Happy bank holiday! The sun is out where i live in what must be a last-ditch push by the British summer to remind everyone it actually happened at all. So here's a suitably sunny song of the day, The Delgados' epic take on ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky", recorded in session for John Peel in 2002.
Here are the reasons this version is better than the original:
1. Emma Pollock sings it, not Jeff Lynne.
2. The Delgados version doesn make use of stupid Muppet Show backing vocals everywhere. See also:
3. The Delgados' use of a real string section. ELO might well be using a real string section as well, but crucially, even if it is, they make it sound like a tacky carnival ride backing track.
4. The Delgados do not have a stupid boxing ring bell at periodic intervals.
5. i can't hear any handclaps on the ELO version.
6. Slightly unfair given technological progression etc. etc. perhaps, but The Delgados' vocoder doesn't sound like it was knocked together by Willy Wonka on his lunch hour.
7. Again, Emma Pollock sings it, not Jeff Lynne.
It appears Lily Allen and The Decemberists have also covered the song, so i guess if i ever wished to gain a newfound respect for ELO, i would need only to listen to either of those versions.
mp3: The Delgados - "Mr Blue Sky (Peel session)"
John Peel - 29th September 1999
41 minutes ago