"Mr. Blue Sky"
UK variant of standard artwork
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Out of the Blue
B-side"One Summer Dream"
Released
  • 13 January 1978 (1978-01-13) (UK)
  • June 1978 (US)
Recorded1977
StudioMusicland, Munich, Germany
GenreProgressive pop[1]
Length
  • 5:06 (album version)
  • 3:45 (Japanese 7-inch single)
LabelJet
Songwriter(s)Jeff Lynne
Producer(s)Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Turn to Stone"
(1977)
"Mr. Blue Sky"
(1978)
"Sweet Talkin' Woman"
(1978)
Music video
"Mr. Blue Sky" on YouTube
45 RPM side label on blue vinyl
Limited edition UK release

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"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[2] and number 35 in the US Billboard Charts.[3]

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.[4]

Inspiration

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.[5]

The song's arrangement has been called "Beatlesque",[6] bearing similarities to Beatles songs "Martha My Dear" and "A Day in the Life"[7][8] while harmonically it shares its unusual first four chords and harmonic rhythm with "Yesterday".[9]

Arrangement

"Mr. Blue Sky" sample (0:16) Problems playing this file? See media help.

The arrangement makes prominent use of a cowbell-like sound,[10] 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.[11]

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.[12] This was confirmed by Jeff Lynne on 3 October 2012 on The One Show.[13]

Critical reception

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'".[14] Billboard Magazine described the beat as "catchy" and said that the song builds from a "thumping intro" to a "harmonic operatic" ending.[15] 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."[16]

In popular culture

This section appears to contain trivial, minor, or unrelated references to popular culture. Please reorganize this content to explain the subject's impact on popular culture, providing citations to reliable, secondary sources, rather than simply listing appearances. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2019)

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.[17][18], 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.[19]

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.[20]

Personnel

Additional personnel

Charts

Certifications

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Italy (FIMI)[43] Gold 35,000double-dagger
United Kingdom (BPI)[44] 3× Platinum 1,800,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[45] 3× Platinum 3,000,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Jeff Lynne version

"Mr. Blue Sky"
Song by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra
Released
  • 8 October 2012 (2012-10-08) (UK)
  • 9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded2001–2008
StudioBungalow Palace
Length3:44
LabelFrontiers
Songwriter(s)Jeff Lynne
Producer(s)Jeff Lynne
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra track listing
Music video
"Mr. Blue Sky" on YouTube

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.[46]

Music video

A music video was released in late 2012 via the official ELO website[47] and YouTube,[48] a colourful animation directed by Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger with animation sequences designed and animated by University of Southern California students.[49]

Personnel

Other recordings

References

  1. ^ Reed, Ryan (20 November 2019). "A Guide to Progressive rock". Tidal.
  2. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra". Offfical Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  3. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2013.
  4. ^ "The Story of... 'Mr. Blue Sky' by Electric Light Orchestra". Smooth. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  5. ^ "BBC - Radio 2 - Sold On Song - TOP 100 - Number 18 - Mr. Blue Sky". www.bbc.co.uk.
  6. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) |". Toponehitwonders.com. 22 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra Songfacts". Songfacts.com. 19 October 2007.
  8. ^ "THE BEATLES The Beatles music review by MrCleveland". Progarchives.com.
  9. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky harmonic analysis v2" (PDF). 19 June 2011.
  10. ^ Bosso, Joe. "Interview: Jeff Lynne talks recording standards and rerecording classic ELO songs". MusicRadar. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  11. ^ BBC. "BBC - Radio 2 - Sold On Song - TOP 100 - Number 18 - Mr Blue Sky". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  12. ^ Wilgenburg, Rajno van (24 February 2017). "You Always Misheard The Lyrics Of 'Mr Blue Sky' By Electric Light Orchestra".
  13. ^ "Jeff Lynne on The One Show". YouTube. 5 October 2012. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  14. ^ Donald, A. Guarisco. "Mr. Blue Sky - Electric Light Orchestra | Song Info". AllMusic. Retrieved 26 January 2020.
  15. ^ "Top Single Picks" (PDF). Billboard Magazine. 17 June 1978. p. 96. Retrieved 9 July 2020.
  16. ^ "CashBox Singles Reviews" (PDF). Cash Box. 17 June 1978. p. 20. Retrieved 1 January 2022.
  17. ^ "Soundtrack Staples: ELO's 'Mr Blue Sky'". STACK | JB Hi-Fi. 19 May 2020. Retrieved 14 March 2021.
  18. ^ Shepard, Jack (19 April 2017). "Tracklist for Guardians of the Galaxy's Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 revealed". The Independent. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Go the Distance #Brum". YouTube. 19 April 2017. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  20. ^ The Muppets Sing Mr. Blue Sky | Dear Earth
  21. ^ "Hooked on Classics 3 by Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Conducted by Louis Clark". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 4 January 2021.
  22. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
  23. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  24. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 4629a." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  25. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mr Blue Sky". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 9, 1978" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  27. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  28. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  29. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  30. ^ "CASH BOX Top 100 Singles". Cashbox. 19 August 1978. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  31. ^ Hawtin, Steve. "Song artist 171 - Electric Light Orchestra". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  32. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky". GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  33. ^ "Irish-charts.com – Discography (({artist))}". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved January 9, 2022.
  34. ^ "Official Charts Company". Officialcharts.com. 18 June 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2022.
  35. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Chart History (Hot Rock & Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Chart History (Rock Digital Song Sales)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  37. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra Chart History (Rock Streaming Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  38. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1978". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1978". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 30 October 2021.
  40. ^ Scaping, Peter, ed. (1979). "Top 200 Singles in 1978". BPI Year Book 1979 (4th ed.). London, England: The British Phonographic Industry Ltd. pp. 186–89. ISBN 978-0-906154-02-1.
  41. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 978-0-89820-142-0.
  42. ^ "Hot Rock Songs – Year-End 2017". Billboard. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  43. ^ "Italian single certifications – ELO – Mr Blue Sky" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 14 December 2021. Select "2021" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Mr Blue Sky" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  44. ^ "British single certifications – ELO – Mr Blue Sky". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 30 November 2021.
  45. ^ "American single certifications – Electric Light Orchestra – Mr. Blue Sky". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  46. ^ "Releases : ELO - Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". Elo.biz. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  47. ^ "Official Music Videos : ELO". Elo.biz. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  48. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  49. ^ "School of Cinematic Arts News - USC School of Cinematic Arts". cinema.usc.edu. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  50. ^ "Connie Talbot - Mr. Blue Sky". 17 November 2014. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.
  51. ^ "Pomplamoose - Mr. Blue Sky". 25 October 2019. Archived from the original on 21 December 2021 – via YouTube.