We are at #7 in the Beatles album countdown- to recap so far #13- Yellow Submarine #12- The Beatles For Sale #11- Let It Be #10-With The Beatles #9 Please Please Me #8 Help! and now #7- Magical Mystery Tour.
The television movie that The Beatles made- Magical Mystery Tour was according to some critics their first misstep. The album was much better received. There was nothing wrong with the music. It wasn’t the typical Beatles album though where they went into the Abbey Road studios and crafted an album. The album has eleven songs- six were new for the television movie- the other five songs had been A or b sides of singles added on to make it an album.
The songs that were new for the movie- the title song- Magical Mystery Tour, I Am The Walrus, The Fool On The Hill, Blue Jay Way, Flying and Your Mother Should Know. In the United Kingdom those six songs were issued as a double EP. I Am The Walrus is the most famous song of that bunch- it was the b-side of the “Hello, Goodbye” single. Would the Electric Light Orchestra have had a career if John Lennon hadn’t written this song? The Fool On The Hill out of the ‘new’ six would rank second- written by Paul. Flying is the only Beatles instrumental released on their 13 studio albums- and all four Beatles were given writing credits for it. Blue Jay Way is George’s writing/ singing contribution- Blue Jay Way is a street address of a house where George stayed while in Los Angeles the previous year. It has a hazy, disoriented feel about it that I really like. Your Mother Should Know is the type of pop song Paul could write in his sleep. Not a major work but pleasant enough. The title track written also by Paul- whose idea it was to do the movie.
The previously released singles on the album- include the greatest single ever released by any one in the history of history- “Penny Lane”/ “Strawberry Fields Forever” where Paul and John’s nostalgic looks back at their childhood. If all The Beatles had released were these two songs they would have been legendary. These two songs would be in my Beatles Top 10 easily. Hello Goodbye was a number one single- written by Paul- not a major work in my opinion but a great pop song, they type of song Paul was great at writing that might not be full of earth shattering meaning but was good to the ears. All You Need Is Love was from The Summer of Love- released in July 1967- and tacked on to this album. A great single- it is also on the Yellow Submarine soundtrack. Baby You’re A Rich Man was the b-side of All You Need Is Love- another Lennon tune aimed at the late 60’s hippie generation “the beautiful people” some also took it as being aimed toward Beatles manager Brian Epstein.
Although this isn’t a ‘pure’ album from The Beatles- it is a Beatles album. Up to this point they hadn’t been in the habit of attaching singles that had been previously released to their albums- here they did- which is fine. The movie was a brilliant mistake. Interesting- but it will never be compared to Citizen Kane– but there isn’t anything wrong with the music on the soundtrack– the #7 greatest album released by the greatest band what ever lived-The Beatles!