By ignoring the band's first two albums, the Roy Wood-dominated Electric Light Orchestra and the transitional ELO II, the 1979 singles compilation ELO's Greatest Hits presents a somewhat skewed vision of the band. Ironically, this revision has become the normative view of the band: slick, almost mechanical purveyors of undeniably catchy but somewhat soulless hit singles. "Evil Woman," "Showdown," "Turn to Stone," "Telephone Line," "Strange Magic" -- anyone who was anywhere near a radio in the latter half of the '70s knows them all by heart, whether they like them or not. But ELO's Greatest Hits does a far graver disservice to the Electric Light Orchestra's oeuvre. For some reason, the original vinyl LP sounded somewhat muffled and distant, as if the EQ was perceptibly off. The result is that while this is otherwise a fine survey of Jeff Lynne's most successful -- if not necessarily his best -- songs, it just doesn't sound very good.
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AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason