Mr. Blue Sky

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"Mr. Blue Sky"
Single by Electric Light Orchestra
from the album Out of the Blue
B-side"One Summer Dream"
Released28 January 1978 (UK)
June 1978 (US)
Format7" single
Recorded1977 at Musicland Studios, Munich
Length5:06 (album version)
3:45 (Japanese 7")
Songwriter(s)Jeff Lynne
Producer(s)Jeff Lynne
Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology
"Turn to Stone"
"Mr. Blue Sky"
"Sweet Talkin' Woman"
Audio sample
"Mr. Blue Sky"
45 RPM blue vinyl issue
Limited edition release
Limited edition release

"Mr. Blue Sky" is a song by British 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 US Billboard Charts.[2]


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.[3]

The song's arrangement has been called "Beatlesque",[4] bearing similarities to Beatles songs "Martha My Dear" and "A Day in the Life"[5][6] while harmonically it shares its unusual first four chords and harmonic rhythm with "Yesterday".[7]


The arrangement makes prominent use of a cowbell-like sound,[8] 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.[9]

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 "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.[10] This was confirmed by Jeff Lynne on 3 October 2012 on The One Show.[11]

In popular culture[edit]

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, Martian Child, The Invention of Lying, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[12]

The song was also used in the television shows Doctor Who and The Magic Roundabout. It was also featured during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the closing ceremony of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in a promotion for the 2022 Games, which will be held in Birmingham (as ELO is from Birmingham).[citation needed]

Chart history[edit]

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
Released8 October 2012 (UK)
9 October 2012 (US)
Recorded2001–2012 Bungalow Palace
Songwriter(s)Jeff Lynne
Producer(s)Jeff Lynne
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.[21]

Music video[edit]

A music video has been released in late 2012 via the official ELO website[22] and YouTube,[23] a colourful animation directed by Michael Patterson and Candace Reckinger with animation sequences designed and animated by University of Southern California students.[24]

Other Recordings[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. ^ "BBC - Radio 2 - Sold On Song - TOP 100 - Number 18 - Mr Blue Sky".
  4. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky – Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) |". 22 April 2009.
  5. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky by Electric Light Orchestra Songfacts". 19 October 2007.
  6. ^ "THE BEATLES The Beatles music review by MrCleveland".
  7. ^ "Mr. Blue Sky harmonic analysis v2" (PDF). 19 June 2011.
  8. ^ Bosso, Joe. "Interview: Jeff Lynne talks recording standards and rerecording classic ELO songs". MusicRadar. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  9. ^ BBC. "BBC - Radio 2 - Sold On Song - TOP 100 - Number 18 - Mr Blue Sky". BBC. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  10. ^ Wilgenburg, Rajno van (24 February 2017). "You Always Misheard The Lyrics Of 'Mr Blue Sky' By Electric Light Orchestra".
  11. ^ "Jeff Lynne on The One Show". YouTube. 5 October 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  12. ^ Shepard, Jack (19 April 2017). "Tracklist for Guardians of the Galaxy's Awesome Mixtape Vol. 2 revealed". The Independent. Retrieved 27 August 2017.
  13. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 978-0-646-11917-5.
  14. ^ "RPM Top Singles, September 2, 1978".
  15. ^ Hung, Steffen. "Discografie Electric Light Orchestra". Archived from the original on 13 May 2013. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  16. ^ " - Electric Light Orchestra". Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Mr Blue Sky". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved February 15, 2018.
  18. ^ Hawtin, Steve. "Song artist 171 - Electric Light Orchestra". Retrieved 2 May 2013.
  19. ^ 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.
  20. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1999). Pop Annual. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. ISBN 978-0-89820-142-0.
  21. ^ "Releases : ELO - Mr. Blue Sky - The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra". 5 October 2012. Retrieved 28 February 2013.
  22. ^ "Official Music Videos : ELO". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  23. ^ "Electric Light Orchestra - Mr. Blue Sky (Official Music Video)". YouTube. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  24. ^ "School of Cinematic Arts News - USC School of Cinematic Arts". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  25. ^ "Connie Talbot - Mr. Blue Sky". 17 November 2014 – via YouTube.

External links[edit]