Magical Mystery Tour: Wikis

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Magical Mystery Tour
Studio album by The Beatles
Released 27 November 1967 (US)
Recorded 24 November 1966 – 7 November 1967, Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios, London
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Length 36:49
Label Capitol, Parlophone
Producer George Martin
Professional reviews
The Beatles American chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
(1967)
Magical Mystery Tour
(1967)
The Beatles
(1968)
Singles from Magical Mystery Tour
  1. "Strawberry Fields Forever"/"Penny Lane"
    Released: 13 February 1967 (US)
  2. "All You Need Is Love"
    Released: 17 July 1967 (US)
  3. "Hello, Goodbye"
    Released: 24 November 1967 (US)
Alternate cover
1971 German MMT LP with every track in true stereo
Magical Mystery Tour
EP (Double EP) by The Beatles
Released 8 December 1967 (UK)
Recorded 25 April – 7 November 1967, Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios, London
Length 19:08
Label Parlophone
Producer George Martin

Magical Mystery Tour is a record by the English rock band The Beatles. The record consists of the six-song soundtrack to a one-hour television movie of the same name originally aired in 1967. The six-track double-extended play disk (EP) was released in the United Kingdom on 8 December 1967. In the United States, the record was released 11 days earlier on 27 November 1967 as an 11-track LP which also included five of the six songs on the band's three 1967 singles on the B-side (the sixth, "Hello, Goodbye"'s B-side, "I Am the Walrus", was already on the A-side as part of the film's soundtrack).

The US album was later adopted by Apple and EMI as the preferred version of the record when The Beatles' discography was being updated for the Compact Disc format; This was the only US release chosen to be included with the other UK releases (other US records were subsequently released as part of The Capitol Albums volumes 1 and 2 boxed sets, but not individually). 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.

Contents

History of the project

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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 judgment 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 (first in black and white on BBC One on Boxing Day, then in colour on BBC Two a few days later), but was savaged by critics on its release;[1] 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 number of songs used in the film posed a problem for The Beatles and their UK record company EMI, as there were not enough for an LP album but too many for an EP.[2] One idea considered was to issue an EP which played at 33 rpm but this would have caused a loss of volume and fidelity. The solution 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. The package was released in the UK on the 8th of December, in time for the Christmas market, at the sub £1 price of 19s 6d (97.5p), which made the package much cheaper than an LP. As EPs were not popular in the US at the time, Capitol Records decided to release a proper album, although this wasn't what the Beatles wanted.[2] In 1976 EMI released the LP version in the UK to satisfy public demand.[2]

The American version was released in late November 1967; its cover depicts the EP's artwork in an orange border, with a list of song titles above it, and the album included, until the 1980s, the EP set's 24-page photo/comic booklet blown up to LP-size. The Magical Mystery Tour LP was divided into two halves: the first side was the film soundtrack (like the earlier British Beatles soundtrack albums A Hard Day's Night and Help!), 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. In addition, all stereo versions, from both the LP and EPs, of "I Am the Walrus", were in true stereo only through the second verse, after which the song "reverts" to fake stereo.[2][3]

According to the writer Bob Neaverson:

The degree to which the format of the EP package was shaped solely by necessity is unknown. 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 movie's soundtrack was far more favourably received than the film. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for best album in 1968.[5] and reached number 1 in the US for eight weeks.

Release

When standardising The Beatles' releases for the worldwide Compact Disc release on 21 September 1987, the American LP version (which was imported into the UK, peaked on the British album charts at number 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 (except for the portion of "I Am the Walrus"). (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 in 1988 using the German masters in the US with catalogue number C1-48061 in true stereo.[6]

The US LP, along with the The Beatles' UK studio album catalog, was reissued on 9 September 2009 (09/09/09) as a series of remastered CDs. As the album was conceived and first released in the US, the CD label uses the vintage US Capitol LP label design used at the time. Each CD features a unique mini-documentary about the album. Early copies of this CD bear an error listing the Let It Be mini-documentary.[7]

The album cover can be seen in Stanley Kubricks film A Clockwork Orange. It is visible during the scene in the record shop, along with numerous other albums, for example Pink Floyd's Atom Heart Mother.

Track listing

LP release

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

Side one
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"   McCartney 2:51
2. "The Fool on the Hill"   McCartney 3:00
3. "Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) (Instrumental) 2:16
4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) Harrison 3:56
5. "Your Mother Should Know"   McCartney 2:29
6. "I Am the Walrus"   Lennon 4:36
Side two
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Hello, Goodbye"   McCartney 3:30
2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"   Lennon 4:10
3. "Penny Lane"   McCartney 3:03
4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"   Lennon 3:03
5. "All You Need Is Love"   Lennon 3:48
36:48

Double EP release

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

Side one
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"   McCartney 2:51
2. "Your Mother Should Know"   McCartney 2:29
Side two
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "I Am the Walrus"   Lennon 4:36
Side three
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "The Fool on the Hill"   McCartney 3:00
2. "Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) (Instrumental) 2:16
Side four
Track Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) Harrison 3:56
19:08

Personnel

The Beatles
Engineers
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[8]
  • "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

Critical reception

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 US 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.[citation needed] There was no other showing in the US until 1974, as a theatrical release on the midnight movies and college circuits, both of which were mainly underground.

Release history

Country Date Label Format Catalog
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
stereo double EP SMMT 1-2
New Zealand 1970 World Record Club LP SLZ 8308
United Kingdom 19 November 1976 Apple, Parlophone LP PCTC 255
Worldwide reissue 21 September 1987 Apple, Parlophone, EMI Compact Disc CDP 7 48062 2
Japan 11 March 1998 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 51124
Japan 21 January 2004 Toshiba-EMI Remastered LP TOJP 60144

See also

Notes

References

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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