Magical Mystery Tour (song)

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"Magical Mystery Tour"
Song by The Beatles
from the album Magical Mystery Tour
ReleasedNovember 27 1967 (US) (LP)
December 8 1967 (UK) (EP)
November 19 1976 (UK) (LP)
RecordedApril 25, 1967
GenrePsychedelic Rock
LabelParlophone, Capitol, EMI
Producer(s)George Martin

"Magical Mystery Tour" is a song by The Beatles, the opening track and theme song for the record and made-for-TV film of the same name. Richie Unterberger of All Music Guide called it "a pleasant, get-up-and-go tune, but not one of the Beatles' very best songs," and unlike the theme songs for their 4 primary film projects, it was not a smash hit.[1]


The song is credited to Lennon/McCartney, and Paul McCartney said it was co-written.[2] John Lennon said, "Paul's song. Maybe I did part of it, but it was his concept."[3]

McCartney said the "Roll up! Roll up!" introduction was inspired by a barker, and is also a sly reference to rolling a joint. The remaining lyrics explain in a general way the premise of the film: a mystery tour of the type that was popular in Britain when the Beatles were young. Lennon and McCartney expanded the tour to make it magical, which allowed it to be "a little more surreal than the real ones."[2]


Recording began on 25 April, 1967, less than a week after the final sessions for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The song was not complete when the session began and much of the evening was spent in rehearsals, but by the end of the evening the basic rhythm track was complete. The Beatles added bass guitar and vocal overdubs on 26 April and 27 April.[4] On 3 May, the brass fanfare and other parts were added in a disorganized session where the trumpet players began the evening without a score. According to Philip Jones, a friend of one of the players who was present, one of the players eventually took matters into his own hands and wrote a score out for them.[5]


"Magical Mystery Tour" was released on a six-song EP in the UK on 8 December, 1967. In the U.S., the EP was stretched to an LP by including five songs previously released as singles. During the CD era, the LP version was issued on CD in both countries.[6]

Cover versions

"Magical Mystery Tour" was covered by Cheap Trick and released on their 1991 greatest hits compilation. It has also been covered live by Type O Negative on their Dead Again tour, and was a hit for Ambrosia in 1978.


  1. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Review of "Magical Mystery Tour"". All Music Guide. Retrieved 2007-03-07.
  2. ^ a b Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. pp. 352–353. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
  3. ^ Sheff, David (2000). All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 185. ISBN 0-312-25464-4.
  4. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 110. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  5. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 111.
  6. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. p. 200.