Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
EP (Double EP) by The Beatles
Released 8 December 1967
Recorded 25 April – 7 November 1967, EMI and Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Length 19:08
Label Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles EP chronology
Nowhere Man
Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
Soundtrack album (compilation) by The Beatles
Released 27 November 1967 (US)
Recorded 24 November 1966 – 7 November 1967, EMI and Olympic studios, London
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Length 36:35
Label Capitol, Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles US chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles

Magical Mystery Tour is an LP and a double EP by the English rock group The Beatles, produced by George Martin, both including the six-song soundtrack to the 1967 film of the same name. The record format released in the United Kingdom on 8 December 1967, was a six-track double EP on the Parlophone label, whilst in the United States the record, released 11 days earlier, on 27 November 1967, was an eleven-track LP created by Capitol Records, adding the band's 1967 single releases. The EP was also released in Germany, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Australia and Japan.[1]

The US LP was later adopted as the official version of the record when The Beatles' catalogue was updated for the 1980s digital Compact Disc releases. The album was remastered 9 September 2009 for the first time since its CD release. The soundtrack was a critical and commercial success, a #1 album in the US and Grammy-nominated, despite the relative critical and commercial failure of the Magical Mystery Tour film.


History of the project

Magical Mystery Tour film

After Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film based upon The Beatles and their music. The film was to be unscripted: various "ordinary" people were to travel on a coach and have unspecified "magical" adventures. The Magical Mystery Tour film was made and included six new Beatles songs. The film originally screened on BBC-TV over the 1967 Christmas holidays but was savaged by critics.[2]

Initial release formats

The number of songs used in the film posed a problem for The Beatles and their UK record company EMI, as there were too few for an LP album but too many for an EP.[3] One idea considered was to issue an EP which played at 33 rpm but this would have caused a loss of fidelity that was deemed unacceptable. The solution chosen was to issue an innovative format of two EP's packaged in a gatefold sleeve with a 28-page booklet containing the lyrics and colour pictures.[3] Of the package, Bob Neaverson wrote "While it certainly solved the song quota problem, one suspects that it was also partly born of The Beatles' pioneering desire to experiment with conventional formats and packaging".[4] The package was released in the UK on 8 December, in time for the Christmas market, at the sub £1 price of 19s 6d[3] (equivalent to £13 today).

In the US, EPs were not popular at the time so (and against The Beatles' wishes) Capitol Records decided to release the soundtrack as an LP by adding some recent non-album singles.[3] The first side of the LP was the film soundtrack (like earlier British Beatles soundtrack albums), and the second side was a collection of A-side and B-sides released in 1967, with the songs "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" presented in duophonic, fake "processed" stereo, sound.[3][5]

"I Am the Walrus" is in true-stereo only part way through, after which the sound becomes fake stereo, on all stereo releases of both packages.

Release history

Country Date Label Format Catalogue Notes
United States 27 November 1967 Capitol mono LP MAL 2835
stereo LP† SMAL 2835
United Kingdom 8 December 1967 Parlophone mono double EP MMT 1-2 6-track soundtrack only
stereo double EP SMMT 1-2
New Zealand 1970[6] World Record Club/Apple stereo LP† SLZ 8308 / PCSM 6084 With different cover artwork and titled Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits(3 label variations known to exist).EMI(NZ) released this LP on the Apple label cat. no. PCSM 6084
Germany 1971 Hor Zu/Apple stereo LP SHZE 327 With different cover artwork. The first issue with all tracks in true-stereo
United Kingdom 1973[7] EMI stereo cassette TC-PCS 3077 Titled Magical Mystery Tour & other titles
United Kingdom 19 November 1976 Apple, Parlophone stereo LP† PCTC 255
Worldwide 21 September 1987 Apple, Parlophone, EMI stereo Compact Disc CDP 7 48062 2
United States 1988[6] Capitol stereo LP C1-48061
United Kingdom 15 June 1992[8] Parlophone stereo CD‡ CDMAG 1 6-track soundtrack only
Japan 11 March 1998 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 51124
Japan 21 January 2004 Toshiba-EMI LP TOJP 60144 Remastered
Worldwide 9 September 2009 Apple, Parlophone mono CD‡ Remastered
stereo CD 0946 3 82465 2 7
† With "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" in fake-stereo.
‡ Available only as part of a boxed set.

In 1969 and 1971, the previously unavailable true-stereo mixes were created[3] that allowed the first true-stereo version of the LP to be issued (in Germany in 1971[9]).

Due to public demand for the LP in the UK—as an American import, it had peaked on the British album charts at number 31 in January 1968[10][11]—in 1976, EMI released it in the UK [3] but reusing the Capitol masters with the fake-stereo.

When standardising The Beatles' releases for the worldwide Compact Disc release in 1987, the LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (in true-stereo) was included with the otherwise British album line-up. [12]

The inclusion of the 1967 singles on CD with this album meant both that the Magical Mystery Tour CD would be of comparable length to the band's other album CDs, and that those three singles would not need to be included on Past Masters, a two-volume compilation designed to accompany the initial CD album releases and provide all non-album tracks (mostly singles) on CD format.[13]

The album (along with The Beatles' entire UK studio album catalogue) was remastered and reissued on CD in 2009. In homage to the album's conception and first release, the CD incorporates the original Capitol LP label design. The remastered CD features a mini-documentary about the album. Initial copies of the album accidentally list the mini-documentary to be one made for Let It Be.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[14]
Blender 5/5 stars[15]
Pitchfork Media (10/10)[16]
Wiki letter w.svg This table needs to be expanded using prose. See the guideline for more information.

The soundtrack was far more favourably received than the film. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in 1968[17] and reached number 1 in the US for eight weeks. The original review by Rolling Stone consisted of a one-sentence quote from John Lennon: "There are only about 100 people in the world who understand our music."[18]

Track listing


All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except where noted. 

Side one: Film soundtrack
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"   McCartney 2:48
2. "The Fool on the Hill"   McCartney 3:00
3. "Flying" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney/George Harrison/Richard Starkey) (Instrumental) 2:16
4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) Harrison 3:50
5. "Your Mother Should Know"   McCartney 2:33
6. "I Am the Walrus"   Lennon 4:35
Side two: 1967 singles
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Hello, Goodbye"   McCartney 3:24
2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"   Lennon 4:05
3. "Penny Lane"   McCartney 3:00
4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"   Lennon 3:07
5. "All You Need Is Love"   Lennon 3:57
Total length:

Double EP

  • Side 1: "Magical Mystery Tour", "Your Mother Should Know"
  • Side 2: "I Am the Walrus"
  • Side 3: "The Fool on the Hill", "Flying"
  • Side 4: "Blue Jay Way"

Total length: 19:08


Additional musicians
  • "Magical Mystery Tour" – Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall on percussion, David Mason, Elgar Howarth, Roy Copestake and John Wilbraham on trumpets
  • "The Fool on the Hill" – Christoper Taylor, Richard Taylor and Jack Ellory on flute[19]
  • "I Am the Walrus" – Sidney Sax, Jack Rothstein, Ralph Elman, Andrew McGee, Jack Greene, Louis Stevens, John Jezzard and Jack Richards on violins, Lionel Ross, Eldon Fox, Brian Martin and Terry Weil on cellos and Neill Sanders, Tony Tunstall and Morris Miller on horns, Peggie Allen, Wendy Horan, Pat Whitmore, Jill Utting, June Day, Sylvia King, Irene King, G. Mallen, Fred Lucas, Mike Redway, John O'Neill, F. Dachtler, Allan Grant, D. Griffiths, J. Smith and J. Fraser on backing vocals
  • "Hello, Goodbye" – Ken Essex, Leo Birnbaum on violas.
  • "Strawberry Fields Forever" – Mal Evans on percussion, Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen, Derek Watkins and Stanley Roderick on trumpets and John Hall, Derek Simpson, Norman Jones on cellos.
  • "Penny Lane" – Ray Swinfield, P. Goody, Manny Winters and Dennis Walton on flutes, Leon Calvert, Freddy Clayton, Bert Courtley and Duncan Campbell on trumpets, Dick Morgan and Mike Winfield on English horns, Frank Clarke on double bass and David Mason on piccolo trumpet
  • "Baby, You're a Rich Man" – Eddie Kramer on vibraphone
  • "All You Need Is Love" – George Martin on piano, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon, Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd Harrison, Jane Asher, Mike McCartney, Maureen Starkey, Graham Nash and wife, Gary Leeds and Hunter Davies on backing vocals, Sidney Sax, Patrick Halling, Eric Bowie and Jack Holmes on violins, Rex Morris and Don Honeywill on sax, David Mason and Stanley Woods on trumpets, Evan Watkins and Henry Spain on horns, Jack Emblow on accordion and Brian Martin on cello



External links

Preceded by
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
by The Monkees
Billboard 200 number-one album
6 January – 1 March 1968
Succeeded by
Blooming Hits by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra

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