Magical Mystery Tour

This article is about the Beatles' EP and LP. For the song, see Magical Mystery Tour (song). For the film, see Magical Mystery Tour (film).
Magical Mystery Tour
EP (Double) by The Beatles
Released 27 November 1967 (US LP)
8 December 1967 (UK double EP)
19 November 1976 (UK LP)
Recorded 25 April – 7 November 1967
Studio EMI and Olympic Studios, London
Length 36:35
Label Capitol, Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles
US version
LP – US release cover

Magical Mystery Tour is an album by the English rock band the Beatles that was released as a double EP in the United Kingdom and an LP in the United States. Produced by George Martin, both versions include the six-song soundtrack to the 1967 film of the same name. The EP was issued in the UK on 8 December 1967 on the Parlophone label, while the Capitol Records LP release in the US occurred on 27 November and featured eleven tracks through the addition of songs from the band's 1967 singles. The EP was also released in Germany, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Australia and Japan.[1] The first official release as an eleven-track LP in the UK did not occur until 1976.

Despite widespread media criticism of the Magical Mystery Tour film, the soundtrack was a critical and commercial success and a number one Grammy-nominated album in the US. When EMI issued the Beatles' catalogue on compact disc in 1987, the track listing of the 1967 US LP was adopted rather than the six-song UK release.

History of the project

Magical Mystery Tour film

After the Beatles recorded Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Paul McCartney wanted to create a film based upon the group and their music. The film was to be unscripted: various "ordinary" people were to travel on a 1964 Bedford VAL coach and have unspecified "magical" adventures. The resulting Magical Mystery Tour film was made and included six new Beatles songs. The film originally screened on BBC-TV over the 1967 Christmas holidays but was savaged by critics.[2]

Initial release formats

The number of songs used in the film posed a challenge for the Beatles and their UK record company, EMI, as there were too few for an LP album but too many for an EP.[3] One idea considered was to issue an EP which played at 33 rpm but this would have caused a loss of audio fidelity that was deemed unacceptable. The solution chosen was to issue an innovative format of two EPs packaged in a gatefold sleeve with a 28-page booklet containing the lyrics, colour photos from film production, and colour story illustrations by Beatles Book cartoonist Bob Gibson.[3] Of the package, Bob Neaverson wrote: "While it certainly solved the song quota problem, one suspects that it was also partly born of the Beatles' pioneering desire to experiment with conventional formats and packaging".[4] The package was released in the UK on 8 December, in time for the Christmas market, at the sub-£1 price of 19s 6d[3] (equivalent to £16 today).

Because EPs were not popular in the US at the time, Capitol Records released the soundtrack as an LP by adding tracks from that year's non-album singles.[3] The first side of the LP contained the film soundtrack songs (like earlier British Beatles soundtrack albums), and the second side had the remaining A-side and B-sides released in 1967, with the last three of these five songs – "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" – presented in duophonic, fake "processed" stereo sound on Capitol's stereo version of the LP.[3][5] In its LP, Capitol used the EP set's 28-page booklet, consisting of 24 pages of colour photos and illustrations and four pages for the song lyrics on its centre leaves, and enlarged the photos and illustrations to LP size to be included as a 24-page booklet inside a gatefold album sleeve. The lyrics to the film songs were also printed inside the gatefold itself. Several years later Capitol quit including the 24-page booklet and removed mention of it from the album cover.


Professional ratings
Retrospective reviews
Review scores
The A.V. ClubA[7]
Consequence of SoundA+[8]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[9]
Pitchfork Media10/10[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide[13]
Sputnik Music[14]

Magical Mystery Tour was number 1 on Billboard's Top LPs listings for eight weeks at the start of 1968 and remained in the top 200 until 8 February 1969.[15] It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1968.[16] In Britain, the EP peaked at number 2 on the national singles chart,[17] behind "Hello, Goodbye",[18] and became the Beatles' ninth release to top the national EP chart compiled by Record Retailer.[19] In the UK singles listings compiled by Melody Maker magazine, it replaced "Hello, Goodbye" at number 1 for a week.[20]

Reviewing the EP a month before the film's screening, Nick Logan of the NME enthused that the Beatles were "at it again, stretching pop music to its limits". He continued: "The four musician-magicians take us by the hand and lead us happily tripping through the clouds, past Lucy in the sky with diamonds and the fool on the hill, into the sun-speckled glades along Blue Jay Way and into the world of Alice in Wonderland …. This is The Beatles out there in front and the rest of us in their wake."[21] In Record Mirror, Norman Jopling wrote that, whereas on Sgt. Pepper "the effects were chiefly sound and only the album cover was visual", on Magical Mystery Tour "the visual side … has dominated the music", such that "[e]verything from fantasy, children's comics, acid (psychedelic) humour is included on the record and in the [EP] booklet."[22] Bob Dawbarn of Melody Maker described the EP as "six tracks which no other pop group in the world could begin to approach for originality combined with the popular touch".[23]

The album review in Rolling Stone consisted of a single-sentence quote from John Lennon: "There are only about 100 people in the world who understand our music."[24] Writing in Saturday Review, Mike Jahn hailed Magical Mystery Tour as the Beatles' best album yet, superior to Sgt. Pepper in emotion and depth, and "distinguished by its description of the Beatles' acquired Hindu philosophy and its subsequent application to everyday life".[25]

Robert Christgau of Esquire considered three of the five new songs to be "disappointing", including "The Fool on the Hill", which, he wrote, "may be the worst song the Beatles have ever recorded". Christgau still found the album "worth buying", however, "for all the singles, which are good music, after all; for the tender camp of 'Your Mother Should Know'; and especially for Harrison's hypnotic 'Blue Jay Way,' an adaptation of Oriental modes in which everything works, lyrics included".[26] Hit Parader wrote that "the beautiful Beatles do it again, widening the gap between them and 80 scillion other groups." Remarking on how the Beatles and their producer "present a supreme example of team work", the reviewer compared the album with the Rolling Stones' concurrent release, Their Satanic Majesties Request, and opined that "I Am the Walrus" and "Blue Jay Way" alone "accomplish what the Stones attempted".[27]

The 2012 remastered Magical Mystery Tour DVD entered the Billboard Top Music Video chart at number 1, while the CD album climbed to number 1 on the Billboard Catalog Album Chart, number 2 on the Billboard Soundtrack albums chart, and re-entered at number 57 on the Billboard 200 albums chart for the week ending 27 October 2012.[28]

Release history

In 1969 and 1971, the previously unavailable true-stereo mixes were created,[3] which allowed the first true-stereo version of the Magical Mystery Tour LP to be issued in Germany in 1971.[29] As an American import, the Capitol LP peaked on the British album charts at number 31 in January 1968.[30][31] In the face of continued public demand, EMI officially released the Capitol LP version of Magical Mystery Tour in the UK in November 1976,[3] although, notwithstanding the availability of the true-stereo mixes, it used the Capitol masters with fake stereo.

When standardising the Beatles' releases for the worldwide compact disc release in 1987, EMI used the US LP version of Magical Mystery Tour (in true stereo) in what was otherwise a British album line-up. [32]

The inclusion of the 1967 singles on CD with this album meant both that the Magical Mystery Tour CD would be of comparable length to the band's CDs of its original albums and that those three singles would not need to be included on Past Masters, a two-volume compilation designed to accompany the initial CD album releases and provide all non-album tracks (mostly singles) on CD format.[33]

In 1992 the EP version of Magical Mystery Tour was reissued in both mono and stereo as part of a box set containing CD versions of the Beatles original UK EPs. The album (along with the Beatles' entire UK studio album catalogue) was remastered and reissued on CD in 2009. Acknowledging the album's conception and first release, the CD incorporates the original Capitol LP label design. The remastered stereo CD features a mini-documentary about the album. Initial copies of the album accidentally list the mini-documentary to be one made for Let It Be. The mono album was reissued as part of The Beatles in Mono CD and LP box sets.

Country Date Label Format Catalogue Notes
United States 27 November 1967 Capitol mono LP MAL 2835
stereo LP† SMAL 2835
United Kingdom 8 December 1967 Parlophone mono double EP MMT 1–2 6-track soundtrack only
stereo double EP SMMT 1–2
New Zealand 1970[34] World Record Club/Apple stereo LP* SLZ 8308 / PCSM 6084 With different cover artwork and titled Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits(3 label variations known to exist).EMI(NZ) released this LP on the Apple label cat. no. PCSM 6084 The last 4 songs are in mono.
Germany 1971 Hör Zu/Apple stereo LP SHZE 327 With different cover artwork. The first issue with all tracks in true-stereo
United Kingdom 1973[35] EMI stereo cassette TC-PCS 3077 Titled Magical Mystery Tour & other titles
United Kingdom 19 November 1976 Apple, Parlophone stereo LP† PCTC 255 Also in a limited edition yellow vinyl, sold individually, not part of a boxed set.
Worldwide 21 September 1987 Apple, Parlophone, EMI stereo Compact Disc CDP 7 48062 2
United States 1988[34] Capitol stereo LP C1-48061
United Kingdom 15 June 1992[36] Parlophone stereo/mono CDs‡ CDMAG 1 6-track soundtrack only
Japan 11 March 1998 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 51124
Japan 21 January 2004 Toshiba-EMI LP TOJP 60144 Remastered
Worldwide 9 September 2009 Apple, Capitol mono CD‡ Remastered
stereo CD 0946 3 82465 2 7
Worldwide 9 September 2014 Apple, Capitol mono LP MAL 2835 5099963380613 Remastered
† With "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" in fake-stereo.

* With "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", "Baby, You're a Rich Man" and "All You Need Is Love" in mono.

‡ Available only as part of a boxed set.

Track listing


All tracks written by Lennon–McCartney except where noted. 

Side one: Film soundtrack
No. TitleLead vocals Length
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"  Paul McCartney with John Lennon 2:48
2. "The Fool on the Hill"  Paul McCartney 3:00
3. "Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey)(Instrumental) 2:16
4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison)George Harrison 3:50
5. "Your Mother Should Know"  Paul McCartney 2:33
6. "I Am the Walrus"  John Lennon 4:35
Side two: 1967 singles
No. TitleLead vocals Length
1. "Hello, Goodbye"  Paul McCartney 3:24
2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"  John Lennon 4:05
3. "Penny Lane"  Paul McCartney 3:00
4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"  John Lennon 3:07
5. "All You Need Is Love"  John Lennon 3:57
Total length:

Double EP

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"   2:48
2. "Your Mother Should Know"   2:33
Side two
No. Title Length
3. "I Am the Walrus"   4:35
Side three
No. Title Length
4. "The Fool on the Hill"   3:00
5. "Flying"   2:16
Side four
No. Title Length
6. "Blue Jay Way"   3:50
Total length:


The Beatles

Additional musicians and production




In the U.S., the album sold 1,936,063 copies by December 31, 1967 and 2,373,987 copies by the end of the decade.[43]

Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[44] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[45] 4× Platinum 400,000^
Germany (BVMI)[46] Gold 250,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[47] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[48] 6× Platinum 6,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

dagger BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.[49]


  1. It did not chart in Australia until Oct 1974.
  2. Magical Mystery Tour originally peaked at number 31 in the United Kingdom as an import of the United States issue. Parlophone officially issued the album in the UK on 19 November 1976.
  1. "Beatles, The – Magical Mystery Tour at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved 28 September 2011.
  2. Miles 1997, pp. 368–369.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Lewisohn 1988, p. 131.
  4. Neaverson.
  5. Davis 1980.
  6. Magical Mystery Tour at AllMusic
  7. Klosterman, Chuck (8 September 2009). "Chuck Klosterman Repeats The Beatles". The A.V. Club. Chicago. Archived from the original on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2013.
  8. Caffrey, Dan (23 September 2009). "The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour (Remastered)". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  9. Larkin, Colin (2006). Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th revised ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 487. ISBN 0-19-531373-9.
  10. Graff, Gary; Durchholz, Daniel (eds) (1999). MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide (2nd ed.). Farmington Hills, MI: Visible Ink Press. p. 88. ISBN 1-57859-061-2.
  11. Kemp, Mark (8 September 2009). "The Beatles: The Long and Winding Repertoire". Paste. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  12. Pitchfork Media review
  13. "The Beatles | Album Guide". Archived from the original on 20 September 2011. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  14. The Beatles - Magical Mystery Tour (album review 9) | Sputnikmusic
  15. Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 359. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
  16. Marinucci.
  17. Schaffner, Nicholas (1978). The Beatles Forever. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill. p. 97. ISBN 0-07-055087-5.
  18. "Official Singles Chart Top 50: 10 January 1968 – 16 January 1968". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  19. 1 2 Bagirov, Alex (2008). The Anthology of the Beatles Records. Rostock: Something Books. p. 113. ISBN 978-3-936300-44-4.
  20. Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 338. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
  21. Sutherland, Steve (ed.) (2003). NME Originals: Lennon. London: IPC Ignite!. p. 51.
  22. Jopling, Norman (1 December 1967). "The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour". Record Mirror. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  23. Shaar Murray, Charles (2002). "Magical Mystery Tour: All Aboard the Magic Bus". Mojo Special Limited Edition: 1000 Days That Shook the World (The Psychedelic Beatles – April 1, 1965 to December 26, 1967). London: Emap. p. 128.
  24. Vol 1. No. 4, 20 January 1968, p. 20
  25. Jahn, Mike (December 1967). "The Beatles: Magical Mystery Tour". Saturday Review. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  26. Christgau, Robert (May 1968). "Columns: Dylan-Beatles-Stones-Donovan-Who, Dionne Warwick and Dusty Springfield, John Fred, California". Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  27. Staff writer (April 1968). "Platter Chatter: Albums from The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, Cream and Kaleidoscope". Hit Parader. Available at Rock's Backpages (subscription required).
  28. Billboard magazine, week ending 27 October 2012.
  29. Magical Mystery Tour Reconsidered … In True Stereo » Rock Town Hall
  30. Magical Mystery Tour
  31. – UK Top 40 Chart Archive, British Singles & Album Charts Archived 18 July 2007 at WebCite
  32. Other US LPs were subsequently issued as part of The Capitol Albums volumes 1 and 2 box sets, but not individually.
  33. Album Review: the Beatles – Past Masters [Remastered] « Consequence of Sound
  34. 1 2
  35. Russell 1982.
  36. The Beatles – E.P. Collections
  37. MacDonald 2005, p. 271.
  38. 1 2 "Discography The Beatles". Hung Medien. Retrieved 3 January 2011.
  39. 1 2 Roach, Martin, ed. (2009). The Virgin Book of British Hit Albums. London: Virgin Books. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-7535-1700-0.
  40. "The Beatles – Awards". AllMusic. Rovi Corporation. Retrieved 17 July 2013.
  41. Peak chart positions for releases in Germany:
  42. " The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour" (ASP). Hung Medien, (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  43. "How Many Records did the Beatles actually sell?". Deconstructing Pop Culture by David Kronemyer. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  44. "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2009 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  45. "Canadian album certifications – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour". Music Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  46. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (The Beatles; 'Magical Mystery Tour')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  47. "British album certifications – The Beatles – Magical Mystery Tour". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 15 September 2013. Enter Magical Mystery Tour in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  48. "American album certifications – Beatles, The – Magical Mystery Tour". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 September 2013. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH
  49. "Beatles albums finally go platinum". British Phonographic Industry. BBC News. 2 September 2013. Retrieved 4 September 2013.


External links

Wikiquote has quotations related to: Magical Mystery Tour
Preceded by
Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd.
by The Monkees
Billboard 200 number-one album
6 January – 1 March 1968
Succeeded by
Blooming Hits by Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/28/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.