Song of the Day #4,456: ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ – ELO

English prog-rock band Electric Light Orchestra (or ELO) is the next inductee from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s 2017 class. The band, fronted by Jeff Lynne, rotated several members through its lineup over the years, but the core members (and the ones inducted into the Hall) were Lynne, founder Roy Wood, drummer Bev Bevan and keyboardist Richard Tandy.

ELO blended traditional pop and rock instrumentation with classical strings and horns, taking their cue from The Beatles and helping to popularize one of the dominant sounds of the 70s.

ELO released 13 studio albums between 1971 and 2001 (after they split, Jeff Lynne revived the band as Jeff Lynne’s ELO and released albums in 2015 and 2019). Nine of those albums reached Silver, Gold or Platinum status is the UK, U.S., or both.

The band placed 20 songs on Billboard’s Top 40 but never had one reach the top spot (that’s a record). They had one #1 song in the UK, the title track of Xanadu, the Olivia Newton-John film that bombed as a movie but soared as a soundtrack. Their best performer in the U.S. was ‘Don’t Bring Me Down,’ a song I can’t recall ever hearing before looking it up for this blog entry.

The ELO song I know best is ‘Mr. Blue Sky,’ which performed OK after its 1978 release but has found a large following through its use in popular culture since then. Marvel fans will remember it from the elaborate opening credits sequence in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

ELO first became eligible for Hall of Fame inclusion in 1997 and were nominated for the first time in 2017, the year they were inducted.

[Verse 1]
The sun is shining in the sky
There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped raining, everybody’s in the play
And don’t you know, it’s a beautiful new day, hey
Running down the Avenue
[Panting]
See how the sun shines brightly
In the city, on the streets where once was pity
Mr. Blue Sky is living here today, hey

[Chorus]
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long (So long)
Where did we go wrong?
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long (So long)
Where did we go wrong?

[Verse 2]
Hey, you with the pretty face
Welcome to the human race
A celebration, Mr. Blue Sky’s up there waiting
And today is the day we’ve waited for

[Chorus]
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long (so long)
Where did we go wrong?
Hey there, Mr. Blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around, see what you do
Everybody smiles at you
Hey there, Mr. Blue
We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around, see what you do
Everybody smiles at you

[Bridge]
Mister Blue Sky
Mister Blue Sky
Mister Blue Sky

[Verse 3]
Mr. Blue, you did it right
But soon comes Mr. Night
Creeping over, now his hand is on your shoulder
Never mind, I’ll remember you this
I’ll remember you this way

[Chorus]
Mr. Blue Sky, please tell us why
You had to hide away for so long (So long)
Where did we go wrong?
Hey there, Mr. Blue (Sky)
We’re so pleased to be with you (Sky)
Look around, see what you do (Blue)
Everybody smiles at you

[Harmonizing]

[Outro]
Please turn me over

3 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,456: ‘Mr. Blue Sky’ – ELO

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Surprised you had never heard “Don’t Bring Me Down,” That video was in heavy rotation on MTV back in the day.

    I generally like ELO’s sound, but I’m not sure their inclusion in the Rock Hall was all that vital.

  2. Rob says:

    While I am a big fan of ELO (I am a child of the 70’s) I have to agree with Dana’s comment regarding their inclusion in the R&R Hall of Fame. I believe I have bemoaned the R&R Hall of Fame in this space before, as I find many of the inductees over the years really didn’t deserve the recognition. The whole point of a “Hall of Fame”, at least to my understanding, is to high-lite the careers of the truly exceptional. Over the years, I believe the R&R Hall of Fame brain-trust has diluted the pool considerably … it is no longer a collection of the truly exceptional. To have the Beatles and Joan Jett considered “equal” because they are both inductees to the Hall is a bridge too far for me. I think it is wrong to nominate mediocre artists every year, just to have nominees. If there is nobody eligible for the honor on any given year, do not follow through with the ceremony. That said, I do believe Jeff Lynne deserves to be inducted, not only for his songwriting with ELO, but also for his producing talents. I’ll get of my soap box now, it’s creaking under my weight.

    • Clay says:

      I can see that argument, though I would argue that ay Hall of Fame is going to represent degrees of excellence. If Jerry Rice is the greatest NFL wide receiver, does that mean every WR in the football Hall of Fame is his equal? By definition, they can’t be.

      And one could argue that Joan Jett had a bigger influence than The Beatles on a generation of women rockers, which is worth honoring.

      That said, I agree that as the list of Rock Hall members grows, membership becomes less special. They certainly shouldn’t feel obligated to admit a handful of new artists each year.

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