides, Dave Clark 5 Forever was a much better song, and Jeff could find more words that rhyme with five. Why isn’t it included? Waaaa.


Beatles for never

Frank Zerr

I have read that there will be a Download-Code in it. So we can make a Cd .


I have the CD.
Just received it today.
Im in the USA, and its an Import.
Sounds great.
Uniquely Jeff, always melodic, and there are, as usual, some Jewels in the collection of songs.

Buy it from the Amazon – USA site, if you can’t find it where you are, currently.


Derek Langsford

I think you are mistaken. The newly expanded, 17-track, vinyl version has no CD release. It is available on vinyl, Spotify, and iTunes, and maybe other streaming services but there is no physical digital version.

The original 11-track CD version was expanded to 14 with the remaster in 2001. The 17 track version (missing Beatles Forever) is vinyl only and it looks like there’s a download code for a lossy version with it as well.


… and if the absence of BEATLES FOREVER was just a misprint on this page?
LOL :-)

william mckinley

So, would this be considered an expanded, expanded edition of the original?

Bill Hammell

We need a CD edition (also a 5.1! ;)
Include Beatles Forever as a “hidden track”! :)

Derek Langsford

I’d like to hear the earlier albums in 5.1 (have their first in 4.1) but I have heard Lynne doesn’t like 5.1 and the tapes have been lost for at least Out of the Blue. I had thought as Sony helped develop DSD that the ELO catalogue might have seen the light of day in 5.1 but no.


amen to that


yes Cd please


..One of my favourite albums period.
Put this ‘Extended Version’ together years ago once i’d figured out where to look. Has anyone mentioned if Four little diamonds has the “Hows It Go?” intro?
Beatles Forever.. hmm.. Is everybody slagging it off because were all probably listening to the same poor quality bootleg version and if you just squeeze it in between No Way Out and Letter from Spain it hasn’t got the same sonic musical depth as the rest of the released tracks.
I’ve also got another couple of tracks to chuck in, ‘Let It Run’ and ‘Video’ Can’t remember why I included these.


I’m hoping the correct longer mix of Four Little Diamonds (with the additional “how’s it go?” speech at the beginning) is used, plus the short version of After All rather than the considerably extended variation that was first issued as the b-side to Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King and is currently the only version to have ever been officially released. Also, it will be interesting to see if Hello My Old Friend has the full “welcome to the show” ending instead of fading out, as it did when included on the Afterglow boxed set. In addition to the absence of Beatles Forever, I fear there are so many details about this upcoming release that could bring it further from Jeff Lynne’s original intention… I’ve not even started on the artwork, which was completely different to that of the eventual single LP edition, later being reworked for a somewhat rare poster.

Sooner Or Later, Let It Run and Video! were technically Lynne solo tracks recorded with Richard Tandy for the Electric Dreams movie at some point between June 1983 and September 1984, when ELO reunited for what became their final group project together, Balance Of Power. While the overall style of Sooner Or Later in particular serves as a clue to the musical approach Lynne would take on the aforementioned last ELO album, the other two definitely fit in more with Secret Messages, and I’ve previously used them in place of a high quality copy of Beatles Forever. Indeed, you could argue that they’re more than appropriate for this purpose, since Video! recycles elements from Beatles Forever. To end on a related note, I’d love to see all three contributions to Electric Dreams given the remastering treatment along with a further instrumental mix of Video! that remains exclusive to that song’s 12″ maxi single, not to mention Sooner Or Later has never been released digitally. While I’m at it, how about a long overdue digital release for the Xanadu era b-side, Drum Dreams, as well?


In addition to the extended Four Little Diamonds you mentioned, I’m hoping we’ll get the correct (US single edit) of Rock ‘N’ Roll Is King so that its eventual LP tag – the “welcome to the show” section – can be correctly restored to the end of Hello My Old Friend, a song originally to have been connected to a shorter mix of After All that has since been replaced with its longer b-side variation. If the powers that be are willing to let this long overdue 2LP treatment hit shelves without Beatles Forever, it wouldn’t surprise me if at least one of these other tracks also ends up being different from what Jeff Lynne intended for the album back in early 1983 before it was reduced down to a single disc. As for Let It Run, Video! and the vinyl-exclusive Sooner Or Later, these were all recorded by Jeff with Richard Tandy for the Electric Dreams soundtrack in the months immediately following the completion of Secret Messages. While the overall style of Sooner Or Later is closer to ELO’s eventual last album together, Balance Of Power, I’ve used Video! in place of Beatles Forever on my own expanded editions of Secret Messages before since it recycled a few basic ideas from the earlier song. On that note, I’d love for Sooner Or Later and the instrumental version of Video! to finally receive the digital treatment, preferably on a rarities collection along with the Xanadu-era Drum Dreams.


Sorry about that – I wrote a shorter second reply because I didn’t think my first had sent… (My bad!)

Chris Squires

Hey Shard End. I had my car nicked in 1986, yellow mini metro, from Aston and it was found in Shard End. Only time I’ve been to Jeff’s stomping ground. World famous now of course up there with LA, New York, Amsterdam and Monte Carlo. But I never had me nicked car found in any of those lesser places.

John Bowen

Have you ever heard if there was a Lynne/Tandy demo for “Slipping Away,” which seemed to have been recorded by Dave Edmunds during the Secret Messages sessions? From what I can vaguely recall, Dave’s INFORMATION album was released in 1983, just prior to ELO’s album.


My understanding is that Jeff Lynne penned Slipping Away on request especially for the occasion of Dave Edmunds visiting in the middle of sessions for what became Secret Messages, though it’s possible this composition already existed (ELO didn’t exactly have a shortage of material at the time, with many previously undocumented outtakes first surfacing on the Flashback retrospective in 2000). Even if there wasn’t a demo, there’s still a good chance its author might have provided a guide vocal, and it should be noted that Edmunds’ brief trip to Wisseloord Studios in Hilversum lasted two days – on the second of these, he recorded a further song co-written with Mark Radice, which ended up as the title track of parent album Information.


You’ll need to keep ‘Afterglow’ for that ‘How’s it go?’ intro on ‘Four Little Diamonds’, it’s not on this new release.
I picked it up today and I’m listening to the download right now.


‘Let It Run’ and ‘Video’ were the off-cuts from BF hence maybe that’s why you included them in your ‘Extended Version’
Macca will never allow Jeff use the name cos its the most sacred word in the universe…no pun intended…
I agree Mark ranked in my Top 3 of all time…period

Derek Langsford

After 35 years of waiting for this I am pretty disappointed that a track has been left off, and even more so, there is no CD release. IMO, ELO started to lose their magic after OoTB, but still to not have the full album as originally imagined and no physical digital version, means no sale for me.

I am trying to understand Lynne’s approach and not giving fans what they really want. The Wembley or Bust! set fell short with applause deleted out of the CD (removing the feel of a concert when each CD had ample room), and no 5.1, talking over the intro to Standing in the Rain, too much footage of the mostly middle-aged audience embarrassing themselves, and documentaries interspersed on the Blu-ray.

Chris Squires

Hmm. I am a massive ELO fan, I think until the recent small resurgence of interest they were one of the most critically under-rated bands of their generation. I am so glad they have had an mini abba-esque rise from the ashes. I just wish Bev and the boys could be part of it.

I don’t see what the fuss is about with Beatles Forever. It’s a crap song. Genuinely crap. Not just bad but awful. Kudos to Jeff for sticking to his guns and ignoring those who “Love” ELO but throw they toys out the pram when they don’t get exactly what they feel entitled to.

Neil Parnell wrote the perfect one liner on the recent Soft Cell Keychains…thread.

‘This looks amazing…..oh there’s one track missing….lets not bother then”….insert facepalm gif here.

Derek Langsford

The lack of Beatles Forever wouldn’t stop me buying a CD version of this LP release. The lack of a CD is a bigger issue.

I would have liked to view this release more as an attempt to correct the historical record for this album rather than a 2018 reinterpretation of what he thinks it should have been. I still hope to see a CD version with Beatles Forever finally restored to the album.

Rick Miller

I agree, “Beatles Forever” is embarrassing.
Didn’t they record a surf version of zone Grieg piano concerto during the Secret Messages sessions? Maybe Mr Lynne should have included that on the vinyl re-issue. One of my all-time ELO faves!


The not so Secret Message is that CD buyers can eff off.

I will keep an eye on CDJapan though, I reckon there might be a Japanese CD of this.

Daniel ( from Berlin )

no interest without the “beatles forever” track.

Ben Williams

I am very, very happy about this release – but would have liked a CD release too – it could easily fit onto 1 CD (especially without the Beatles track) so that would have been nicer on my wallet.. and I do love listening to music in the car – unless this comes with mp3 download?

The Afterglow compilation is long deleted and so to have those exclusive tracks and Buildings Have Eyes on CD/digital would be great. But I’ll have to wait until the CD revival in 2030 for that maybe!

Four Little Diamonds is in my top 3 ELO tracks – just saying!


Interesting…if there is a digital download with the vinyl I could be tempted, but ideally I’d prefer a CD release.


don’t worry the 2lp as intended will probably be released in 2023 for the 40th anniversary…


Regardless of the quality of Beatles Forever, this double-album will not be “as originally conceived” without it.

Benjamin Adams

Has anyone mentioned yet that “Beatles Forever” isn’t included?

I’m here all week, folks! Try the veal!


I’m hearing that there is no CD guys only vinyl and digital.
Really disappointed that Beatles Forever will not be included. I actually like the song but even if I didn’t its simply not the double we all wanted without it. Its a record company cash grab. No more no less. With no CD the only way to hold the physical product is by buying the more expensive vinyl. Id have no problem with the vinyl if it was the full intended holly grail double. As it is I’m thinking long and hard about purchasing.


Who needs this, as long as the real original intended version won‘t be released. I‘ll pass it


I can imagine he’s not proud of the lyrics. I’m Dutch and it looks like an English school essay a 15 year old student from the Netherlands would write. (And I’m a big ELO-fan…)

Courtesy of MetroLyrics:

There’s something about a beatles’ song, that lives forever more
The beauty of the harmonies, the sound of the Fab Four
All their music will live on and on, John ‘n’ Paul, George and Ringo
They really taught the world to sing

Beatles forever, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Beatles forever, All you need is love, yeah yeah yeah
Beatles forever, I wanna hold your hand wooh
Beatles forever, hey Jude and Revolution, number nine

‘Cause when you feel the beat, you’ve gotta move your feet
You get the rhythm’n’blues, and a pretty tune
Rock’n’roll eternity, that started out as Merseybeat


Release that and Jeff’s a shoe-in for the Nobel Prize for Literature 2018.

Mike the Fish

This was mooted by Rob Caiger years ago, I believe. Wow! Shame, but not surprising it’s missing Beatles… Hope it’s nicely segued with correct versions. Looking forward to hearing Hello My Old Friend on the album.


If Beatles Forever is really ‘dreadful and embarrassing’, why would anyone want to have it included? Good call, Jeff!


In addition to Beatles Forever being absent* from this highly anticipated 2LP edition of Secret Messages, there’s no mention of whether it will contain the originally intended gatefold sleeve and correct mixes – I suspect the upcoming version won’t be faithful to either vintage test pressings or artwork proofs known to be in the possession of collectors…

*The problem isn’t one of licensing The Beatles’ name or even paying royalties for the musical “quotations” contained in this song, but is rather because Jeff Lynne simply doesn’t like the resulting piece (which he quickly reworked into Video! for the Electric Dreams soundtrack, only without the somewhat embarrassing lyrics of its earlier guise).


Finally!!!!! 35 years after justice has been done!!!!

Paul Kent

I mean, Beatles Forever is total pish which Lynne should, quite rightly, feel embarrassed about. But, at least be embarrassed about a newly remastered digital version of it than the atrocious nth-generation boot that is freely available on the interweb. It’s not as if those who care haven’t already heard it.

BF’s omission aside, it’s a huge disappointment that a variant of an album that means a hell of a lot to, and has been dreamed of for decades by, all ELO fans will not get a CD release. Fine, if it is simply the missing tracks slotted in, but not if it has been newly mastered with originally jettisoned segues, interludes and, yes, secret messages reinstated. Really, this is too important a release to not go all-out on.


I might just get this one.


No brainer to purchase.

Paul Wren

I’ve never heard of the missing “Beatles Forever” track until reading all these forum comments today – as always, I live and learn!!


so from reading the comments i take it Beatles forever is not on this ;-)


Guys, guys, guys…The omission of “Beatles Forever” has the key to it not being released in the title: “Beatles”. Licensing that would certainly be a nightmare. Otherwise, Jeff – who isn’t miserly – would certainly let it out.
And yes, I hope a CD version comes out, too.


He could have just re-titled the song ‘Beetles Forever’ and have had a little giggle with all the disappointed punters below.

Craig Hedges

What about The Beatles and The Stones by The House of Love, there was no issue there.

Volker Poetting

Too bad that “Beatles Forever” is missing. Should be on Side 2, track 3.
I have no idea why they omitted that song, highly requested by many ELO fans.


I thought the original version also included a track, I think it was called “Beatles Forever” that Jeff is embarrassed by but the fans really want. Bad bootlegs of the song, played at an ELO convention are out there. Too bad he couldn’t just let that out too.


The big omission is the track Beatles Forever which was supposed to be between No Way Out and Letter From Spain. Jeff is obviously never going to let it see the light of day. There was also supposed to have been a different cover, and it’s a pity they haven’t gone with that.

I wonder how much tinkering Jeff has done with this or is it just a “mixtape” of all the already circulating tracks?

It’s also my least favourite ELO album. All that aside, of course I’m going to buy it! Why wouldn’t I?!?


Great news! A CD version would be nice, too!


Hoping for an additional CD release of the originally intended double album.


And yet this release does not present the 2LP version as originally delivered to the record company, as it omits ELO’s dreadful and embarrassing tribute song “Beatles Forever”.


The original 2LP track listing was supposed to include a song called “Beatles Forever.” C’mon Jeff, fans have been waiting, well, FOREVER, to hear it! A shame that it’s not included. Will there be a CD version?

Larry Davis

Cool news!! Now a companion CD would be great…a deluxe SDE of 1 or 2 discs to mirror the vinyl…with more bonus tracks than now…


No Beatles Forever though!


Brilliant news, although I see ‘Beatles Forever’ has been omitted. Should have appeared between ‘No Way out’ and ‘Letter From Spain’ according to legend…

Any news of it being released on CD as well?


There was also supposed to be the track “Beatles Forever” in the middle of side 2. Is it not being included?


Great news!

Paul S

Still no Beatles forever which is a shame


This is a must buy for all ELO fans. Never thought I would see this in any format


Excellent. Let’s have a coloured vinyl at some point for consistency please.


Any word from Sony as to whether there will be a CD or hi-rez download available as well?

cecil meulenberg

Still there is talk about another missing track, like a Beatles tribute.
And, will there be a CD release as well? And remastered, please?


Really pleased about this long overdue release. Sadly ‘Beatles Forever’ is not included as Jeff Lynne is apparently now less than fond of its lyrics. That aside – can’t wait!

Chris Squires

Woo-hoo Japan and ELO in one week.

That’s more like it, no disrespect to Rick intended.