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Mr Blue Sky proves a lockdown favourite as Spotify listeners ‘dive into nostalgia to escape reality’


Electric Light Orchestra’s 1977 hit ‘Mr Blue Sky’ proves a lockdown favourite as Spotify listeners ‘dive into nostalgia to escape reality’

  • Electric Light Orchestra hit has become a favourite during lockdown, study says
  • Study in Belgium finds lockdown ‘significantly changed music consumption’
  • Listeners on Spotify were opting for classic hits from the late 1970s and 80s  

By Luke May For Mailonline

Published: | Updated:

Electric Light Orchestra’s classic 1977 hit Mr Blue Sky proved to be a lockdown favourite as a study claims Spotify listeners opted for nostalgic anthems to escape reality.

Research from the University of Leuven, in Belgium, found the global pandemic and resulting lockdown has ‘significantly changed music consumption,’ across Europe.

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung analysed 17 trillion songs played on Spotify in the UK, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium and Sweden.

Electric Light Orchestra’s summer anthem Mr Blue Sky made it into the UK’s 200 most streamed songs every single day in July

Karaoke favourite Africa, by Toto (pictured above in 2003), appeared on the UK’s daily top 200 28 times during May

He found more listeners were opting for songs that were at least three years old, with a peak for nostalgic anthems at around day 60 of lockdown.

A study in The Observer found tracks from the late 1970s and 80s, including Mr Blue Sky and Toto’s Africa, snuck into the UK’s daily top 200 most streamed tracks on Spotify while people were forced to stay at home. 

Mr Blue Sky made it into the top 200 just once in January – but every day in July.

MailOnline found the ever-popular Mr Brightside, released by The Killers in 2004, made it into the top 100 in the first week of lockdown and nearly broke into the top 40 at the start of July.

Mr Blue Sky has featured heavily in modern film soundtracks, most recently in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 

Timothy Yu-Cheong Yeung’s research found Spotify listeners ‘dived into nostalgic music to escape the reality of lockdown,’ above, the cover of Africa, by Toto

Similarly Africa appeared on 12 times in February and March, but 28 times by May.

Fleetwood Mac’s Go Your Own Way – released in 1977, the same year as Mr Blue Sky, enjoyed a similar level of success.

The band also saw its track Everywhere, from 1987, feature in the top 200 weekly list for the end of April. 

Toploader’s 2000 classic Dancing in the Moonlight was similarly popular on the same week. 

The Kooks enjoyed similar success with She Moves in Her Own Way and Naive, both released in 2006. 

Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, from 1969, featured on the daily top 200 19 times, achieving up to 63,000 plays a day, while   

Dr Yeung said: ‘I have been in Belgium during the whole lockdown period. Life is boring and the only comfort is to revisit my 90s favourites, from Radiohead and Pulp to Blur.’

His paper says that people have ‘dived into nostalgic music to escape the reality’ of lockdown. 

It found demand for nostalgia grew alongside the daily frustrations of lockdown, but added that infection rates and fatalities had little impact on listening habits.

Which classic songs made a comeback during lockdown?

Toto – Africa – 1982

Electric Light Orchestra – Mr Blue Sky – 1977

Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way – 1977

Fleetwood Mac – Everywhere – 1987 

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun – 1969

Oasis – Wonderwall – 1995

Oasis – Don’t Look Back in Anger – 1995

Queen – Don’t Stop Me Now – 1978

Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars – 2006

Mr Brightside – The Killers – 2004 

Elton John – Tiny Dancer – 1971

Bryan Adams – Summer of ’69 – 1984

Toploader  – Dancing in the Moonlight – 2000

The Kooks – Naive – 2006

The Kooks – She Moves in her Own Way – 2006 

Journey – Don’t Stop Believin’ – 1981 

Three Little Birds – Bob Marley and The Wailers –  1977


Nine-month-old baby dives face first into ice cream cone to her great-grandmother’s amazement 

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