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Magical Mystery Tour
Released - November 27, 1967, on Apple Records. Produced by
This album came about from the sub-par movie of the same name, but gosh, this was so much better! Truth is, only the first six songs found here were from the movie's soundtrack, and those same songs were released in the UK as a EP. But when it was time for the American release, since EPs were not the way to go in the US, the last five songs - all recorded around the same time as the first six (in 1967, and all released as singles - or B sides), were added. So in a way you could say this isn't a true LP, but a EP with extras. True, however, if you lived in the US, it was still, and always was, a Beatle's LP. The thing is, after all of these years, none of the American released Beatle LPs survived to live on as CDs, with only the UK versions left (correct move!), so this American release is the only one to survive and make it to CD, which also was the smart and right move.
The music you get to hear on Magical Mystery Tour is pure joy! It would have been hard to improve on all but two of these songs. The four best tunes are John Lennon's "I Am The Walrus" - which also was the best cut from the EP, and his "Strawberry Fields Forever", both with wonderfully twisted lyrics in a way only Lennon could have written them.The other two best numbers here are Paul McCartney's "Hello Goodbye" and "Penny Lane", both equally brilliant and it's hard to say which one is better than the other.
"All You Need Is Love", with it's simple lyrics by Lennon, was another great number, recorded live (for the most part) on TV before millions of viewers (myself included, as no Beatle fan alive back then would have missed it!), and with several famous guests singing along with the Fabs.
Yet not all the songs here were upbeat, Lennon's song about their manager Brian Epstein, "Baby You're A Rich Man", although not a put-down, was almost as if John was trying to tell him to lighten up a little and enjoy life more. Sadly, the song was written a bit too late for Epstein, as he would die not to long after it was released. Then you got the McCartney tune, "Fool On The Hill", the flutes heard on this one are enough to take it all the way to the top.
As I noted, there are two songs here that could have been improved on. "Flying", one of the few instrumentals ever recorded by the Beatles, is average at best, and Harrision's "Blue Jay Way", seems to be missing something, yet I'm not sure what. But overall, this album is so full of hits that you can't help but love it!
To listen to some soundclips from Magical Mystery Tour or to purchase it, click on this link: Magical Mystery Tour