|"Mr. Blue Sky"|
|Single by Electric Light Orchestra|
|from the album Out of the Blue|
|B-side||"One Summer Dream"|
|Studio||Musicland, Munich, Germany|
|Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology|
|45 RPM side label on blue vinyl|
"Mr. Blue Sky" is a song by the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), featured on the band's seventh studio album Out of the Blue (1977). Written and produced by frontman Jeff Lynne, the song forms the fourth and final track of the "Concerto for a Rainy Day" suite, on side three of the original double album. "Mr. Blue Sky" was the second single to be taken from Out of the Blue, peaking at number 6 in the UK Singles Chart and number 35 in the US Billboard Charts.
Like the album from which the single was issued, promotional copies were released on blue vinyl. Due to its popularity and frequent use in multiple television shows and movies, it has sometimes been described as the band's signature song.
In a BBC Radio interview, Lynne talked about writing "Mr. Blue Sky" after locking himself away in a Swiss chalet and attempting to write ELO's follow-up to A New World Record:
It was dark and misty for 2 weeks, and I didn't come up with a thing. Suddenly the sun shone and it was, 'Wow, look at those beautiful Alps.' I wrote Mr. Blue Sky and 13 other songs in the next 2 weeks.
The song's arrangement has been called "Beatlesque", bearing similarities to Beatles songs "Martha My Dear" and "A Day in the Life" while harmonically it shares its unusual first four chords and harmonic rhythm with "Yesterday".
The arrangement makes prominent use of a cowbell-like sound, which is credited on the album, to percussionist Bev Bevan, as that of a "fire extinguisher". When the song is performed live, a drumstick is used to strike the side of a fire extinguisher, which produces the now iconic sound.
Describing the song for the BBC, Dominic King said:
Lots of Gibb Brothers' vocal inflexions and Beatles' arrangement quotes (Penny Lane bell, Pepper panting, Abbey Road arpeggio guitars). But this fabulous madness creates its own wonder – the bendy guitar solo, funky cello stop-chorus, and the most freakatastic vocoder since Sparky's Magic Piano. Plus the musical ambush on "way" at 2.51 still thrills. And that's before the Swingle Singers/RKO Tarzan movie/Rachmaninoff symphonic finale gets underway. Kitsch, yet truly exhilarating.
The song features a heavily vocoded voice singing the phrase "Mr. Blue Sky". A second vocoded segment at the end of the song was often interpreted by listeners as "Mr. Blue Sky"; it is actually "Please turn me over" as it is the end of side three, and the listener is being instructed to flip the LP over. This was confirmed by Jeff Lynne on 3 October 2012 on The One Show.
AllMusic's Donald A. Guarisco considered "Mr. Blue Sky" a "miniature pop symphony" and a "multi-layered pop treat that was a pure Beatles pastiche", saying that "the music divides its time between verses that repeat the same two notes to hypnotic effect a la 'I Am the Walrus' and an effervescent, constantly-ascending chorus". Guarisco also pointed other references to the Beatles such as "the staccato bassline recalls the chorus of 'Hello Goodbye' and pounding piano lines and panting background vocals recall the midsection of 'A Day in the Life'". Billboard Magazine described the beat as "catchy" and said that the song builds from a "thumping intro" to a "harmonic operatic" ending. Cash Box said that the song "features a characteristically full sound and effective use of breaks" and that "fast pace, airy singing and strings provide musical dramatics."
The song has been used in the films Megamind, Role Models, The Magic Roundabout, Wild Mussels, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Game Plan, Doogal, Martian Child, The Invention of Lying, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2., and Shaun of the Dead.
The song was also used in the British television show Doctor Who. It was also featured during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, the awards ceremony following the 2011 Football League Cup Final, and the closing ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games from the Gold Coast, in a promotion for the 2022 Games, which will be held in Birmingham - with the track used to celebrate ELO originating from the city.
On October 23, 2021, Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem of The Muppets released their cover for the Dear Earth special by YouTube and Google.
|United Kingdom (BPI)||3× Platinum||1,800,000|
|United States (RIAA)||3× Platinum||3,000,000|
Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.
|"Mr. Blue Sky"|
|Song by Electric Light Orchestra|
|from the album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra|
|Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra track listing|
Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song and other ELO tracks in his own home studio in 2012. The resulting album, Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra, was released under the ELO name. A difference that this version has is that it doesn't include the ending orchestral piece.
A music video was released in late 2012 via the official ELO website and YouTube, a colourful animation directed by Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger with animation sequences designed and animated by University of Southern California students.