Magical Mystery Tour (album)

Magical Mystery Tour (album)

Infobox Album
Name = Magical Mystery Tour
Type = studio
Longtype = (EP in the UK)
Artist = The Beatles

Released = November 27, 1967 (US LP)
December 8, 1967 (UK EP)
November 19, 1976 (UK LP)
Recorded = Abbey Road
1966-11-241966-12-21 ("Strawberry Fields Forever")
1966-12-291967-01-17 ("Penny Lane")
Abbey Road and Olympic Sound Studios
25 April 19677 November 1967 (double EP, rest of LP side 2)
Genre = Pop,
Psychedelic rock
Length = 36:52 (LP, CD)
19:12 (EP)
Label = Parlophone, Capitol
Producer = George Martin
Reviews =
*Allmusic rating|5|5 [ link]
*"Rolling Stone" [ link]
Chronology = The Beatles US
Last album = "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
This album = "Magical Mystery Tour"
Next album = "The Beatles"
Misc = Extra chronology 2
Artist = The Beatles U.S.
Type = Double album
Last album = "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"
This album = "Magical Mystery Tour"
Next album = "The Beatles"

Misc = Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = Original double EP sleeve
Extra album cover 2
Upper caption = Alternate cover
Type = studio

Lower caption = 1971 German MMT LP with every track in true stereo

"Magical Mystery Tour" is the name of the 11-song album and six-song double EP by the English rock band The Beatles, first released in late 1967. It is the soundtrack to a one-hour television film that was originally aired, in black and white, in the UK in 1967. Initially released as an EP in the UK, the recording was expanded to a full album on subsequent U.S. release, adding several recent singles to the B-side.

While the songs on the EP proved popular, critical and popular response to the television film proved negative. Plans to air it on ABC television in the U.S. were cancelled, and "Magical Mystery Tour" was first shown in the United States only in a special showing as a fundraiser for the Liberation News Service in 1968. This was held at the Fillmore East in New York City. Fact|date=July 2008 There was no other showing in the U.S. until 1974, as a theatrical release on the midnight movies and college circuits, both of which were mainly underground.

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 (including John Lennon's uncle Charlie) were to travel on a charabanc bus and have unspecified "magical" adventures, in the manner of Ken Kesey's Merry Pranksters.

The "Magical Mystery Tour" movie was made, but the hoped-for "magical" adventures never happened. During the filming, an ever greater number of cars followed the hand-lettered bus, hoping to see what its passengers were up to, until a running traffic jam developed. The spectacle ended after Lennon angrily tore the lettering off the sides of the bus.

"Magical Mystery Tour" was the first Beatles film project following the death of manager Brian Epstein in August 1967, and there has been much speculation that the absence of Epstein's judgement contributed to its undisciplined production, as seen, for instance, in the absence of a screenplay and professional direction. The film originally appeared twice on BBC-TV over the 1967 Christmas holidays (primarily in black and white), but was savaged by critics on its releasecite book |first=Barry |last=Miles |authorlink=Barry Miles |title=Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now |year=1997 |pages=368-369 |publisher=Henry Holt & Company |location=New York |isbn=0-8050-5249-6] ; it was, however, noted by Steven Spielberg in film school (according to McCartney in one of the interviews for "The Beatles Anthology": "I've read that people like him have sort of said, 'When I was in school that was a film we really took notice of...' like an art film, you know, rather than a proper film.)

Film soundtrack

The movie's soundtrack was far more favourably received, and was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in 1968. [cite web | last = | first = | url = | title = The Beatles' Grammy and Academy and Emmy Award Nominations | format = | work = | publisher | accessdate = 2007-11-20] and reached number 1 in the U.S for eight weeks. It was released in the UK in December 1967 as a double EP. The American version was released in late November 1967 as an LP; its cover depicts the EP's artwork in an orange border, with a list of song titles above it. Capitol Records released "Magical Mystery Tour" as full-length album because EPs were not as popular in the US as they were in the UK. The "Magical Mystery Tour" LP was divided into two halves: The first side was the film soundtrack, and the second side was a collection of A- and B-sides released in 1967.

ide one

The first side (containing the same songs as the British EP, but in a different running order), is a prime example of music from the psychedelic era, opening with the grandly rollicking title track, followed by McCartney's wistful "The Fool on the Hill"; "Flying", one of only two commercially released Beatles instrumentals up until that time (the first being the very early, and often forgotten Harrison-Lennon composition "Cry for a Shadow"); "Blue Jay Way", an evocative mood piece by George Harrison; and the nostalgic "Your Mother Should Know."

Rounding out side one, "I Am the Walrus" — full of crashing orchestrations and dubbed vocals — is one of the Beatles' more startling, avant-garde creations. The lyrics, filled with maddening juxtapositions of words and phrases, were Lennon's sardonic response to learning that an English master at his alma mater, Quarry Bank Grammar School, was requiring his students to analyse Beatles songs. Lennon was particularly inspired by "Alice in Wonderland" during this period and the title comes from "The Walrus and the Carpenter".

ide two

The songs on side two were the band's non-album singles from the period. To keep to its release schedule, Capitol Records used a stereo simulator on the monaural master tapes of the last three songs, rather than waiting for the stereo tapes to be sent over from Britain. Even so, the seemingly random choice of songs showed the band at its creative peak.

Side two is anchored by two starkly contrasting, semi-autobiographical songs: Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever" and McCartney's "Penny Lane". Originally released as a double A-side single, Lennon's "Strawberry Fields" was a surreal account of childhood memories, while McCartney's "Penny Lane" was more light-hearted. Both songs were recorded at the beginning of the "Sgt. Pepper" sessions, but had been left off that album, a decision that producer George Martin later regretted. [cite web | last = | first = | url = | title = Strawberry Fields Forever | format = | work = | publisher =Rock and Pop Shop | accessdate = 2007-11-20]

The remaining tracks on side two include McCartney's counter (and A-side) to "I Am the Walrus" — the relentlessly upbeat, "Hello Goodbye", and the Lennon-McCartney collaboration "Baby, You're a Rich Man" (the first song recorded specifically for The Beatles' animated film "Yellow Submarine", which would be released in theatres one year later). The LP concludes with Lennon's jaunty anthem "All You Need Is Love" — the centrepiece of the Our World satellite broadcast — which coincided with 1967's Summer of Love and encapsulated the sentiments of the flower power movement.


When standardising The Beatles' releases for Compact Disc in the late 1980s, the American LP version (which was imported into the UK, peaked on the British album charts at #31 as an American import, and was issued by Parlophone Records in Britain in 1976) was included with the British album line-up instead of the British EP, with true stereo recordings replacing the earlier processed ones. (The true-stereo version of the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP was first issued in Germany in 1971, but the 1976 Parlophone issue used the Capitol masters with the fake stereo.) Capitol quietly reissued the "Magical Mystery Tour" LP using the German masters in the US with catalogue number C1-48061 in true stereo. The remaining Beatles non-LP single sides were compiled as "Past Masters, Volume One" and "Past Masters, Volume Two".

Although the British version of the LP released in 1976 used the same fake stereo on the last three songs as the Capitol LP, it did feature “I am the Walrus” with the intro riff repeated six times rather than the American LP’s four times.

Track listing

All songs credited to Lennon/McCartney, except where noted.

LP release

ide one

#"Magical Mystery Tour" – 2:51
#*Featuring Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall on percussion, David Mason, Elgar Howarth, Roy Copestake and John Wilbraham on trumpets.
#"The Fool on the Hill" – 3:00
#*Featuring Christoper Taylor, Richard Taylor and Jack Ellory on flute.cite book |first=Ian |last=MacDonald |authorlink=Ian MacDonald |title=Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties |year=1994 |pages=217-218 |publisher=Henry Holt and Company |location=New York |isbn=0-8050-2780-7]
#*John Lennon and George Harrison on harmonicas
#"Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) – 2:16
#"Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) – 3:56
#"Your Mother Should Know" – 2:29
#"I Am the Walrus" – 4:36
#*Featuring 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 Neil 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.

ide two

#"Hello Goodbye" – 3:31
#*Featuring Ken Essex, Leo Birnbaum on violas.
#"Strawberry Fields Forever" – 4:10
#*Featuring 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" – 3:03
#*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" – 3:03
#*Featuring Eddie Kramer on vibraphone.
#"All You Need Is Love" – 3:48
#*Featuring 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.

Double EP release

ide one

#"Magical Mystery Tour" - 2:51
#"Your Mother Should Know" - 2:29

ide two

#"I Am the Walrus" - 4:36

ide three

#"The Fool on the Hill" - 3:00
#"Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) - 2:16

ide four

#"Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) - 3:56

Release history

ee also

* "Magical Mystery Tour (film)"
* "The Magical Mystery Tour (coach trip)


External links

* [ Beatles comments on each song]
* [ Recording data and notes on mono/stereo mixes and remixes]
* [ The real Blue Jay Way]

succession box
before = "Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd."
by The Monkees
title = "Billboard" 200 number-one album
years = January 6 - March 1, 1968
after = "Blooming Hits" by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra

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