Magical Mystery Tour

From Academic Kids

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Recorded in 1967, the Magical Mystery Tour album was the Beatles' culmination of an extremely creative 18 month period.


History of the project

After Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film based upon the Beatles and their music. This film was to be unscripted; various "ordinary" people (including John Lennon's uncle Charlie Lennon) were to travel on a bus driven by Ivor Cutler and have unspecified adventures. The Magical Mystery Tour movie was made, but it turned out that no interesting adventures actually occurred. The film was a bomb, according to critics; however, it is often praised by filmakers like Steven Spielberg. The soundtrack itself was an undisputed masterpiece, released in December 1967 as a double EP in the UK.

The American version was released in late November 1967 as a LP. The LP Magical Mystery Tour was divided into two halves; the first side being the actual movie soundtrack, and the second side being a collection of A and B-sides released in 1967. The first side was a prime example of music from the psychedelic era, with "Flying", one of two Beatles instrumentals ( the first being the often forgotten and very early "Cry For A Shadow"); "Blue Jay Way", a George Harrison acid trip; and the title track itself.

"I Am the Walrus", at the end of side one and full of crashing orchestras and dubbed vocals, was Lennon's response to learning that a Quarry Bank School English master was making his class analyze Beatles' songs. Lennon decided to make a song that would be impossible to understand, even by an English teacher.

Side two was celebrated by many as the Beatles' most creative suite of songs. Both McCartney and Lennon were the main writers for the songs on this side, and the songs were as different as night and day. The most famous of these contrasts were Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever" and McCartney's "Penny Lane". Originally released as a double A-side single, Lennon's "Fields" was a dark and troubled account of a childhood memory, while "Penny Lane" was about the same subject, but light and poppy. Both songs were in fact recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, but had been left off that album, a decision that producer George Martin later regretted.

The remaining tracks on side two include McCartney's counter (and A-side) to "I Am the Walrus" with one of the brightest pop songs ever (despite its lyrical dismay), "Hello Goodbye". John also offers "Baby You're A Rich Man" (actually the first song recorded specifically for the Beatles' animated Yellow Submarine, which would be released to theatres one year later), and the anthem of the One World program and pyschedelia itself, "All You Need Is Love" finishes the LP.

When standardizing the Beatles' releases for compact disc in the late 1980s, the American LP version was chosen as it would allow inclusion of the singles from the era as well onto one disc with the soundtrack. (see Past Masters, Volume One and Past Masters, Volume Two)

Track Listing (LP and CD)

Side one

  1. "Magical Mystery Tour" SAMPLE (122k)
  2. "The Fool On The Hill"
  3. "Flying" (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)
  4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison)
  5. "Your Mother Should Know"
  6. "I Am The Walrus" SAMPLE (133k)

Side two

  1. "Hello Goodbye"
  2. "Strawberry Fields Forever" SAMPLE (141k)
  3. "Penny Lane" SAMPLE (192k)
  4. "Baby You're A Rich Man"
  5. "All You Need Is Love"

Track Listing (Double EP)

Missing image
Double EP cover

Side one

  1. "Magical Mystery Tour" SAMPLE (122k)
  2. "Your Mother Should Know"

Side two

  1. "I Am the Walrus" SAMPLE (133k)

Side three

  1. "The Fool On The Hill"
  2. "Flying" (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)

Side four

  1. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison)

External link

  • Album Lyrics (
  John Lennon Missing image
Paul McCartney

The Beatles George Harrison Ringo Starr  

History of the Beatles | Long-term influence | British Invasion | Classic rock era | Paul is Dead rumours | Apple Records | George Martin | Geoff Emerick | Brian Epstein | Beatlesque | Discography | Bootlegs | Beatlemania

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