Sunday, September 21, 2008

Album of the Day #64: MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR - The Bealtes

Title: Magical Mystery Tour

Artist: The Beatles
Label: Capitol/EMI
Year: 1967
Songs: Magical Mystery Tour/The Fool On The Hill/Flying*/Blue Jay Way**/Your Mother Should Know/I Am The Walrus/Hello Goodbye/Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane/Baby You're A Rich Man/All You Need Is Love
UK EP Set: Magical Mystery Tour/Your Mother Should Know/I Am The Walrus/The Fool On The Hill/Flying*/Blue Jay Way**
Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney, except *John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison & Richard Starkey and **George Harrison
Produced by: Big George Martin
Thoughts: For years this had the distinction of being the only Capitol LP to be on the market. Releasing these songs as a 2-EP set in Britain was the worst idea the Beatles came up with, and they quickly realized it was silly. Listening to the set today, it is awkward. I can't imagine how British fans felt at the time, considering the EP format was on its' way out in the UK (mostly because of The Beatles: see my review on the EP. Collection for more). The format never succeeded in America in the first place, so Capitol came up with the brilliant idea of fleshing out the LP with a second side of the band's five single-exclusive tracks from 1967. The irony is that these songs are a hell of a lot stronger than the ones featured in the film (which wasn't actually shown in the States). The songs from the film had the feeling of Sgt. Pepper rejects. The only really strong one is John's masterpiece, "I Am The Walrus", which Capitol expertly placed at the end of the first side. Capitol pulled a master-stroke with their sequencing, especially on their manufactured second side. This album would definitely not be as special, if they say, screwed up and made "Baby You're A Rich Man" the last track, instead of the anthem "All You Need Is Love". Great move, Capitol. Great move.
About The Art Work: Besides the horrific album cover (just look at the thing...the blinding orange border...really?!?), the noteworthy aspect was the 24-page color booklet. The CD release, of course, failed to include it (really?!?) but both the American LP (where it was of course bigger) and the British EP set had it. You can get it in a miniaturized version in the EP. Collection box, though. It helps to tell you where the songs fit in to the film, which is a lot easier than sitting through the (creative) piece of shit. By the way, watch it a second time. Oh, it won't change your opinion. It's still a piece of shit, but it's a good, satisfying piece of shit with awesome pre-MTV music videos. Plus, you can never get enough of midgets wrestling and the image of John shoveling spaghetti onto Ringo's aunt's plate.
Rating: 8/10

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