Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour (often abbreviated MMT) was released in the UK on December 8, 1967 as a six-song double EP, not as an LP. In the US it was released as an LP on November 27, 1967 with 11 tracks that included the six MMT songs from the UK EP and five songs previously released as singles during 1967. When the "official" discography was compiled by Apple Records and EMI and updated for CD formats, this album was the only US release to be taken as authoritative over the UK release, due to its completeness.
The origin of Magical Mystery Tour was McCartney's wish to make a film about the Beatles, following up on the nascent idea for Sgt. Pepper, namely a virtual concert performance in album form. The premise was to charter a bus, put "normal" people aboard, and take off for "magical places," all the while singing Beatles songs. The concept could not be carried out, as the bus attracted so much public attention that filming was rendered impossible.
In between Sgt. Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour, the Beatles' friend, defender and manager, Brian Epstein, died (on August 27, 1967). Critics said that Epstein's absence explained the unstructured, often chaotic approach taken by the group in both the recording and the filming of MMT. When the film appeared on BBC television in the last week of 1967, it was panned by critics, who dismissed it as some sort of avant-garde "art film." Lennon later said that he really liked the project, because "it was so weird." If that was John's assessment, it is no wonder that the critics found it hard to fathom. The film production of Magical Mystery Tour was widely regarded as the first real artistic failure of the group.
The soundtrack, too long for an EP and too short for an LP, posed commercial issues to the record company. EMI opted to produce a double EP in the UK, including a booklet with lyrics and photographs. As EP's were not commercially viable in the US, Capitol took the decision to make an LP, filling it out with previously released singles.
Unlike the film, the album generated a very positive public response. It was nominated for a Grammy (as best album) and topped the US charts for several weeks.
Some of the tracks for MMT were recorded as early as November of 1966 (Strawberry Fields Forever followed by Penny Lane), while most were created during 1967, starting on April 25 (after work on Sgt. Pepper was finished). All You Need Is Love, Baby You're a Rich Man, It's All Too Much, All Together Now and You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) were added over the summer.
The film was shot over two weeks, beginning on September 11, 1967. Final work on Lennon's masterful I Am The Walrus was completed in November of 1967 as the project was mixed, for release later in the month and in December.
|Side A||Lead Vocals||Written by||Length|
|Magical Mystery Tour||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:51|
|The Fool on the Hill||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||3:00|
|Blue Jay Way||Harrison||George Harrison||3:56|
|Your Mother Should Know||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:29|
|I Am the Walrus||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||4:36|
|Strawberry Fields Forever||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||4:10|
|Baby, You're a Rich Man||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||3:03|
|All You Need Is Love||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||3:48|