Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

1.Magical Mystery Tour
2.The Fool On The Hill
4.Blue Jay Way
5.Your Mother Should Know
6.I Am The Walrus
7.Hello Goodbye
8.Strawberry Fields Forever
9.Penny Lane
10.Baby You're A Rich Man
11.All You Need Is Love


If one wanted to be extremely literal, it must be stated that this album was not the follow-up to Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. What actually happened was that this project was actually a movie that was very hastily made by the group and shown only on British television in 1967. The original realease of this "album" was only 6 songs, so it was actually released as an "EP" (extended play record). Capitol Records, who distributed the Beatles in the United States, decided to package it along with 5 other songs that were not included in the movie. For the next decade, the U.S. "import" was selling better than the EP so EMI decided to re-release this as an album in the mid seventies. When the Beatles music was finally available on CD more than a decade later, it made the most sense to issue this as Capital had done in the U.S.

To be quite blunt, the movie was awful and the music that accompanied it was never given a fair shake because of the subconscious relation to the film. When you essentially "double" the EP with random songs, it would appear that this would make the collection even more murkier. The album does suffer a bit from inconsistency, but to be honest the songs overall are outstanding.

Strawberry Fields Forever was actually released as a single with Penny Lane as its B-Side (or alternate A-side) during the "Sergeant Pepper" sessions, and by the time this album came out, everyone already knew (and loved) the two songs. All You Need Is Love, which was featured on the BBC as a "hippie sing along" broadcast across the world was also a familiar well-loved melody. Of course, none of those three songs were on the original EP which is why you can argue that the original release was only made stronger by the adding of material. The two songs that stand out that were part of the film are the title cut and McCartney's haunting ballad The Fool On The Hill. Lennon's I Am The Walrus is latter day Lennon at his latter day best with nonsensical lyrics and cacophonous noises throughout the song that never hinder the piece. The lesser known tracks, McCartney's flapper Your Mother Should Know and Harrison's dreamy Blue Jay Way have their charms and don't embarrass the group, and neither does the instrumental Flying.

Hello Goodbye is another fun loving sing-along and, the album's only liability seems to be their ode to the soon to be departed Brian Epstein in Baby You're A Rich Man that seems a little too whiny for what this group is capable of doing. There's just too much great material here to let the album's "history" interfere with the overall enjoyment, and it's perfectly acceptable to refer to this one as a legitimate "album".

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