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Magical Mystery Tour (album)

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The bigger they are, the harder they fall. And what a fall it was ... The whole boring saga confirmed a long held suspicion of mine that The Beatles are four rather pleasant young men who have made so much money that they can apparently afford to be contemptuous of the public.

—James Thomas, Daily Express, 1967

We could easily have assembled a team of experts and asked them to come up with a first-class show for Christmas which would star The Beatles. But that would have been easy. We wanted to try and do it ourselves and we were expecting criticism but nothing as bad as we got. The mistake was that too many people were looking for a plot when there wasn't one. It was just a series of unconnected events, which we thought would be interesting or humorous or just pleasant to watch.

—Paul McCartney, 1968

The thing is, there were a couple of main things that were really hashed up about the film. One was we made it in colour and it was put out, first of all, on BBC1, in black and white. There were whole big sequences that you just coudn't understand. I saw it on the telly and it just looked mad in black and white. [...] Everyone was expecting a sort of Christmas extravaganza and instead they got this mad film.

—Paul McCartney, 1968

I loved it, because it was a trip, you know. Everyone was down on it, but it was all right. But there was too much 'nothing happening.' There was 'nothing happening at all.' There were nice moments, the dream sequence, the 'Your Mothern Should Know' sequence, you know, coming down with those silly suits on. But they [the critics] were gunning for us before that. What the BBC, stupid idiots, did was show it in black and white. Can you imagine? It doesn't look well in black and white. In colour you can just about manage it.

—John Lennon, 1968

The anarchy that crept into the recording of 'Lovely Rita' was the beginning of the undisciplined, sometimes self-indulgent way of working that became a bit boring during Magical Mystery Tour. Boring, that is, for those of us who were not Beatles! Letting your hair down now and again and having a good muck about is a nice idea; but 'freedom' does not automatically confer brilliance.

—George Martin, 1994

This free form associative tinkering happened a lot after Sgt. Pepper, on Magical Mystery Tour. It was a side to The Beatles that I found rather tedious. I used to say to them, 'If you want to be random, let's be organised about it,' which was definitely not what they wanted to hear when they were in that mood. [...] When John brought along 'I Am The Walrus' later in 1967, I said, 'I see what you're trying to get out: it's very bizarre, but it's great. Let's organise it.' John went along with that.

—George Martin, 1994

It was at around this time that the warning signs began to appear. The Beatles turned up at the studio unusually late one night — near midnight — and spent some seven hours in a stoned haze, jamming endlessly ... and pointlessly. Lennon had brought a big strobe light in, so at one point they turned out the lights and started running around as if they were in an old film. That lasted about five minutes, after which everyone started complaining of a headache. All four of them were completely out of it — tripping on acid, probably — and it was the first Beatles session I've ever attended where absolutely nothing was accomplished. Perhaps the first seeds of what was to become the instrumental track 'Flying' were planted that night, but for the most part it was just them being silly, much to the annoyance of George Martin, who was constantly bumming cigarettes off me, a sure sign of his frustration. He tried to point out to John, Paul, and George that their guitars weren't even in tune, but, giggling like children, they brushed him off, saying 'That's okay, we're just doing a demo.'

—Geoff Emerick, EMI Recording Engineer, Here, There and Everywhere, 2006

Magical Mystery Tour
Studio album by The Beatles
Released27 November 1967 (US)
Recorded24 November 1966 – 7 November 1967, Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios, London
GenreRock, Psychedelic Rock, Pop
Length36:49
LabelCapitol
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
(1967)
Magical Mystery Tour
(1967)
The Beatles
(1968)
Singles from Magical Mystery Tour
  1. "Penny Lane"/"Strawberry Fields Forever"
    Released: 13 February 1967 (US)
  2. "All You Need Is Love"/"Baby, You're a Rich Man"
    Released: 17 July 1967 (US)
  3. "Hello, Goodbye"/"I Am the Walrus"
    Released: 24 November 1967 (US)
Alternate cover
1971 German MMT LP with every track in true stereo
Magical Mystery Tour
EP (Double EP) by The Beatles
Released8 December 1967 (UK)
Recorded25 April – 7 November 1967, Abbey Road Studios and Olympic Studios, London
Length19:08
LabelParlophone
ProducerGeorge Martin
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