Mr. Blue Sky
|"Mr. Blue Sky"|
|Single by Electric Light Orchestra|
|from the album Out of the Blue|
|B-side||"One Summer Dream"|
28 January 1978 (UK)|
June 1978 (US)
|Recorded||1977 at Musicland Studios, Munich|
5:06 (album version)|
3:45 (Japanese 7")
|Electric Light Orchestra singles chronology|
|45 RPM blue vinyl issue|
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 and number 35 in the United States.
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 as "Mister 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.
Appearances in other media
The song is used in the films Megamind, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Role Models, Wild Mussels, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, The Magic Roundabout, The Game Plan, Martian Child, The Invention of Lying, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and Battle of the Year as well as the television shows Doctor Who, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, American Dad!, Divorce, Revolution, LAX, Orphan Black, and Waterloo Road. It was also featured in a Volkswagen commercial in 2002-03 advertising the then-new 2003 New Beetle Convertible. 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 to be held in Birmingham (as ELO are from Birmingham). The song appeared several times in the video game Lego Marvel Super Heroes 2, but uses the 2012 cover, rather than the original version.
Jeff Lynne version
|"Mr. Blue Sky"|
|Song by Electric Light Orchestra|
|from the album Mr. Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra|
8 October 2012 (UK)|
9 October 2012 (US)
|Recorded||2001–2012 Bungalow Palace|
|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 music video has been 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.
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