Saturday, April 12, 2014

Magical Mystery Tour

Recording: 25 April, 1967- 7 November,1967
Released: 27 April, 1967 (US) 8 December, 1967 (UK)
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick
Label: Parlophone
Studios: EMI Studios, Olympic Studios
John Lennon: Vocals, guitar, acoustic piano, electric piano, mellotron, organ, clavioline, harmonica
Paul McCartney: Vocals, piano, bass, mellotron, recorder
George Harrison: Vocals, guitar, organ, harmonica
Ringo Starr: drums, percussion.

In between the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album release and the making and release of their ninth studio album, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles had been through a lot from their Our World performance to Transcendental Meditation to Apple and to the unexpected passing of their beloved manager, Brian Epstein.

Our World:
On 18 May, 1967 The Beatles signed a contact with the BBC to preform on the worlds first ever live television satellite that would be watched by five continents and an estimate of 400 million people.
"We were big enough to command an audience of that size, and it was for love. It was for love and bloody peace. It was a fabulous time. I even get excited now when I realise that's what it was for: peace and love, people putting flowers in guns."- Ringo Starr

With that power John Lennon had created one of the greatest and iconic songs of the century, "All You Need Is Love" and the show was aired on 25 June, 1967 spreading that message. The following video is The Beatles preforming "All You Need Is Love" on Our World.



Beginning of Transcendental Meditation:

Two years prior to the Magical Mystery Tour era John and George had had their Dental Experience  and Ringo had also experienced with the wonder drug known as LSD. McCartney on the other hand waited out on the drug but by 1967 had dropped acid and publicly announced it in an interview when he was asked the question if they've (The Beatles) had even taken it, speaking the truth he told it. It was already no secret that the group had been using marijuana since Bob Dylan introduced it to them in 1964.

It was 24 August, 1967 that The Beatles went to a seminar hosted by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the London Hilton on Park Lane where the group would find a new way to clear their mind and to a higher state other than drugs by learning the techniques and benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

After seeing the Maharishi in London the following day they decided to attended a ten day seminar in Bangor, Wales; Mick Jagger and girlfriend, Marianne Faithfull also attended.
 "You just sit there and let your mind go; it doesn't matter what you're thinking about, just let it go. And then you introduce the mantra, the vibration, to take over from the thought. You don't will it or use your will power."- John Lennon, 1967
Unfortunately The Beatles stay was cut short on 27 August


Brian Epstein's Death

Brian Epstein had been the bands manager since 1962. He had grown up with The Beatles and became one of them.

"We loved Brian. He was a generous man. We owe so much to him. We have come a long way with Brian along the same road."- Ringo Starr, 1967
 While The Beatles had taken their trip to Wales Brian had took a trip to the Sussex country with Peter Brown and Geoffrey Ellis.The weekend didn't turn out as planned for Brian, he was hoping for a man he had met to show up and the two of them to become better acquainted but he never showed. On Friday 25 August Brian returned from his country retreat, his butler Antonio and Antonio's wife, Maria recalls  Brian going straight to bed, very quiet.

The following day Antonio and Maria both heard nothing from Brian and decided just to let him rest and come back on Sunday afternoon, maybe he'd be better then. When they knocked on the door that Sunday with no response, no one wanted to go into the room alone in case something had happened so they called Peter Brown and Ellis hoping that they'd know something, when they didn't John Galaway, Brian's doctor, was called in. John and Antonio knocked down his bed room door to find Brian laying in bed motionless, as recalled by Joanne Newfield.

"I can't find words to pay tribute to him. It is just that he was loveable, and it is those lovable things we think about now."- John Lennon, 1967
The cause of his death was determined to be from pills and alcohol, It's not certain if it was a suicide attempt, because of how his country vacation turned out or if it's because without The Beatles touring there wasn't much for him to do with The Beatles. The Beatles all think that the idea of suicide is very hard to come to terms with and think that he just accidentally took too many pills. Paul McCartney explains his theory that Brian must of took a sleeping pill or something, fell asleep, woke up again and must of thought that he hadn't took a pill, so he took another and that was the cause of his death. John began to blame himself, saying he was the one who got him onto pills, uppers and downers and thought that that was the cause of his death.
"Maharishi told us not to hold onto Brian- to love him and let him go, because we are all powerful forces and we could stop him going on in the natural progression up to heaven. He said, 'You know you have to grieve for him and love him, and now you send him on his way.' And it really helped."- Ringo Starr





"He dedicated so much of his life to The Beatles. We liked and loved him. He was one of us. There is no such thing as death. It is a comfort to us all to know that he is OK."- George Harrison, 1967



"Brian would be really happy to hear how much we loved him"- Paul McCartney



"Brian has died in body, and his spirit will always be working with us. His power and force were everything and his force will linger on. When we were on the right track he knew it, and when we were on the wrong track her told us so- and he was usually right. But anyways he isn't really dead."- John Lennon, 1967


The album would become a soundtrack for The Beatles new project, Magical Mystery Tour film. One of their first projects, along with Apple, after Brian's passing.

 Tracklisting:
  1.  Magical Mystery Tour
  2. The Fool On The Hill
  3. Flying
  4. Blue Jay Way
  5. Your Mother Should Know
  6. I Am The Walrus
  7. Hello Goodbye
  8. Strawberry Fields Forever
  9. Penny Lane
  10. Baby You're a Rich Man
  11. All You Need Is Love
Magical Mystery Tour

The idea came from Mystery Tours, a popular tour in England where only the bust driver would know the destination.

The Fool On The Hill

The song came about while Paul was walking with Alistair Taylor and Paul's beloved dog, Martha on Promise Hill. The three came across a man who Alistair describes as 'very respectably dressed' and 'middle aged'.  The three chatted briefly about the weather and what not before Taylor and McCartney turned around for a quick second to look for Martha. When they turned around the man was gone, almost vanished.
"Paul and I both felt the same weird sensation that something special had happened. We sat down rather shakily on the seat and Paul said, 'what the hell do you make of that? That's weird. He was here. wasn't he? We did speak to him?" -Alistair Taylor, A Hard Days Write by Steve Turner

 Flying

A little over two minutes instrumental written by John, Paul,  George, and Ringo. The only Beatles song credited to all four Beatles.

Blue Jay Way

"Blue Jay Way was written at a time when I'd rented a house in Los Angeles on Blue Jay Way, and I'd arrive there from England. I was waiting around for Derek and Joan Taylor who were then living in L.A. I was very tired after the flight and the time change and I started writing, playing a little electric organ that was in the house for sometime. It had gotten foggy and they couldn't find the house for sometime. The mood is also slightly Indian. Derek Taylor is slightly Welsh."- George Harrison, I Me Mine

The song literally being about the Taylor's and about George wanting to go to bed;

There's a fog upon L.A.
And my friends have lost their way
We'll be over soon they said
Now they've lost themselves instead
Please don't be long please don't you be very long
Please don't be long for I may be asleep
 Your Mother Should Know
"I was basically trying to say your mother might know more than you think she does. Give her credit."- Paul McCartney
The song was written at McCartney's home on Cavendish Avenue on the harmonium.

I Am The Walrus
It was the first song the group recorded after the passing of Brian. 
"The look of emptiness on their faces when they were playing."- Geoff Emerick,  Music Engineer
 "The first line was written on one acid trip one weekend. The second line was written on the next acid trip the next weekend, and it was filled in after I met Yoko. Part of it was putting down Hare Krishna. All these people were going on about Hare Krishna, Allen Ginsberg in particular. The reference to 'Element'ry penguin' is the elementary, naive attitude of going around chanting, 'Hare Krishna,' or putting all your faith in any one idol. I was writing obscurely, a la Dylan, in those days."- John Lennon, Playboy
interview 1980
The idea for the song coming from Alice Through The Looking- Glass, a book John loved growing up. In the book there's a story about The Walrus and The Carpenter. In the same Playboy interview Lennon said;
"It never dawned on me that Lewis Carroll was commenting on the capitalist and social system. I never went into that bit about what he really meant, like people are doing with the Beatles' work. Later, I went back and looked at it and realized that the walrus was the bad guy in the story and the carpenter was the good guy. I thought, Oh, s--t, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it?"
Hello Goodbye

One of the bands most recognizable songs. The song came about when Alistair Taylor asked Paul how he wrote his songs and how he got the ideas. Paul then started on the harmonium and told Alistair to shout out the exact opposite of what he was saying, Paul would say black, Alistair would say white; yes and no; hello and goodbye; stop and go and so fourth.
"The answer to everything is simple. It's a good song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life."- Paul McCartney
 The Beatles created a video for the song dressed in their famous Sgt. Pepper's suits.
"I directed the promo film we made for 'Hello, Goodbye". Directing a film is something everyone always wants to get into. It was something I'd always been interested in, until I actually tried it. Then I realised it was too much like hard work. Someone summed it up when they said: 'There's always someone arriving saying: "Do you want the gold pistols or the silver pistols?"' then you think: 'Um, um....' There was so much of that going on - so many decisions to be made - that I ended up hating it.
I didn't really direct the film - all we needed was a couple of cameras, some good cameramen, a bit of sound and some dancing girls.I thought 'We'll hire a theatre and show up there one afternoon.' and that's what we did: we took our Sgt Pepper suits along and filmed at the Saville Theatre."- Paul McCartney
The following is the video;


Strawberry Fields Forever

Written about a Salvation Army home near where John had grown up with his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George on 251 Menlove Ave, Mendips. Mimi didn't like the idea of John playing or going near Strawberry Fields because it was essentially an orphanage and didn't want John to think back about his childhood, of his father leaving and his mother not living with him. The line "Nothing to get hung about" came from John arguing with his aunt saying, "what are they going to do hang me?"

The song was written on a beach in Spain while John was working on a film directed by Richard Lester, How I Won The War. The song was actually ready to be put on The Beatles previous album, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, but didn't make it. A video was also made for this song where on break John had gotten his 'Being For The Benefit of Mr. Kite' poster. the following is the video;


The song later lead to suspects of The Paul is dead rumor, where at the end it sounds like John's saying "I buried Paul" but he's really saying, "Cranberry Sauce"

".... And Strawberry Field, just around the corner from that, an old Victorian house converted for Salvation Army orphans. (Apparently, it used to be a farm that made strawberries.) As a kid I used to go to their garden parties with my friends Ivan, Nigel, and Pete. We'd all go up there and hang out and sell lemonade bottles. We always had fun at Strawberry Field."-John Lennon, 1980

 Penny Lane

The song was written about Penny Lane, a street in Liverpool which was almost directly in between Paul and John's houses growing up. Paul would ride the number 89 bus around town, the song reflects exactly that and the places he saw. The shelter in the middle of the roundabout, the bankers getting ready for a trim refers to the barber shop all four Beatles got their hair cut and the bank right across the street. The fireman rushes in, the fire station is just around the corner,
The song was also ready to be released on Sgt. Pepper's;
"The only reasons that "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" didn't go onto the new album was a feeling that if we issued a single, it shouldn't  go onto the album. That was a crazy idea, and I'm afraid I was partly responsible. It's nonsense  these days, but in those days it was an aspect that we'd try to give the public value for it's money."- George Martin
 The two songs reached number two in the charts, being stopped from getting to number one from Engelbert Humperdinck's "Release Me" . The only reason Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields, which were released as a Double A-side didn't make it to number one was due to charts counting the double a-side as two individual releases, the songs did outsell Engelbert.

"When [singles] first come out, we follow how much the initial sales were. Not for the money reason, just to see how it's doing compared to the last one; just because we made it. We need that satisfaction, not the glory of Number One."- John Lennon, 1968
Baby You're A Rich Man

The song was originally called "One of The Beautiful People". Mick Jagger sang back up and Brian Jones played oboe on the track, in return Lennon and McCartney sang on The Rolling Stones "We Love You"

All You Need Is Love

As said before in their Our World performance, that this is one of the most iconic songs of that era and of the century. The song was written by John as a song that can be easily understood by the world and easy campaign and fit perfectly into the 1960s Summer of Love theme. It's a song that simple promotes "Love is All You Need" and the obvious like;
There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
-Or-
There's nothing you can know that isn't known,
 Nothing you can see that isn't shown

The Cover

The album features a bright orange and blue background with the wide letters of The albums names circling over a pictures of John dressed as a walrus, Paul as a hippo, George as a rabbit, and Ringo as a bird. This later lead to more rumors of the Paul is Dead rumor from John's Glass Onion, which would later be released on The White Album stating "The Walrus was Paul" and in Magical Mystery Tour film a music video for The Beatles "I Am The Walrus" shows John in a Walrus costume and Paul as a Hippo as they are in the cover, some believe that John was in the hippo miming the bass lines, while Paul was in the Walrus.In the video when John says "I Am The Walrus", Nicola, a little five year old who was featured in the film can be heard saying "No you're not". Others say that the line "The Walrus was Paul" was due to the fact that John didn't fit into his outfit, but at this time the two were a near mimic of each others built. 

A version of the album was released with a cartoon comic-strip of the movie.

Charts

US; The LP was released on 27 November, 1967 with Larger initials sales of any album in history. The album sold $8 million in just three weeks topping the charts in January of 1968 and staying there for eight weeks. 
UK; The EP was issued on 8 December, 1967 with 400,000 orders in advance. The album entered the UK Singles chart on 14 December remaining there for twelve weeks.  The EP reached number two and in the Melody Maker chart reached number one for one week.







"Love is the sweet expression of life. It is the supreme content  of life. Love is the force of life, powerful and sublime. The flower of life bloom in love and radiates love all around."- Maharishi Mahesh Yogi



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