Magical Mystery Tour

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This article is about the Beatles' EP and LP. For the song, see Magical Mystery Tour (song). For the film, see Magical Mystery Tour (film).
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
Genre Psychedelic rock
Length 36:35
Label Capitol, Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles North American chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
(1967)
Magical Mystery Tour
(1967)
The Beatles
(1968)
Alternative Cover
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.[1] 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[edit]

Magical Mystery Tour film[edit]

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.[2]

Initial release formats[edit]

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.[3] One idea considered was to issue an EP which played at 33 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.[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 £15 today).

EPs were not popular in the US at the time so (and against the Beatles' wishes)[citation needed] Capitol Records decided to release the soundtrack as an LP by adding tracks from that year's non-album singles.[3] 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.[3][5]

Release history[edit]

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 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[7] 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[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.

* With "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" in mono.

‡ 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 US 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 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.[13]

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.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[14]
The A.V. Club A[15]
Blender 5/5 stars[16]
Pitchfork Media (10/10)[17]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 3.5/5 stars[18]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide 4/5 stars[19]

The soundtrack was far more favourably received by critics than the film.[citation needed] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1968[20] 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."[21] 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."[22]

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.[23]

Track listing[edit]

Album[edit]

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

Side one: Film soundtrack
No. Title Lead vocals Length
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
No. Title Lead vocals Length
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
Total length:
36:35

Double EP[edit]

  • 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

Personnel[edit]

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[24]
  • "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

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[25] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[26] 4× Platinum 400,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Platinum 300,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

dagger BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.[29]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Beatles, The – Magical Mystery Tour at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 28 September 2011. 
  2. ^ Miles 1997, pp. 368–369.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Lewisohn 1988, p. 131.
  4. ^ Neaverson.
  5. ^ Davis 1980.
  6. ^ a b RareBeatles.com.
  7. ^ Russell 1982.
  8. ^ The Beatles - E.P. Collections
  9. ^ Magical Mystery Tour Reconsidered...In True Stereo » Rock Town Hall
  10. ^ Magical Mystery Tour
  11. ^ everyHit.com - UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts
  12. ^ Other US LPs were subsequently released as part of The Capitol Albums volumes 1 and 2 boxed sets, but not individually.
  13. ^ Album Review: the Beatles – Past Masters [Remastered] « Consequence of Sound
  14. ^ Magical Mystery Tour at AllMusic
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ Blender magazine review
  17. ^ Pitchfork Media review
  18. ^ The Beatles | Album Guide | Rolling Stone Music
  19. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 27.
  20. ^ Marinucci.
  21. ^ Vol 1. No. 4, January 20, 1968, p. 20
  22. ^ Christgau, Robert (May 1968). "Columns". Esquire. Retrieved 2 February 2013. 
  23. ^ Billboard magazine, week ending October 27, 2012.
  24. ^ MacDonald 2005, p. 271.
  25. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour". Music Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2013. 
  27. ^ "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
  28. ^ "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
  29. ^ "Beatles albums finally go platinum". British Phonographic Industry (BBC News). 2 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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