8 December 2013

8th December - The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour

Artist – Album: The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour
Released: 8th December 1967
Sounds Like: Roll up, roll up for the Mystery Tour

Around the same time that the Beatles quit performing live, the quality of their album releases went up several notches. December 1965 saw the release of Rubber Soul, August ’66 was Revolver, June ’67 was Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, November ’68 was The Beatles (White album), September ’69 had Abbey Road and finally, after they’d split, Let It Be was released in May 1970. The other two albums that saw the light of day during that incredibly productive period were soundtracks – one was Yellow Submarine, which was poorly received and is generally considered to be one of their weakest efforts, and the other is Magical Mystery Tour, the forgotten great album from the Beatles catalogue.

In truth, it was never intended to actually be an album – in the UK, only the first six songs were originally released as a large EP, but in the US they added that year’s singles and B-sides to complete the set – and it doesn’t possess the same holistic approach of some of its siblings. The other factor that means it is comparatively ignored is that the parent film is, by all accounts, rubbish. But its lack of recognition should by no means dissuade you from giving it a spin.

The EP tracks are strong – from the rousing opener ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ to Lennon’s trippy ‘I Am the Walrus’ via the atmospheric ballad ‘The Fool on the Hill’ and the stately music hall of ‘Your Mother Should Know’ – but the singles are from another planet. Seriously, ‘Hello, Goodbye’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ one after the other, my mind is blown. The ordinary ‘Baby, You’re a Rich Man’ gives you time to breath, before the curtain is drawn with the wonderful sing-a-long ‘All You Need is Love’. It is an awesome album and one that completely deserves its place in the Beatles canon.

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Magical Mystery Tour – 2:48
2.       The Fool on the Hill – 3:00
3.       Flying – 2:16
4.       Blue Jay Way – 3:50
5.       Your Mother Should Know – 2:33
6.       I Am the Walrus – 4:35
7.       Hello, Goodbye – 3:24
8.       Strawberry Fields Forever – 4:05
9.       Penny Lane – 3:00
10.   Baby, You’re a Rich Man – 3:07
11.   All You Need is Love – 3:57

Listen to ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nehRB1FTeTo

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