January 27th, 2020 – Diamonds but Not Rough

This band has been around since since 1970-71 with a unique concept -classical arrangements with multiple stringed instruments, a futuristic theme, with a not so subtle nod to The Beatles.

I personally played many of their heyday albums out until the grooves disappeared. Then for some strange reason, nothing. I didn’t seek out new music. I didn’t play the old music. I remember seeing a live concert on PBS or some pay channel back in the 80’s. It was not their best sound. Then came the Wiburys. That pretty much cured me of all things Jeff Lynne. I definitely needed a break.

Electric Light Orchestra – “Four Little Diamonds”

So every once in a while I’ll hear a tune and it will take me back to the good times. This one found its way onto my playlist.

The 70’s and 80’s were ELO‘s most successful years with 14 of those years producing 27 top 40 singles, 15 climbing into the top 20 in Billboard and sales of 50 million records worldwide. Interestingly the band has the distinction of holding the record for most top 40 Billboard hits without one of them making it to number 1.

This song fared worse than that. Released in September of 1983 on the album “Secret Messages” – “Four Little Diamonds” cracked the U.S. Billboard Top 100 and came to a screeching halt at 86. In the UK it squeaked out two more spots to land at 84. Written, produced and performed by the multi-talented Jeff Lynne along with bandmates Bev Bevan, Richard Tandy and Kelly Groucutt. I find this song quirky and fun from beginning to end and that is quite probably what Lynne intended.

The song found a second life in 2002 when it appeared in the soundtrack for the video game “Grand Theft Auto: Vice City“. Did anyone notice that little gem?

Lew Hastings

I used to think she was the greatest thing
I really cared, gave her a diamond ring
She said she’d rather die than ever leave me
Well I never saw her face since then
And if the law don’t get her then I will
Four little diamonds

She must be somewhere on the open road
She always said she was a lonely one
She gets you down with her tales of woe
She took me for everything
And if the law don’t get her then I will
Four little diamonds

I looked around I climbed up high into the dawn
But she was gone with the night
I thought about the things she said
And all the things we’d done
But where could she run
There’s just no answer to give

I keep wonderin’ about her, day and night
She probably thinks I was a fool- she’s right
She don’t know it
But I’m gonna keep on searchin’ for that woman
I’m gonna search everywhere
And if the law don’t get her then I will
Four little diamonds

I looked around I climbed up high into the dawn
But she was gone with the night
I thought about the things she said
And all the things we’d done
But where could she run- she ran away
There’s just no answer to give

I still hear her callin’ out to me
I still listen for her endlessly
But it never even crossed my mind she was a cheater
I gotta find where she hides
‘Cause if the law don’t get her then I will
Four little diamonds

Songwriters: Jeff Lynne Four Little Diamonds lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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