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Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour

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Magical Mystery Tour

First of all, I don’t care if this is an EP or an LP or what. All I know is that in order to hear the music, I need to buy it regardless if its an official album or not. Having said that, I find myself hardly ever listening to this record. There’s a couple songs I really love on it, but on the whole, there’s not enough to keep bringing me back. It’s an offering of a bunch of mismatched songs with no rhyme or reason, but I suppose when there’s no intentions, that’s what you’ll get.

Magical Mystery Tour - This has always been a favorite of mine. If its not in the top ten, its close. I like how it starts with Paul acting as the carnival barker trying to get our attention to embark on the journey. It reminds me of Sgt. Peppers in the effect that we buy into the initial message, but then nothing happens. With Peppers, we have the concept that lasts for the first two songs and then disappears. Here we have the first song trying to sell us a great, mystery tour that kind of just flops after the first tune. Hell, the movie suffered the same fate too. Oh well, I’m long winded so off to the song itself. Opening horns are nice. I really love the harmonies, but Johns voice seems to be a bit more out in front. Bass sounds awesome. Love the drums, but they seem to be pushed a little to the back of the mix. 0:48 Ringo gives the hi hats three quick splashes. Love that. 1:14 dig the bass and Ringos buzz role. Pauls voice sounds great. Rhythm guitar sounds good throughout. Wood block adds some space. The ending is awesome with the bass and piano. During the ending theres some chimes being played that I’ve never heard before. 2:40 Paul plays his greatest bass line ever in my opinion. When I first heard it years ago, it literally blew me away. Who would think to play that. Incredible. All in all, a good song that I really like.

The Fool On The Hill - Never one of my favorites and I get tired of it pretty quick, but it’s a decent tune. Piano sounds nice. Pauls voice is good. Is that a flute in the beginning being played? I like it. 0:19 harmonica comes in. Nice touch. 0:27 triangle being played. Acoustic guitar sounds great throughout. 1:23 the kazoo and kids flute doesn’t mesh with me. Its too much. 2:39 I like the sound effect there. Sounds like a banshee screaming or something. Like I said before, just an alright song that’s decent enough.

Flying - A short, little, mellow jam tune that’s credited to all four of them. 0:12 love when the guitar comes in here. Bass sounds good. Ringo keeps a nice beat. 0:31 what kind of instrument is being played here? Sounds like an electric oboe or something. I have no idea. The ’La La La La La’s’ sound stupid and should have been left out. Actually Ringos playing is pretty good on this song now that I think about it. 1:33 the ending is pretty neat. Reminds me of being in space or something to that effect. Not much of a song, but I like it well enough.

Blue Jay Way - I wont say that I hate this song, but I don’t think its very good. I would say its one of George’s worst actually. Its bores me. I like the eerie organ beginning. 0:18 cello comes in and sounds nice. All the reverse tapes being played throughout annoy the p*ss out of me. The only thing worse than the reverse tapes is George’s echo effect on his voice. Bass sounds good. Ringos drumming is top notch. 1:40 tambourine comes in. 2:11 my favorite fill from Ringo on the song. The cello during the ending is cool. I like the frantic nature. 3:20 the ’Don’t Be Long’ that’s sung is different here and switches up the song a little. Nice touch. The abrupt ending sucks.

Your Mother Should Know - This song is pretty good. It’s a typical Paul effort blending in some of the old style music with a happy tempo. The bass and piano beginning sounds good. 0:18 love when the guitar comes in. Drums are double tracked. Pauls voice sounds good. Background vocals kind of bother me for some reason. 0:47 like the organ during the change. 1:07 love when Ringo goes to the ride. 1:43 studio opens up a channel here and its pretty harsh.  I like this song. Not great, but enjoyable.

I Am The Walrus - Easily one of my favorite Beatle songs ever. Definitely a top 5. Like the tambourine or shaker in the beginning. The strings and organ together sound great. Ringos drums sound amazing on this track. Johns voice sounds fantastic here too. Bass sounds great. 1:15 dig how the strings come down. 1:29 Johns falsetto cracks. 2:00 love the break. I always felt the sound effects sounded like an actual walrus, but I’m sure that’s what they were aiming for anyways. 2:11 my favorite part of the song. I love when John comes back into the song here on top of the strings. 2:25 voices in the background are cool. A thought just came to mind. Is John rapping in this song? Could be I guess. 2:42 the laughs are great. 2:53 strings come in and sound awesome. 3:44 here is something intriguing to me. Paul is in the background and he says clap and then starts laughing. I swear it’s the same thing as they use on ’Hey Bulldog’, but I cant say for sure. Never heard that before. 4:12 like the untimely death. Brilliant song.

Hello Goodbye - I get tired of this song easily too. Saying opposites throughout an entire song kind of bothers me I guess. I suppose I’m tired of it too from the times I listened to it to learn the drums. Fun song to play by the way. Anyways, the violin and piano in the beginning is nice. Bass sounds good. 0:21 like the guitar sound. Ringos snare sounds awesome. Pauls voice sounds great too. 0:59 backgrounds coming in are awesome. 1:15 there’s two hand claps here. Why? Kind of dumb. 1:22 when Paul sings ’Do You Say’ I love his voice. Maraca’s throughout are nice. 1:50 double track voice falls apart. 2:12 bass flurry is awesome. Never noticed that before. 2:20 organ in the background. Never noticed that either. I hate the ending and wouldn’t be bothered if I never heard it again. Just an ok song.

Strawberry Fields Forever - Here’s a song that everybody else seems to like way more than I do. I think it might just be too damn long for me. I lose interest in it. 0:09 guitar strum is cool. 0:14 bass comes in and sounds great. Ringo kills on this song. Brilliant playing. Johns voice is awesome here too. 0:59 love the strings and the timpani drums. 1:18 harp or guitar? 1:22 note is played that’s an obvious mistake. 1:26 backward hi hats sound neat. 2:01 counting in the background is cool. 2:27 is that Johns voice being double tracked or does Paul join him? 2:56 guitar tone is awesome. 2:59 piano comes in and sounds great. 3:42 the brass bursts are a nice touch. 3:55 piano is really cool here. Ironically the ’I Buried Paul or Cranberry Sauce’ part is hard to hear on the remaster. Good song I guess, but I never play it or I turn the station if it comes on the radio.

Penny Lane - I like this one a lot. I like the happy feeling. The piano/bass/flute beginning is nice. Pauls voice sounds great. 0:39 love the brass. 0:43 harmonies are fantastic. 1:06 fireman bell is cool. Mal? 1:09 love the trumpet solo. 1:39 Johns voice here is great. Sounds better here than the earlier and later bars for some reason. 1:53 always loved how Paul sand the word ’Play’ here. 2:03 cello is nice. 2:32 what the hell happens here? Sounds like an old creaky door being shut really fast. That’s the best way I can explain it. 2:42 bongos come in and sound great. Like the song a lot. Kind of has a Motown/funk feel with all the brass. Reminds me a little of ’Got To Get You Into My Life’.

Baby You’re A Rich Man - Pretty neutral song for me. I don’t think its very good, but I hardly ever hear it so it doesn’t bother me too much. Bass sounds cool. 0:07 Indian instrument or something starts here and just annoys for the rest of the song. 0:12 guitar sounds good coming in here. 0:32 Johns voice sounds awesome. Tambourine and maracas being played. 1:00 guitar being played with the singing is cool. 1:10 you can hear it better here. Drums are double tracked. Not a great song.

All You Need Is Love - I hate this song. I don’t have a particular reason why, but I do. Just sounds sappy to me. Harmonies are tight. 0:17 like the strings when they come in. 0:24 somebody says ’Check’ in the background. Johns voice sounds great. Bass sounds good. 1:18 ahhh, the botched guitar solo that we all know and love. Shame too, because I liked Georges tone here. Makes me question his ability sometimes. I always thought it was kind of funny if you were in a Beatles cover band and was the guitar player. If you learned this song, you would need to mess up on purpose or,,,you would mess up. Think about that. 2:29 like Paul when he sings ’All together now’. 3:02 woodwinds break out into a 1920 Charleston type of tune. Cool. 3:22 Paul sings ’She Loves You Yeah Yeah Yeah’. Best part of the song. I realize they wrote this in about 3 seconds and played it live, but I think it’s a p*ss poor effort. Sorry.

Decent collaboration of songs thrown together for our listening enjoyment. Has high points and some very low points. I’m not a huge fan of the total package. I did like the book that came with the album when I was younger though. Cool stuff.    

At this point I think it's fair to consider Magical Mystery Tour an official Beatles album. At least it's much more a real album than Yellow Submarine. This record has some essential classics ("Strawberry Fields Forever"; "Penny Lane"; "All You Need Is Love"; "I Am The Walrus"), some mindless but entertaining songs ("Magical Mystery Tour"; "Hello, Goodbye") and several fillers. Probably the most uneven Beatles album.

I'm pretty sure that Strawberry Fields is one of the most over-rated pieces of music ever. Really. Maybe I don't get it, I don't know, but it never impressed me at all. I just gave it a listen a few minutes ago to see if my opinion would change, but with no succes. The first minute of the song is allright, but then the lyrics are becoming repetitive and non-interesting. It is a good track, okay lyrics, good music and drumming, far from being bad but I wouldn't call it the best Beatles song in a million years.It's just my opinion though.

I Am The Walrus, Penny Lane and The Fool On The Hill are the highlights on the album, all 3 are in my top 20 probably.The first one's catchy as hell, and it's really something different and inovative.Paul's "Penny Lane" is one of those songs that you enjoy from the very first listen. How can you not like lyrics like "There beneath the blue suburban skies I sit, and meanwhile back." "Fool On The Hill" has always been a favourite of mine, great lyrics and it is a change in Paul's songwriting.

I never really cared for All You Need Is Love either, the message is great, but the song itself has nothing special really.
I just realised that Baby You're A Rich Man is a song that I never really listened to very much (how can I call myself a Beatles fan  :-X). I gave it a listen right now, and it's okay. Same as the title track and Hello Goodbye.

Your Mother Should Know is decent, though I hated it for a long time. Flying is ok, too.

In my opinion "SFF" and "Penny Lane" would've fit better on Sgt. Pepper's instead of "Getting Better" and "When I'm Sixty Four", but either way, "Magical Mystery Tour" is pretty good, and just as John described it : weird.  :)

i still have the original double EP - bought it when I was about 12 in 1974. Got the 'album' on CD in the Beatles bread box.

Penny Lane is my favorite Beatles song, and I think it has to be classed as their finest song. By that I mean it evokes the memory of them in a similair way to hearing She Loves You.  Does that manke sense?

TK, you forgot to mention Paul's bass playing on PL - has to be up there with the best ever in musical history. And Ringo's drumming sounds fantastic too.

In 1997, when I visited Liverpool, I did the Magical Mystery Tour to all the landmarks. Coincidentally, the date was July 6, exactly 40 years since John and Paul met at Woolerton fete, and we drove past the church!!!

And driving down Penny Lane, they play the song over the bus speakers - an awesome moment which brought tears to my eyes...


--- Quote ---The Fool On The Hill - Never one of my favorites and I get tired of it pretty quick, but it’s a decent tune. Piano sounds nice. Pauls voice is good. Is that a flute in the beginning being played? I like it.

Flying - A short, little, mellow jam tune that’s credited to all four of them. 0:12 love when the guitar comes in here. Bass sounds good. Ringo keeps a nice beat. 0:31 what kind of instrument is being played here?
--- End quote ---

These sounds are from their newly acquired Mellotron..

an instrument that would be very big later in Progressive Rock


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