"Here is a lavish and outstanding box set that contains many of ELO's essential tracks, plus a few rarities and surprises. Most of the hits are here, such as "Can't Get It Out of My Head," "Evil Woman," "Strange Magic," "Livin' Thing," "Telephone Line," "Turn to Stone," "Don't Bring Me Down," and "Hold On Tight." However, some very pivotal "Top 40" hits are strangely absent, such as "Calling America," "I'm Alive," "All Over the World," "Last Train to London," "Confusion," and "Xanadu." Other FM or U.K. hits, such as "Daybreaker," "In the Hall of the Mountain King," "It's Over," "Wild West Hero," "Diary of Horace Wimp," "Secret Messages," and "Here is the News" also could have been included. Also, some of ELO's finest B-sides or rarities are missing, such as "Drum Dreams," "In Old England Town (Instrumental Version)," and "After All." The only way to really improve on this box would have been to add one more disc to include these and other tracks. Call me greedy! However, this really is a superb box, and is absolutely essential for any ELO fan or those who appreciate the finest in innovative and enjoyable art pop/rock. Some of the tracks previously unavailable in the U.S. make this box worth purchasing all on their own: the delicious "Julie Don't Live Here," the haunting "When Time Stood Still," the epics "Hello My Old Friend" and "Mandalay," the rockers "Bouncer" and "Destination Unknown," and the poppy "Buildings Have Eyes." If you don't have it yet, don't wait any longer!"
Essential for ELO fans, but only for 5 exclusive songs
Roy Wilbury | 02/06/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This set, released in 1990, has been surpassed by several other more recent ELO compilations, including 2000's 3-CD set "Flashback" (which benefits from vastly improved sound quality, direct input from Jeff Lynne himself, better track selection, and several previously unreleased tracks).
I'm surprised this "Afterglow" set is still in print. "Afterglow", though, is still a must-have for ELO fans because of the inclusion of tracks from the unreleased half of the aborted double album version of 1983's "Secret Messages." Lynne originally planned that 1983 album as a double album, but it was eventually released as a single album. "Afterglow" presents, by my best count off the top of my head, six of the rejected cuts from that album ("Hello My Old Friend", "Mandalay", "Buildings Have Eyes", "A Matter of Fact", "No Way Out", and "Destination Unknown").
The reason this set is still a must-have is because, for some reason, only one of those above-mentioned cuts ("No Way Out") was included on the 2001 remastered reissue of the "Secret Messages" album. That 2001 reissue included two additional bonus tracks as well ("Endless Lies" and "After All"). In any event, you need the "Afterglow" set for the five tracks that have not been released anywhere else.
I would only recommend "Afterglow" for those tracks, as everything else on the set can be found in better sound quality elsewhere. I'm surprised other reviewers question the track selection for the third disc of this set, as that disc is the only thing that makes the set of any consequence to ELO fans."
The afterglow is just a little bit dim
Roy Wilbury | 10/21/1999
(3 out of 5 stars)
"When this boxed set was advertized in Billboard the promise was that it had all the well known tracks. All the reviewers have already pointed out the missing singles from Xanadu, as well as Calling America from Balance of Power. What makes this box a more dubious purchase is the inconsistent sound quality. The tracks from Out of The Blue are atrocious. Turn To Stone, Mr. Blue Sky (which is offered in a single edit), and Sweet Talkin Woman sound as if a sheet was layed over the speakers. The sound quality is muffled and dim.The b-sides are a welcome addition. The booklet and photos are insightful. Had this had better sound and a better selection it could be recommended. The complaints about this box for sound are the reason Strange Magic was released by Sony."
3 CDs, Many Memories
Danno | NY, NY | 02/04/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'll never understand why Jeff Lynne doesn't get the same credit that Elton John and Billy Joel do, considering how essential the ELO sound was to 1970s radio. Lynne is a good songwriter, and as a producer created tasteful mixes - which is quite a feat when you consider how difficult it can be to find the right balance between strings, synths, and drums. Afterglow is a balanced view of ELO's career, from Lynne's early loud art-rock, to the polished Beatleoid pop most of us think of when we hear ELO's name, to later material that's mostly unfamiliar. I think it's unreasonable to expect a boxed set to be a "complete works collection" and although I would have liked to see a few of my personal favorites in the collection (such as Mr Kingdom), I'm totally satisfied with Afterglow as is. If you enjoy 1970s pop rock, late-period Beatles, or just want to see what can happen when you combine classical textures with rock n' roll, you'll enjoy at least part of this collection."