Pop Goes The Movies: MR. BLUE SKY - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Pop Goes The Movies: MR. BLUE SKY

Mr. Blue Sky is living here today, hey hey...

There are certain songs which seem to get used more than others in film. Tracks like Low Rider by War, Bad To The Bone by George Thorogood and the Destroyers, and Oh Yeah by Yello spring to mind. None of these songs were originally recorded for a film but seem to fit the mood perfectly in certain scenes and so often find themselves lucratively licensed out for production after production. Very much like the 1978 Electric Light Orchestra classic song Mr. Blue Sky.

During an interview on BBC Radio's Sold On Song,the band's frontman Jeff Lynne talked about writing Mr. Blue Sky after locking himself away in a Swiss chalet and attempting to pen tracks for ELO's new album...
"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."
All of which would go on to feature on ELO's seventh studio album Out of the Blue, with Mr. Blue Sky forming the fourth and final track of the "Concerto for a Rainy Day" suite, on side three of the original double album.

Upon its release as the second single to be taken from Out of the Blue, Mr. Blue Sky received favourable reviews from music critics, although many feeling it was a "Beatles pastiche", and scored a moderate chart success, peaking at number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, number 35 in the US Billboard Charts and number 87 in the Australian Kent Music Report. The sheer scope of the production, containing everything from vocoder to a fire extinguisher being struck like a cowbell, and it's shifting turns in music style would see this miniature pop symphony outlive its short chart run and become the group's signature sound.

Although there was absolutely no cinematic connection considered during the writing, recording and development of Mr. Blue Sky, the song's ability to evoke so many different emotions, thanks to that encompassing symphonic production, makes it a perfect accompaniment for soundtracking film and TV. And soundtracking it has, with the songs most ubiquitous phase coming 30 years after it was recorded.

Mr. Blue Sky appeared in the comedy films The Game Plan, Role Models, Paul Blart: Mall Cop, Martian Child and The Invention Of Lying, all of which were all released between 2007 and 2009.

Before that Mr. Blue Sky was used very effectively in the trailer for 2004s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind...

It was also licensed for the animated movies Megamind from 2010, and the 2005 big-screen version of The Magic Roundabout (known as Doogal in some territories)...

That's eight movies Mr. Blue Sky appeared in across the space of 6 years! Jeff Lynne's coffers must have been ringing ch-ching!

And that's not all, as during this period in the universally cherished (a-hem) 2006 episode of Doctor Who, Love & Monsters, Marc Warren plays a character called Elton Pope who is a massive fan of Jeff Lynne and the Electric Light Orchestra. The licensed music and the character's forming their own tribute band might just be the best part of the whole episode, and, of course, Mr. Blue Sky is included in the episode because "you can't beat a bit of ELO"...

These are by no means all of the times Mr. Blue Sky has been licensed for film or telelvison. You can hear it in 2013s Battle Of The Year, the 2000 Dutch drama Wild Mussels, on the small screen in episodes of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, American Dad!, Divorce, Revolution, LAX, and Waterloo Road, but arguably the best usage of Mr. Blue Sky to date was in the opening scene for Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 which sees Baby Groot dance along to the track...

Where will Mr. Blue Sky be heard next? Chances are, thanks to its enduring popularity, we won't have to wait long to find out.

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