Magical Mystery Tour Song

The “Magical Mystery Tour” song comes from the album of the same name, of course. Furthermore, it is also the title of the documentary film from 1967. Just to point out that the UK record release was a double EP originally. However, the album later became standard.

In Detail

Album

Release Date: 27th November, 1967 (US) (LP), 8th December, 1967 (UK) (EP), 19th November, 1976 (UK) (LP)
Recorded: 25th, 26th, 27th April and 3rd May, 1967
Genre: Psychedelic pop
Track Duration: 2:51
Record Label: Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Songwriter: Lennon-McCartney
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Performers

Magical Mystery Tour Song by The Beatles from the album of the same name
Magical Mystery Tour Album (1967)
Paul McCartney: lead vocals, piano, bass, ringmaster’s voice
John Lennon: lead vocals, backing vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar, percussion
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar, percussion
Ringo Starr: drums, percussion

Other Performers

Mal Evans, Neil Aspinall: percussion
David Mason, Roy Copestake, John Wilbraham, Elgar Howarth: trumpet

Track Source

Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour Song

The title tracks from The Beatles’ previous two films became singles, A Hard Day’s Night and Help! However, Magical Mystery Tour stayed firmly on the album and double EP.

Written mostly By Paul McCartney, the credits obviously go to the songwriting partnership of Lennon-McCartney:

“Magical Mystery Tour was co-written by John and I, very much in our fairground period. One of our great inspirations was always the barker. ‘Roll up! Roll up!’ The promise of something: the newspaper ad that says ‘guaranteed not to crack’, the ‘high class’ butcher, ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ from Sgt Pepper. ‘Come inside,’ ‘Step inside Love‘; you’ll find that pervades a lot of my songs. If you look at all the Lennon-McCartney things, it’s a thing we do a lot”.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Inspiration

The concept is easy enough to understand, of course. In the 1960’s when coach trips were all the rage in the UK, some firms would offer a mystery tour. These tours would take you to a destination of their choice, hence it was a mystery.

Meanwhile, in America during 1964, Ken Kesey lived communally with the Merry Pranksters. They set about a bus journey travelling across America in a psychedelic painted school bus while organising LSD-fuelled events. Therefore, The Beatles’ film was to combine these and expand their own mystery tour. They would make it magical while filming at their stopping off points along the way.

“John and I remembered mystery tours, and we always thought this was a fascinating idea: getting on a bus and not knowing where you were going. Rather romantic and slightly surreal! All these old dears with the blue rinses going off to mysterious places. Generally there’s a crate of ale in the boot of the coach and you sing lots of songs. It’s a charabanc trip. So we took that idea and used it as a basis for a song and the film”.

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

Drug References

This was the psychedelic era, of course. With this in mind, drugs played a big part:

“‘Roll up! Roll up!’, which was also a reference to rolling up a joint. We were always sticking those little things in that we knew our friends would get; veiled references to drugs and to trips. ‘Magical Mystery Tour is waiting to take you away,’ so that’s a kind of drug, ‘it’s dying to take you away’ so that’s a Tibetan Book of the Dead reference. We put all these words in and if you were just an ordinary person, it’s a nice bus that’s waiting to take you away, but if you’re tripping, it’s dying….”

Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The resulting film was not all that good as a spectacle, however, the songs from the film and soundtrack album were amazing.

Recording Studio

The Beatles recorded the “Magical Mystery Tour” song on the 25th April, 1967, in Studio Three at the EMI Studios, London during the 7.00pm-3.45am session. They recorded three takes with the last one being suitable for the rhythm track.

On the following two days, overdubbing occurred using further recordings of vocals and other instruments. Further tweaks to the song occurred on the 3rd of May and finally on the 7th of November in order to complete the track.

Author: Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Admin on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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