Magical Mystery Tour
|Magical Mystery Tour|
|Soundtrack album / compilation by The Beatles|
|Released||27 November 1967 (US LP)
8 December 1967 (UK double EP)
|Recorded||25 April – 7 November 1967, EMI and Olympic Studios, London|
|The Beatles North American chronology|
Double EP - UK Release cover
Magical Mystery Tour is a record by the English rock group the Beatles that was released as a double EP in the United Kingdom and an LP in the United States. Produced by George Martin, both versions include the six-song soundtrack to the 1967 film of the same name. The record was released in the UK on 8 December 1967 as a six-track double EP on the Parlophone label, and in the US on 27 November 1967, as an eleven-track LP compiled by Capitol Records, adding the band's 1967 single releases. The EP was also released in Germany, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Australia and Japan. The first official release as an eleven-track LP in the UK did not occur until 1976.
Despite widespread media criticism of the Magical Mystery Tour film, the soundtrack was a critical and commercial success and a number one Grammy-nominated album in the US. In 1987, when the Beatles updated their entire recorded canon for digital compact disc release, the track-listing of the 1967 US LP release was adopted as the official "core catalogue" version of the Magical Mystery Tour recordings rather than the six-track 1967 UK release which would not have been a practical configuration in the CD era. Along with the rest of the group's studio albums, Magical Mystery Tour was remastered and released on 9 September 2009 for the first time since its CD release.
History of the project
Magical Mystery Tour film
After recording 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 1964 Bedford VAL 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.
Initial release formats
The number of songs used in the film posed a challenge for the Beatles and their UK record company EMI, as there were too few for an LP album but too many for an EP. One idea considered was to issue an EP which played at 33⅓ rpm but this would have caused a loss of audio fidelity that was deemed unacceptable. The solution chosen was to issue an innovative format of two EPs packaged in a gatefold sleeve with a 28-page booklet containing the lyrics and colour pictures. 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". The package was released in the UK on 8 December, in time for the Christmas market, at the sub £1 price of 19s 6d (equivalent to £15 today).
EPs were not popular in the US at the time so (and against the Beatles' wishes) Capitol Records decided to release the soundtrack as an LP by adding tracks from that year's non-album singles. The first side of the LP contained the film soundtrack songs (like earlier British Beatles soundtrack albums), and the second side had the remaining A-side and B-sides released in 1967, with three of the five songs—"Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love"—presented in duophonic, fake "processed" stereo sound.
|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||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 The last 4 songs are in mono.|
|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||EMI||stereo cassette||TC-PCS 3077||Titled Magical Mystery Tour & other titles|
|United Kingdom||19 November 1976||Apple, Parlophone||stereo LP†||PCTC 255||Also in a limited edition yellow vinyl, sold individually, not part of a boxed set.|
|Worldwide||21 September 1987||Apple, Parlophone, EMI||stereo Compact Disc||CDP 7 48062 2|
|United States||1988||Capitol||stereo LP||C1-48061|
|United Kingdom||15 June 1992||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 "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" in mono.
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—in 1976, EMI released it in the UK  but reusing the Capitol masters with the fake-stereo.
When standardising the Beatles' releases for the worldwide Compact Disc release in 1987, the US LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (in true-stereo) was included with the otherwise British album line-up. 
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 CDs of its original albums, 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.
The album (along with the Beatles' entire UK studio album catalogue) was remastered and reissued on CD in 2009. Acknowledging 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.
|The A.V. Club||A|
|The Rolling Stone Record Guide|||
The soundtrack was far more favourably received by critics than the film. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1968 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." Robert Christgau of Esquire found three of the album's five new songs "disappointing", including "The Fool on the Hill", which he felt "may be the worst song the Beatles have ever recorded", but still found the album "worth buying—for all the singles, which are good music, after all; for the tender camp of 'Your Mother Should Know'; and especially for Harrison's hypnotic 'Blue Jay Way,' an adaptation of Oriental modes in which everything works, lyrics included."
The 2012 remastered Magical Mystery Tour DVD entered the Billboard Top Music Video chart at No. 1, while the CD album climbed to No. 1 on the Billboard Catalog Album Chart, No. 2 on the Billboard Soundtrack albums chart, and reentered at No. 57 on the Billboard 200 album chart for the week ending October 27, 2012.
All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney except where noted.
|Side one: Film soundtrack|
|1.||"Magical Mystery Tour"||Paul McCartney with John Lennon||2:48|
|2.||"The Fool on the Hill"||Paul McCartney||3:00|
|3.||"Flying" (John Lennon/Paul McCartney/George Harrison/Richard Starkey)||(Instrumental)||2:16|
|4.||"Blue Jay Way" (Harrison)||George Harrison||3:50|
|5.||"Your Mother Should Know"||Paul McCartney||2:33|
|6.||"I Am the Walrus"||John Lennon||4:35|
|Side two: 1967 singles|
|1.||"Hello, Goodbye"||Paul McCartney||3:24|
|2.||"Strawberry Fields Forever"||John Lennon||4:05|
|3.||"Penny Lane"||Paul McCartney||3:00|
|4.||"Baby, You're a Rich Man"||John Lennon||3:07|
|5.||"All You Need Is Love"||John Lennon||3:57|
- 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
- John Lennon – vocals, guitar, keyboards (acoustic and electric pianos, mellotron, organ, clavioline), harmonica on "The Fool on the Hill"
- Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, piano, mellotron, recorder on "The Fool on the Hill"
- George Harrison – vocals, guitar, organ, harmonica on "The Fool on the Hill"
- Ringo Starr – drums and percussion
- 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
- "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 Rose Eccles Nash, 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
|Canada (Music Canada)||4× Platinum||400,000^|
|United Kingdom (BPI)||Platinum||300,000^|
|United States (RIAA)||6× Platinum||6,000,000^|
^shipments figures based on certification alone
BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.
- "Beatles, The – Magical Mystery Tour at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
- Miles 1997, pp. 368–369.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 131.
- Davis 1980.
- Russell 1982.
- The Beatles - E.P. Collections
- Magical Mystery Tour Reconsidered...In True Stereo » Rock Town Hall
- Magical Mystery Tour
- everyHit.com - UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts
- Other US LPs were subsequently released as part of The Capitol Albums volumes 1 and 2 boxed sets, but not individually.
- Album Review: the Beatles – Past Masters [Remastered] « Consequence of Sound
- Magical Mystery Tour at AllMusic
- Klosterman, Chuck (8 September 2009). "Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles". The A.V. Club (Chicago). Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
- Blender magazine review
- Pitchfork Media review
- Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 27.
- Vol 1. No. 4, January 20, 1968, p. 20
- Christgau, Robert (May 1968). "Columns". Esquire. Retrieved 2 February 2013.
- Billboard magazine, week ending October 27, 2012.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 271.
- "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "Canadian album certifications – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour". Music Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
- "British album certifications – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 September 2013. Enter Magical Mystery Tour in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
- "American album certifications – Beatles, The – Magical Mystery Tour". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 September 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
- "Beatles albums finally go platinum". British Phonographic Industry (BBC News). 2 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.
- Davis, Randall (1980). Rarities (Media notes). The Beatles. London: Apple Records.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Marinucci, Steve. "The Beatles' Grammy and Academy and Emmy Award Nominations". AbbeyRd's Beatles Page. Retrieved 20 November 2007.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- Neaverson, Bob. "Magical Mystery Tour Part 1 - Background and Production". The Beatles Movies. Retrieved 19 September 2009.
- Russell, Jeff (1982). The Beatles Album File and Complete Discography. J.P. Russell and Blanford Books Ltd.
- "Magical Mystery Tour Reference and Price Guide". RareBeatles.com. Retrieved 5 November 2009.
- Penman, Ross (2009). The Beatles in New Zealand...a discography. Ross Penman. ISBN 978-0-473-15155-3.
- Beatles comments on each song
- Recording data and notes on mono/stereo mixes and remixes
- The real Blue Jay Way
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
by The Monkees
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6 January – 1 March 1968
Blooming Hits by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra