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Author Topic: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour  (Read 6328 times)

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tkitna

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Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« on: May 27, 2011, 05:50:38 PM »

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.    

Hombre_de_ningun_lugar

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2011, 07:01:45 PM »

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.
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Ovi

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2011, 07:26:09 PM »

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.  :)


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stevie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2011, 09:31:53 PM »

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...
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #4 on: May 27, 2011, 11:02:25 PM »

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?

These sounds are from their newly acquired Mellotron..

an instrument that would be very big later in Progressive Rock
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blmeanie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #5 on: May 27, 2011, 11:16:34 PM »

I enjoy your microscopic reviews thoroughly.  Sometimes I think you realize things you may not have been aware of or known until you put it in your reviews, for example your review of :

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.

If ok songs that you are tired of have that many good/great parts to them I'm lovin' it.  As I get tired of some songs I take breaks from them.  Even after short breaks, hearing them again can bring refreshed joy and awareness of the great parts again.
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2011, 12:38:09 AM »

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

Your right Stevie and i'm not sure why I didnt mention something about it. Actually, I think Paul excells throughout the entire album.

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

I can only imagine. Someday i'd love to make the trip.

tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #7 on: May 28, 2011, 12:39:49 AM »

These sounds are from their newly acquired Mellotron..

an instrument that would be very big later in Progressive Rock

Yes, i'd forgotten they had one at the time.

tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #8 on: May 28, 2011, 12:42:57 AM »

I enjoy your microscopic reviews thoroughly. 

Thanks for the kind words.

Quote
If ok songs that you are tired of have that many good/great parts to them I'm lovin' it.

Absolutly. I realize sometimes that I say I dont care for a song and then I rave about the playing and the construction of the song itself and thats ok. Just because I dont care for it doesnt mean its still not a good song. Thanks again and I appreciate the participation.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #9 on: May 28, 2011, 11:31:45 AM »

I actually think this isnt an album, but it was released as one and one of the main problems with it is that John had lost interest in The Beatles (maybe due to Brians recent death) and Paul was the leader, the only one with drive to do stuff, I feel it wasnt an album because John only wrote walrus for the project whereas on previous albums he might have wrote 6 songs.
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2011, 11:01:52 PM »

Quote
I Am The Walrus - Easily one of my favorite Beatle songs ever. Definitely a top 5. Brilliant song.

I agree 100%, I think when this song came out, many many people were gobsmacked by it, I think this erm song turned the music world upside down and inside out, lyrically its ourageous of course Lewis Carol on acid  ;D
I heard John read about people looking for hidden meaning in his songs so he wrote Walrus and said 'lets see them sort that one out'
The melody is typical Lennon, I believe it is based on the siren used by police cars in the UK at the time ie 2 notes.....sort of, I am he as you are he etc is THE 2 notes they used.
I dont think anyone else couldve written it and I think if Paul was a bit peaved that his musical prowess was of a higher plane than the others then this track blows any though of superiority that Paul may have had, it was quite simply a work of genius at the time. Its a monster on the album just as A Day In The Life is on Pepper.

'I Am The Walrus' still remains unsurpassed as one of the most complex, diverse and completely unpredictable songs of all time
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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2011, 12:20:58 AM »

The melody is typical Lennon, I believe it is based on the siren used by police cars in the UK at the time ie 2 notes.....sort of, I am he as you are he etc is THE 2 notes they used.

Great. Everytime I hear the song now, i'm going to think of this. Seriously, I never heard that before, but it makes perfect sense. Pretty cool.

Quote
I dont think anyone else couldve written it and I think if Paul was a bit peaved that his musical prowess was of a higher plane than the others then this track blows any though of superiority that Paul may have had, it was quite simply a work of genius at the time.

I really cant agree with you here. Are you saying that this song was better than anything Paul could have written? When you say 'musical prowess', thats a broad subject. If your trying to say that John was a better psychedelic song writer then I would tend to agree, but I dont think John could write a classical music album either. Apples and oranges.

Quote
Its a monster on the album just as A Day In The Life is on Pepper.

I think you'll find that the majority of listeners would probably consider Strawberry Fields the monster with Penny Lane a close second. I like your take though and agree.

Quote
I Am The Walrus' still remains unsurpassed as one of the most complex, diverse and completely unpredictable songs of all time

Eh, maybe. I'd probably describe it more so as one of the most popular psychedelic songs ever instead of the most complex, diverse, and unpredictable songs ever.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2011, 06:55:56 AM »

Quote
I really cant agree with you here.

HaHaHaHa

Are you saying that this song was better than anything Paul could have written? When you say 'musical prowess', thats a broad subject. If your trying to say that John was a better psychedelic song writer then I would tend to agree, but I dont think John could write a classical music album either. Apples and oranges.

maybe I didnt explain myself well.

As we all know Paul was, shall we say, more gifted as a musician than the other 3, he mustve gotten frustrated that he was musically superior to the others as he slowly took over the band.............however, John showed (yet agian) that although he probably couldnt write an opera (where Paul could) he genius was to show the way for pop/rock music, with a handful of songs John changed the face of popular music, while Paul was crafting ditties like Your Mother Should Know and When Im 64 that grannies could singalong too, John was changing the face of popular music and no song did this more than Walrus.
When you think about it they were perfect foils for each other.

Quote
I think you'll find that the majority of listeners would probably consider Strawberry Fields the monster with Penny Lane a close second. I like your take though and agree

I never think of SFF as part or written for, an album, it was a single (double A side) that was pre even Pepper, whereas Walrus was written for MMT.

Quote
Eh, maybe. I'd probably describe it more so as one of the most popular psychedelic songs ever instead of the most complex, diverse, and unpredictable songs ever.

Then we'll have to disagree, there was nothing like it before it, as a recording it is very complex and lyrically I cant think of anything before it that had such a diverse subject or diverse lyrics and at the time it was completely unpredictable both musically and lyrically.....all IMO of course

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tkitna

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2011, 07:13:33 AM »

maybe I didnt explain myself well.

As we all know Paul was, shall we say, more gifted as a musician than the other 3, he mustve gotten frustrated that he was musically superior to the others as he slowly took over the band.............however, John showed (yet agian) that although he probably couldnt write an opera (where Paul could) he genius was to show the way for pop/rock music, with a handful of songs John changed the face of popular music, while Paul was crafting ditties like Your Mother Should Know and When Im 64 that grannies could singalong too, John was changing the face of popular music and no song did this more than Walrus.
When you think about it they were perfect foils for each other.

I get what your saying now and agree somewhat with it but not totally. At this stage it did seem that John was punching out the bigger, quality tunes while Paul was pushing out more quantity. Its still a fine line, because Paul was still writing some legendary pop tunes. Maybe not as daring as John, but just as memorable. Was he frustrated? Probably, but he would never admit it.

Quote
I never think of SFF as part or written for, an album, it was a single (double A side) that was pre even Pepper, whereas Walrus was written for MMT.

Great point and your 100% correct. I didnt think about it that way, but your right.

Quote
Then we'll have to disagree, there was nothing like it before it, as a recording it is very complex and lyrically I cant think of anything before it that had such a diverse subject or diverse lyrics and at the time it was completely unpredictable both musically and lyrically.....all IMO of course

I'll agree with you about the song as for when it came out. Easily agree, but I had problems when you mentioned that it STILL held those credentials. I can think of a ton of prog tunes that would be better described as the way you said and I know you can too. Thats what I was meaning.

nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2011, 08:17:00 AM »

Quote
I'll agree with you about the song as for when it came out. Easily agree, but I had problems when you mentioned that it STILL held those credentials. I can think of a ton of prog tunes that would be better described as the way you said and I know you can too. Thats what I was meaning.
 

as you know Im a fan of prog but prog isnt accessable to most people, only geeks like me like it  ha2ha
Its all very well to have 22 minute tracks like Close To The Edge or 2 hour attempts to put the bible to music with seemingly deep & meaningful lyrics like Topographic Oceans, time signatures like 8/6 melding to 5/4 whilst soloing Bachlike counterpoint melodies and contrapuntal harmonies but Walrus was the forebearer of groups doing all that, and yet Walrus was brilliantly accessable, you could sing along to it or whistle it whilst walking down the street...........sure people took things further and more intricate, but was it better music ? I dont think so personally.
John Lennon (the forward thinking genius) was the only one who could come up with a new direction in music at that time and still make it acceptable to the common man.
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glass onion

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2011, 09:12:58 AM »

MMT is indeed the strangest album (and it is an album) the band released,as has been said,big highs and some lows.the title track is great,sets you up for a great album,paul in top form,john seems to be enjoying himself,too.'fool on the hill' i read somewhere could have been about maharishi?whether that's true i don't know,but the song is pretty nice,'flying' is a guilty pleasure of mine,just different.'blue jay way' is plain poor.'your mother should know' is alright,but like ian mcdonald says,no middle 8-and it does stick out a mile.'walrus' is so out there,and yes,the intro was indeed based on the 'nee-nar-nee-nar' police car sirens that we have here in britain.it doesn't groove me as much as it should,but there is no getting away from 'walrus' being a watershed kind of song.
side 2 is far better than side 1-'hello goodbye' is a fantastic uplifting song.macca opened with this on his 2004 tour.amazing.i cried my eyes out!!(yes,i know,i know).'strawberry fields'-ah,come on,awesome.ringo absolutely swings in this song.'penny lane' is great,lovely trumpet solo and smart lyrics (liverpool is like that in places),'baby you're a rich man' is another great song,ringo is so good again,paul also on form here.'all you need is love' is the anthem of 1967,all the stars together singing it,enough said.the song leaves a bit to be desired (maybe)but nothing more to say.altogether now........................the album is better than the film,put it that way.the signs were there-it was starting to go a little awry from here....................................
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2011, 12:38:42 PM »

if it is an album, its a compilation album, for me it will always be an EP  ha2ha
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glass onion

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #17 on: May 30, 2011, 03:39:54 PM »

if it is an album, its a compilation album, for me it will always be an EP  ha2ha
fair enough nimrod,point taken.i really only actually meant for the purpose of tkitnas' thread.i know it wasn't a 'proper' album as such.
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stevie

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #18 on: May 30, 2011, 10:06:14 PM »

In Anthology, Macca validates MMT ( the film and as a project overall) by saying its the only time we see 'Walrus' performed, so thats all matters to him!!
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nimrod

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Re: Beatles under a microscope - Magical Mystery Tour
« Reply #19 on: May 31, 2011, 01:12:57 AM »

fair enough nimrod,point taken.i really only actually meant for the purpose of tkitnas' thread.i know it wasn't a 'proper' album as such.

Haha,I guess its personal GO, I remember actually buying the EP when it came out so to me it will always be an EP, they just added a few singles to it to make it an album, so it was cteated by the marketing guys at Capitol, NOT by the Beatles.........but theyd done this in the US a few times, so to Americans it was no big deal.
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