Just a mere two years before the legendary Woodstock would breach the scene as one of the greatest innovations in musical events, The Beatles would step foot into a lengthy tour, movie, and adventurous deal. Magical Mystery Tour was something of legends, taking the Fab Four on an unforgettable journey of visuals, psychedelics, and most vital, the music that stayed everlasting.
Hearing the first moments of the self-titled track, “Magical Mystery Tour” which invokes the child-like wonder with harmonization from the vocals and instruments. Only about six-months since their previous release Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band which was still doing numbers on the charts, Magical Mystery Tour burst through the screens and stereos with two seven-inch vinyl discs that came with a booklet in a gatefold sleeve. The packaging alone was enough to catch the eye which featured colorful and vivid imagery of George Harrison, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney all dawning anthropomorphic costumes.
When gaining speed on the record, underneath the gleam and gloss of the photobook, there was a solid record with more than enough foundation to stand on. Magical Mystery Tour was a continuation of that turning point where The Beatles were experimental and starting to shift from the pop of their earlier days. Similar to Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band where the group assembled an idea and concept for the writings, Magical Mystery Tour followed suit. McCartney stated when describing the record as if “It was like we were in another phase of our career, you know? We’d done all the live stuff that was marvelous, now we were into being more artists. We got more freedom to be artists.”
Truly a transformative piece from their work as the Liverpool group playing bingo halls, now The Beatles had enough experience under their belts to work Magical Mystery Tour into the strange, avant-garde, and ultimately innovative work that grew to be iconic. From tracks that feature no vocals and are strictly instrumental like “Flying” that highlights the attention to detail and depth behind the recording process. There is the indulgence of “I Am The Walrus”, the catchy titles of “Hello, Goodbye” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”. There is the affluently descriptive “Penny Lane” and cult hit “Baby, You’re A Rich Man”, each track illustrates a different methodology behind The Beatles madness.
It could be how the culture was sculpted after, or perhaps the history behind each track, maybe the imagery that is grasping and almost recognized by the world. In any sense of the word, Magical Mystery Tour is a timeless record, holding more personality and intelligence through each step of the decades than the last. The Beatles broke through their salad days, achieving an abstract painting of multiple hues and tones that flair still for talent and an appeal for the abnormal.
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