Mr. Blue Sky

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For the BBC Radio 4 sitcom, see Mr Blue Sky (sitcom).
"Mr. Blue Sky"
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Out of the Blue
B-side "One Summer Dream"
Released 28 January 1978 (UK)
June 1978 (US)
Format 7" single
Recorded 1977 Musicland Studios,Munich
Genre Pop rock, art rock
Length 5:06
3:45 (Japanese 7")
Label Jet
Writer(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 sample

"Mr. Blue Sky" is a song by English rock group 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[1] and number 35 in the United States.[2] The song was played as a wake-up call to astronaut Christopher Ferguson on Day 3 of STS-135, the final mission of Space Shuttle Atlantis.

Inspiration[edit]

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",[3] bearing similarities to Beatles songs "Martha My Dear" and "A Day in the Life".[4][5]

Arrangement[edit]

The arrangement makes prominent use of a cowbell sound,[6] although this is credited on the album, to percussionist Bev Bevan, as "fire extinguisher."

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.[7]

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 as "Mister Blue Sky-yi"; 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 original keyboardist Richard Tandy, who did confirm the actual lyric to members of the Showdown ELO fan list; it has also been confirmed by Jeff Lynne on 3 October 2012 on the 'One Show'.[8] When the song was performed live as part of the 2013 Children in Need Rocks and Radio 2 Live in Hyde Park 2014 concerts, Richard Tandy is shown on-camera clearly speaking the Please turn me over line.

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1978) Peak
Position
Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart[9] 87
Dutch GfK chart[10] 8
German Media Control Singles Chart[11] 27
UK Singles Chart[1] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 35
US Cash Box Top 100 Singles 27
US Record World Singles[12] 33

Jeff Lynne version[edit]

"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 (UK)
9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded 2001–2012 Bungalow Palace
Length 3:44
Label Frontiers
Writer Jeff Lynne
Producer Jeff Lynne
Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra track listing

Jeff Lynne re-recorded the song and others in his own home studio in 2012. It was released as a compilation album with other re-recorded ELO songs, under the ELO name.[13]

Music Video[edit]

A music video has been released in late 2012 via the official ELO website[14] and YouTube,[15] a colorful animation directed by Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger with animation sequences designed and animated by University of Southern California students.[16]

Cover versions[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2002 the song was re-recorded by Lynne for use in the Volkswagen commercial "Bubble Boy". It is used as the theme song for LAX, a short-lived 2004-2005 television series set in LAX airport.

It appeared in the 2006 Doctor Who episode titled "Love & Monsters". CSI: Crime Scene Investigation uses the song in the episode Lab Rats (season 7, episode 20), when CSI Hodges tells how much luck he has had that day.

It was played on 27 February 2011 at Wembley Stadium post match in celebration of Birmingham City F.C. winning the League Cup Final and is played at every home game as Jeff Lynne is an ardent Blues fan.

The song has also been used in American Dad! (2011, season 6, episode 9).

It was also played during the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, as well as the Opening Ceremony, as the world's athletes entered the Olympic Stadium. Glidden House Paint used the song in a commercial that aired in summer 2012.

The song is used in the films Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Magic Roundabout, The Game Plan, Megamind, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, The Invention of Lying, Role Models, A Smile as Big as the Moon, and Martian Child.

British band Take That also used samples of the song for a live version of Shine on their recent tours.

The song was also used by the Royal Air Force during the King Air aircraft demonstration.[citation needed]

Coventry City Football Club (a.k.a. The Sky Blues) have used the song as their entrance music since returning to Coventry in 2014. The song has been regularly used by the club prior to that, mainly post-game.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra". Offfical Charts Company. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Electric Light Orchestra - Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) |". Toponehitwonders.com. 2009-04-22. 
  4. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra Songfacts". Songfacts.com. 2007-10-19. 
  5. ^ "THE BEATLES The Beatles music review by MrCleveland". Progarchives.com. 
  6. ^ [1]
  7. ^ BBC. "BBC - Radio 2 - Sold On Song - TOP 100 - Number 18 - Mr Blue Sky". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  8. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFexdd_-tL8 Jeff Lynne on The One Show
  9. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6. 
  10. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discografie Electric Light Orchestra". dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "charts.de - Electric Light Orchestra". charts.de. Retrieved 22 April 2013. 
  12. ^ Hawtin, Steve. "Song artist 171 - Electric Light Orchestra". Tsort.info. Retrieved 2 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "Releases : elo - Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". Elo.biz. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Official Music Videos : elo". Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "ELO - Mr. Blue Sky (official video - 2012 version)". YouTube. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "School of Cinematic Arts News - USC School of Cinematic Arts". cinema.usc.edu. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 

External links[edit]