The Beatles, often hailed as one of the greatest bands in music history, left an indelible mark on the world of music. It’s no surprise that their influence reached far and wide, but it’s not every day that a member of The Beatles themselves acknowledges that influence. Paul McCartney once shared an interesting insight with Jeff Lynne, the mastermind behind the Electric Light Orchestra (ELO), suggesting that ELO’s hit song “Mr. Blue Sky” may have drawn inspiration from The Beatles.
Paul McCartney’s Take on ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky”
ELO, with their symphonic rock sound, has often drawn comparisons to The Beatles. In a 2022 article from The Telegraph, Jeff Lynne recalled his first encounter with Paul McCartney. McCartney didn’t beat around the bush, saying:
“‘Mr. Blue Sky?’ I know where you got that riff from.” McCartney believed that the catchy riff from “Mr. Blue Sky” bore resemblance to a segment from The Beatles’ iconic “A Day in the Life,” which featured on their seminal album, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” However, despite this observation, the two legendary musicians formed a strong friendship.
It’s worth noting that Jeff Lynne, when asked about the inspiration behind “Mr. Blue Sky,” did not mention “A Day in the Life” or any other Beatles song. According to the BBC, Lynne found inspiration for the song while locked away in a Swiss chalet, initially facing a creative block. After weeks of gloomy weather, the sun finally broke through, leading to the creation of “Mr. Blue Sky” and 13 other tracks that would form the foundation of ELO’s album “Out of the Blue.”
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John Lennon’s Thoughts on ELO’s Beatlesque Sound
In a 1980 interview featured in the book “All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono,” John Lennon shared his perspective on ELO. Lennon made it clear that he had no intention of creating music akin to wallpaper or Muzak, emphasizing his desire to create music with a distinct and clear artistic expression.
Lennon acknowledged the existence of various musical styles inspired by The Beatles, and ELO was among them. He remarked:
“I mean ELO is the son of ‘I Am the Walrus.’ If somebody wants ‘I Am the Walrus’ music, they just have to buy ELO records.”
Lennon recognized that different musical schools of “Son of Beatles” continued to emerge, illustrating the enduring influence of The Beatles on subsequent generations of musicians.
In the end, both Paul McCartney and John Lennon’s comments shed light on the enduring impact of The Beatles on the music world. ELO’s “Mr. Blue Sky” may or may not have been directly influenced by The Beatles, but it remains a profound and lasting legacy of the Fab Four.