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Magical Mystery Tour
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Magical Mystery Tour

First released: 1967, December 8

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Magical Mystery Tour posed a problem for the Beatles and EMI. Sic songs was too many for a regular EP, but too few for an LP. One idea, to have an EP playing at LP speed, was considered but discarded because the record would have suffered from loss of volume and fidelity. The problem was solved at the beginning of November: Magical Mystery Tour would be packaged as a hitherto untried double-EP set, in a heavy-duty gatefold sleeve with a 28 page booklet, some pages in colour, including all of the song lyrics. The price of this superb package to be 19s 6d [97 1/2p].

That was in the UK. Capitol Records dicided that the North American marketplace was too fickle for a double-EP set, especially since ordinary EPs, commonplace in Britain, had barely taken off there. So Capitol put all the MMT songs onto one side of an album and filled the other with the Beatles' five other 1967 song releeases outside of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band : Hello, Goodbye , Strawberry Fields Forever , Penny Lane , Baby, You're A Rich Man and All You Need Is Love . [The latter three were issued in "duophonic" form (ie "mono stereo") since true stereo mixes had not yet been made for them. All You Need Is Love was first mixed for stereo on 29 October 1968, Penny Lane did not receive its first stereo remix until 30 September 1971 and Baby, You're A Rich Man until 22 October 1971.] The LP idea was a good one - even if it wasn't what the Beatles themselves wanted - and imports soon found their way into Britain. On 19 November 1976 EMI issued it in UK [the Capitol version, with three "duophonic" songs] to satisfy public demand.

But whatever the shape and sixe of the vinyl, Magical Mystery Tour , the record, was everything the associated 50-minute television film was not - runaway success, selling more than a half million copies in the UK and 1 1/2 million in the USA before Christmas 1967 and capping a memorable year for the Beatles.

- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"