The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour

ARTIST: The Beatles 220px-TheBeatlesMagicalMysteryTouralbumcover

TITLE: Magical Mystery Tour


CHART ACTION: #1 US, #31 UK (as an import)

SINGLES: the EP hit #2 in the UK. Penny Lane (#1 UK, #1 UK), Strawberry Fields Forever (#8 US), All You Need is Love (#1 US, #1 UK), Hello Goodbye (#1 US, #1 UK)

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: I Am the Walrus, Fool on the Hill, Baby You’re A Rich Man

LINEUP: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr. Session players added things.

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The soundtrack to the first real commercial oopsy by the Beatles sold well, but it was saved by singles found on the second side of the album. (No such luck in the UK at first release).

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: In the UK, the six songs for the TV special Magical Mystery Tour were released as a double EP set. In the US, where that wouldn’t fly, they added five tracks from recent singles onto the B-side. Thank goodness for that.

Not to say that the movie songs are horrible, but they seem like leftovers or derivatives (especially the title track, “Flying” and “Your Mother Should Know”). The best tracks, “Blue Jay Way” and the all-timer “I Am the Walrus” were the last true gasps of the psychedelic experimentation that the Beatles performed. 220px-MagicalMysteryTourDoubleEPcover

The single tracks on the B-side included the brilliant double-sided hit “Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever” (the best value of any 45 ever, perhaps), and the almost as great “Hello, Goodbye”. That made the album a definite value for the US market, especially since the TV special  never was released here until much, much later.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: John and the Beatles just wanted the stand-alone soundtrack released in the US, but they didn’t have control over that.


 GRADE B+: An A+ second side for sure, but a B first side and I’m downgrading a bit as well for the patched together LP.

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