The Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour Songs

By the time The Beatles released their 1967 album “Magical Mystery Tour“, they were long established as the biggest band in the world. It arrived in UK stores as a double EP and as an album in America and, of course, was also used as the title for the group’s third film.

The double EP release only contained six songs, meaning fans in the UK were not able to buy the full eleven track LP until it arrived in that format in 1976. That meant some of the band’s most iconic songs were not available on the Magical Mystery Tour album, including “Strawberry Fields” Forever and “All You Need Is Love”.

Similar to the release of their previous two films, Magical Mystery Tour was well received by the fans, and the album also went on to collect a Grammy nomination in America. Unlike their first two films it was made for TV rather than cinema, and was shown on Boxing Day in 1967 in black and white.

Paul McCartney is credited with coming up with the idea for the film, taking inspiration from the cross-country bus odyssey taken by novelist Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters across America. He felt it tied in with the mystery tours sometimes taken by working class children in England, who would be taken on chaperoned bus journeys to an unknown part of the countryside.

However, due to a number of bad critical reviews, American networks decided not to show the film. According to Peter Brown, assistant to The Beatles, everyone except McCartney agreed the film was terrible after watching it at a private screening. However, McCartney insisted it would be well received and insisted the film was released.

Magical Mystery Tour

This was written a short while after McCartney came up with the idea for the film and used as the title track. The band had only finished recording Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band four days previously. It remains a popular song for many fans and can still be heard on The Bootleg Beatles tour today, sang by the cover band.

Your Mother Should Know

McCartney also wrote this song, with some similarities to the more popular “When I’m 64” featured on Sgt. Pepper. He took inspiration from a popular British film called A Taste of Honey released in 1961.

I Am the Walrus

A well-loved song by most fans of the group, this John Lennon-led song is mysterious with its lyrics but just as catchy as anything else The Beatles have made. Because it was released on the EP and as the B-side to the number one hit, “Hello, Goodbye” it managed to be at both number one and two in the charts at the same time. The song also has a lyric that refers back to one of their previous favourites, “Lucy in the Sky”.

The Fool on the Hill

The part of the film where this song appears was shot separately from the main sections – and the rest of the band were totally unaware of it. Paul went to France to shoot it before adding it later on. However, because no clapperboard was used during shooting, squeezing it into the film proved to be very difficult. As the years rolled by it went on to become one of McCartney’s most re-recorded ballads.

Flying

“Flying“ is a short two-minute instrumental track that, like so much of their music, has also been covered by numerous bands, although most of them are quite obscure.

Blue Jay Way

Penned by George Harrison, it takes its name from a street in Los Angeles where he stayed for a short while. It is probably the most experimental track on the album, with much of the recording given a flange effect. Harrison composed the song during the period where he was under the tutelage of the legendary Indian classical musician Ravi Shankar.

The songs above featured on the double EP released in the UK. The US release came with an additional 5 tracks, which included:

Strawberry Fields Forever

Also released as a double A-side with “Penny Lane” in 1967, “Strawberry Fields Forever” remains one of the most famous psychedelic-inspired songs of the era, taking inspiration from a rundown Salvation Army children’s home close to where John lived as a child.

Penny Lane

As mentioned above, this was already a single release as well as being included on the US release. “Penny Lane” was the road where Paul would have to change buses on his way to John’s house when they were younger, and the lyrics maybe focus on the sights and sounds of people and places in the area.

Baby, You’re a Rich Man

When “All You Need Is Love” was released, this song was used as the B-side. It came together as a result of “two separate pieces … forced into one song” according to Lennon when he was interviewed in 1980.

All You Need Is Love

An iconic song that almost everyone knows, whether you are a Beatles fan or not. As obvious as the message may be, it couldn’t be more true and it still sounds as fresh today as it did 50 years ago.

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