On the Third Day is the third studio album by Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), and the first to be recorded without input from Roy Wood. It was released in the United States in November 1973 by United Artists Records, and in the United Kingdom on 14 December 1973 by Warner Bros. Records. From this album on, the word The was dropped from the band's name.
On the Third Day was released in 1973 and failed to enter the UK charts at the time, although it did reach the US charts at number 52. Side two of the album was recorded during or shortly after the sessions for ELO's second album ELO 2. On The Third Day contains shorter tracks than its predecessor, but the four songs on side one of the album were linked into a continuous suite. Violinist Mik Kaminski made his debut on side one of this album, replacing Wilfred Gibson, although Gibson plays on side two (plus the bonus tracks). Also, cellist Colin Walker left the line up around the same time, leaving Mike Edwards as lone cellist.
"Showdown" was originally intended to be released only as a single, and, because it was on a different label (Harvest) than the UK album, did not appear on that album. It was, however, included on the U.S. version of the album, because the band remained on United Artists Records in the U.S. Some copies of On the Third Day from this period had "Showdown" as the last track on side one. Although he didn't record on the album, Hugh McDowell did appear on this front cover of the U.S. album seen at right, which was an unusual photograph taken by famed photographer Richard Avedon that had ELO displaying their navels.