Can’t Get it Out of My Head by ELO

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They had me with the cello….

…Or maybe it was the reference to an ebb tide in the second verse.*

Like several of my favorites, I have the Midnight Special to thank for my introduction to the Electric Light Orchestra.


As a kid, I made the leap pretty fast from the Crazy Horses “prog rock” of the Osmonds to ELO.

These aren’t in any particular order…but I’m blogging about 30 of my favorite songs during the month of November. Starting with….

Can’t Get It Out of My Head by the Electric Light Orchestra


Watching The Midnight Special on Friday nights was a given for me by the time I was 11 years old. I’d joined the band around that time and got to march with the “high school band” at high school football halftimes as a trumpet player. At that age, the post-game festivities were almost always a matter of finding a parent or aunt in “the circle” near the band room to give me and my cousin, Tommy, a ride home.

I was usually home by 10:30, TV on, ready for the Midnight Special. Some Friday nights featured popcorn, sometimes frozen pepperoni pizza enhanced with green olives. Sometimes, I had friends over for “spend the night parties.” Others, (most of them, in the mid 70s) were just the TV and me.

I don’t know if I was more captivated by those strings and keyboards or Jeff Lynne’s voice, but

at age 11, I thought that Can’t Get It Out of My Head was one of the most beautiful songs ever.

I still do.

Walking on a wave she came….

That’s what I thought I heard (along with almost everyone else), only to (much later) read the liner notes and see the reference to a “wave’s chicane.”

Thanks to the internet, there’s a whole library of content interpreting the meaning of this lyric!

Then, in the next verse there’s the references to Robin Hood and William Tell and Ivanhoe and Lancelot.

One of the coolest lyrical name-drops in musical history, except for maybe when Squeeze gives a shout out to William Tell in “Pulling Mussels.”

I could go on and on, but the music speaks for itself.

Jeff Lynne is one of my lifetime favorite songwriters and musical artists–I even think Xanadu is über-cool. That song will be the focus of an upcoming post in this series.

*My Grandmother Martin had an album titled Ebb Tide by someone–maybe the Ray Conniff Orchestra. I’d always wondered what an ebb tide was and there was no internet in those days to look it up and for some reason I never bothered to look it up in the World Book Encyclopedia. Or maybe I did and have forgotten.