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Magical Mystery Tour

Recorded in 1967, the Magical Mystery Tour album was the Beatles' culmination of an 18 month period unsurpassed as the most creative time for any rock and roll band.

After Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film based upon the Beatles and their music. This film was to be unscripted; various "ordinary" people (including John's uncle Charlie Lennon) were to travel on a bus and have unspecified adventures. The Magical Mystery Tour movie was made, but it turned out that no interesting adventures actually occurred. The film was a bomb, according to critics; however, it is often praised by filmakers like Steven Spielberg. The soundtrack itself was an undisputed masterpiece.

The LP Magical Mystery Tour was divided into two halves; the first side being the actual movie soundtrack, and the second side being a collection of A and B-sides. The first side is pyschedelia at its very best with "Flying", the Beatles only instrumental; "Blue Jay Way", a George Harrison acid trip; and the title track itself.

Side two is celebrated by many as the Beatles' most creative suite of songs. Both Paul and John Lennon are the head writers on three songs on this side, and the songs are as different as night and day. The most famous of these contrasts are John's "Strawberry Fields Forever" and Paul's "Penny Lane". Released as a double A-side, John's "Fields" was a dark and troubled account of a childhood memory, while Paul's "Lane" was about the same subject, but light and poppy. Both songs were in fact recorded during the Sgt. Pepper sessions, but had been left off that album.

"I Am The Walrus", at the end of side one and full of crashing orchestras and dubbed vocals, is John Lennon's response to learning that a Quarry Bank School English master was making his class analyze Beatles' songs. Lennon decided to make a song that would be impossible to understand, even by an English teacher. Paul counters that with one of the brightest pop songs ever (despite it's lyrical dismay), "Hello Goodbye". Paul also offers "Baby You're A Rich Man", and the anthem of the One World program and pyschedelia itself, "All You Need Is Love" finishes the LP.

This album may not have been as historically significant as Sgt. Pepper, as valuable track for track as Revolver, as varied as The Beatles, as romantic as Rubber Soul, or as perfectly scoped as Abbey Road, but it holds up as one of the most important recordings of the psychedelic era.

Side One

  1. "Magical Mystery Tour"
  2. "The Fool On The Hill"
  3. "Flying"
  4. "Blue Jay Way"
  5. "Your Mother Should Know"
  6. "I Am The Walrus

Side Two

  1. "Hello Goodbye"
  2. "Strawberry Fields Forever
  3. "Penny Lane
  4. "Baby You're A Rich Man"
  5. "All You Need Is Love"