Magical Mystery Tour

Highly Appreciated

Magical Mystery Tour  is a record by the English rock group the Beatles that was released as a double EP in the United Kingdom.  EPs were not popular in the US at the time, so Capitol Records decided to release the soundtrack as an LP by adding tracks from that year’s non-album singles, including “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “All You Need Is Love”.  Produced by George Martin, both versions include the six-song soundtrack to the 1967 film of the same name.  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.  (More from Wikipedia)
Four of the five songs on Side 1 of the Queen Anne’s Lace album are covers, and familiar ones at that:  “The Fool on the Hill” opens the album and is a fine if spare rendition of the Beatles song that was almost lost among the torrent of creativity that was the Magical Mystery Tour album of 1967 – besides the songs from the ill-fated Beatles TV movie of the same name, Magical Mystery Toursome of the band’s best singles were also included:  “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Hello Goodbye”, “All You Need is Love”, and others.  It probably would have had a shot at being a successful single, except that “The Fool on the Hill” had already been a Top 5 hit in 1968 for Sergio Mendes and Brasil ’66 (a self-defeating band name that had already been renamed once from Brasil ’65).  The sole original song on the first side, “No Worry Tour” appears almost to have been named after the title of the Beatles album.  
(August 2010)
*       *       *
One of the early fruits of this new stance is a Beatles single from that period, “Penny Lane” b/w “Strawberry Fields Forever”.  Penny Lane is a real street in Liverpool, near one of John Lennon’s boyhood homes; the actual place that Paul McCartney was writing about was a bus stop where he would have to change buses when going to John’s house (and vice versa).  Strawberry Field is a Salvation Army children’s home in Liverpool; in his song, John was writing about the garden there where he used to play as a child.  Originally planned for the Sgt. Pepper album, EMI Records pressured the band into releasing them only as a single; the songs were later included on the U.S. version of the Magical Mystery Tour album. 
*       *       *
The Beatles also includes “Don’t Pass Me By”; other than “Octopus’s Garden” (from Abbey Road), this is the only song written solely by Ringo Starr (listed under his real name, Richard Starkey as is normal in songwriting credits) that appears on an official Beatles album.  Starr also shares a songwriting credit with John Lennon and Paul McCartney on “What Goes On” (from Rubber Soul), and the instrumental “Flying” (on Magical Mystery Tour) shows all four bandmembers as the writers.  

(June 2015)


Last edited: March 22, 2021