93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
The remastered Beatles CDS are out (finally), after a too long wait. If you want to get a quick idea what to expect from the remasterings, the best way to do this is to compair one of the 1987 remastered songs to your copy of BEATLES ONE (the number one singles CD from 2000.) The BEATLES ONE was remastered with 24 bit technology, and sound solutions to negate the hiss. A lot of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR came out on the BEATLES ONE CD, as well as the remastered and remixed soundtrack to YELLOW SUBMARINE. (It included all 15 songs used in some way for the cartoon film.) So, I had misgivings about buying MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR remastered, cos I already had so many of the songs remastered. Nevertheless, i'm really glad I did. The remastering job is just hands down phenominal. Most of what pops out at you, are the little bits that were too sonically blurred, or buried in the mix, to decipher. The BASS is very punchy, while the top end resonates with much greater clarity and distinction. The ride and crash symbols come across so REAL. My only real disappointment, is that with the purity of the sound we now have, all the problems with bouncing down so often to free up tracks is evident. Its no secret that MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR was recorded on four track, like Pepper. So, because almost ALL the musical instruments ended up crowded onto one track, leaving another track or two for vocals and lead guitar, then a track for the sound effects. (I think Martin wanted the sound effects seperated, like the bus that drives between the speakers on the song MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, to produce that psychedelic movement between the stereo channels.) Sadly, this gives problems in the soundscape that sound very odd to our modern, 48 track hearing. Like having the drums crowded into the left channel, along with the guitars, maracas, keyboards, while the vocals and the Bass, or lead guitar, get stuck in the other channel. Of course, this is why the MONO editions were given such focus, until 8 track recording made the stereo soundscape more balanced. Still, for clarity, definition, and distinction (like finger cymbals or keyboard parts played low, around middle "C"), this remastered edition is just fantastic.
The other goodies that you get with the REMASTERED version of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, is a VASTY IMPROVED booklet. For those you had the original Vinyl of this album, you know it came with a "comic book" in the middle, that had lots of photos and these drawings that told the "story" behind the movie the Beatles made in 1967 called MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. I often wondered WHY they didnt reproduce this booklet in the first CD edition, but the new 38 page booklet finally fixes that problem. IT also has some recording notes, and a mini essay about how this album fits into the Beatles Discography. The layout of the new cardboard CD holder is pretty cool. It opens up into three panels, like a triplyct. The first panel shows the cover, that also holds the thick booklet. The next two inner panels combine to show all four Beatles looking out the top of the Magical Mystery Tour bus (it had a skylight opening). In the third panel you find the CD slipped in, but without a CD "record cover" as you normally see these "Vinyl reproduction" gatefold albums, so you need to be careful pulling the CDs out to prevent surface scruffs. When you fold in the gatefold panels, you have outside one panel a full color reproduction of the photograph taken for the SINGLE sleeve of STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER. (The fab 4 with bright floodlights around them, overexposing the film.) All in all, the design and layout are a HUGE improvement on the first CD release. Even the CD itself is printed like the old PARLOPHONE LPs. And lastly, here's a word about the 3-4 minute mini documentary. I was worried that my 10 year old MAC may not play it, but the QUICKTIME documentary will play on MACS with G4 or G5 processors, and anything past a OS X.3, or any PC with at least a pentium 3. The mini-doc shows a little bit of the first 5 song's "videos" from the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR FILM. While the edited "videos" play, there's voice overs from the guys, including JOHN's famous statement about this album being his favorite, cos its so wierd, and cos its the album where I AM THE WALRUS was placed. Paul defends the film, as usual. Then, they continue the voice overs, while you see bits of the promo films for HELLO GOODBYE, PENNY LANE, and STAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER. As for studio chatter, there's a couple of bits, but not that much. I didnt own the Magical Mystery Tour DVD, I would have thought much more of this particular mini documentary. I am certain of one thing. The guys at APPLE wanted to make sure this sound remastering was done right, and would be the LAST WORD in upgrades for a long time. (At least until they do go back and remix from the original four tracks, and put out AUDIO DVDS. I wouldnt hold your breathe, tho.)
All in all, there's enough sound quality improvement here to make it well worth buying. If you dont want to replace your whole BEATLES CD collection, I suggest just buying one of the REMASTERS, just to put your toe in the water. Even tho I've always loved this album for the songs on it, I'd still buy WHITE ALBUM as a first pick, maybe even ABBEY ROAD. Since they were both recorded on 8 track, there's just that much more clarity, from the lack of bouncing down of tracks. The stereo soundscape was much improved by then as well. But whatever REMASTERED CD you buy, know this: You are hearing EXACTLY what George Martin and the Beatles heard, when they played back the master tapes in ABBEY ROADS studio. For some the sound improvment might only be subtle, but for me, any improvement to the BEATLES catalouge is VAST. The improved artwork, the quick time documentaries, etc is just icing on the cake. Who wants cake without icing anyway?
92 of 98 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2000
John Lennon thought this was the best Beatles album...what better praise could "Magical Mystery Tour" get? John liked it because it was "so wierd", and that's my main reason for liking it too. It's quirky but solid. Despite the wonderfully odd songs such as "Blue Jay Way", the lovely "Flying" and the title track, this album also features some of the Beatle's best songs. I mean, come on - "Strawberry Fields Forever", "I Am the Walrus", "Fool on the Hill", "Penny Lane" on the same album? Wierd songs, great songs, it was an extension of Sgt Pepper, but the music here is more personal, heartfelt and meaningful. This album, "Magical Mystery Tour", is often knocked by critics, mostly because its songs are gathered from many sources, (EP's, singles) and because it came from a film which was not well liked, (though I think the film was marvelous fun!) Plus, the Beatles had just released "Sgt Pepper". Nevertheless, you've got to admit, "Sgt Pepper" was kind of a tough act to top! MMT was brilliant in its own right. Extra points for the Beatle's fabulous use of the mellotron throughout this record, truly one of the most haunting & beautiful instruments. And one final bonus point for "I Am the Walrus"...the Beatle's best song ever recorded!
119 of 131 people found the following review helpful
For a change, the Magical Mystery Tour version released in the U.S. was superior to the UK version, which was more or less an EP. The U.S. version gathers some key singles from 1967 (Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane) and makes this a great cd.
Not quite the strong thematic accomplishment of Sgt. Pepper's, but this collection certainly holds its own. The Beatles were still up to their studio tricks, using lots of orchestration, backwards cymbals, unusual instruments, etc. and each song is again unique. This disk also has some of Ringo's finest drumming.
5 star songs include:
"Strawberry Fields Forever" with John Lennon singing about a place near his home in Liverpool. A great thing about Lennon penned tunes was that he always included the listener on the journey. "Let me take you down..." Trippy and introspective, with slowed down tape to deepen lower his voice, then pieced together with another faster track in a different key. Great combo of rock instruments and orchestra. Great drum dynamics, especially the ending reprise and fadeout.
"Penny Lane" is Paul's Liverpool trip, a cheerful tune with some nice lyrical twists like "four of fish and finger pies" and "a pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray." Also like the horns, especially that solo.
"All You Need is Love" is a perfect ode to the 1967 "Summer of Love."
"The Fool on the Hill" ranks among Paul's better lyrical efforts. "The man of a thousand voices talking perfectly loud." Nice recorders.
"I Am The Walrus" is one John Lennon's all-time best Beatle tunes, with, as another reviewer stated, nonsense lyrics that somehow make sense. This is the quintessential combo of rock meets orchestra that has been imitated very since the Beatles perfected it. Great drum performance by Ringo.
4 star tunes:
"Hello Goodbye" has a catchy, singalong melody, nice harmonies, cool guitars, but lyrically doesn't have much substance.
"Magical Mystery Tour" is a good intro piece, with horns, harmonies, and great drums. I always wondered what it would have been like to hear an extension of that piano jam at the end fadeout.
"Baby You're a Rich Man" Nice beat and piano line. This must be an early use of the expression "one of the beautiful people."
"Flying" is a trippy little instrumental with a good bass and drum groove and slinky guitars that transforms into a spacey trip of sound effects.
"Blue Jay Way" is a hazy George Harrison piece about waiting for someone in L.A. I like the progressive building of tempos and drums.
"Your Mother Should Know" is another catchy, piano-driven Paul tune that was probably considered a "granny song" by John.
Listen to these tunes and consider how much the Beatles had evolved in only five years! Amazing.
43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
As a progressive rock fan who happens to have an interest in the genre that extends beyond listening to albums by the major players themselves, e.g. Yes, Genesis, ELP, King Crimson etc., I have started exploring those psychedelic bands that gave rise to the progressive rock style, e.g. The Beatles. Although the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album (1967) is widely recognized to have laid the groundwork for prog, not to mention providing inspiration for English psychedelic/proto-prog bands such as the Moody Blues, Pink Floyd (debut album only), and even the Nice (debut album only), it is the Beatle's Magical Mystery Tour album (1967) that is a personal favorite.
As an editorial comment, my first exposure to the Beatles took place in the late 1970s when my parents bought me the "blue album" (1967-1970) - on blue vinyl no less. In fact, many of the songs off of Magical Mystery Tour appeared on that compilation. One other thing - Magical Mystery Tour was the album that had the famous car crash sound effect and the "I buried Paul" comment - both of which led the more gullible among us to believe that Paul McCartney had in fact died in a car crash. I guess it is worth noting that John Lennon in fact said "cranberry sauce" and not "I buried Paul", although what is heard on the album sounds a great deal like "I buried Paul". In addition to Magical Mystery Tour, various "clues" perpetuating the urban myth of Paul's death are scattered across several Beatles albums.
In terms of the overall feel of the album itself, all of the pieces flow together very nicely so there is a sense of a total "program". This was one of the hallmarks of the mature prog rock style in fact - a unifying thread or concept that linked all of the pieces together. On Magical Mystery Tour, there are instrumental interludes (Flying) and a number of very psychedelic numbers that give the whole album an overwhelmingly psychedelic feel. Of course, the very colorful and surrealist cover art speaks volumes too and meshes perfectly with the music - reinforcing the link between cover album art (back when it meant something) and the music. Not to forget the most important aspect however, the lyrics are also peppered with cryptic references and surrealist imagery, making this one of the more interesting total packages I have come across lately.
In terms of the music, keyboard instruments such as the mellotron are used on a few tracks and duplicate the sounds of flutes and a string section. Although real strings are used on this album, along with brass instruments, the mellotron had a very distinctive sound and became one of the main instruments in the progressive rock keyboard arsenal. Various sound effects and studio manipulations are also used, which lend the pieces a somewhat otherworldly feel. This is especially apparent on some of the electric guitar parts and the vocal sections. The Beatles of course were absolute masters when it came to melodies and especially vocal harmonies, and they are both used to best effect on tracks like "The Fool on the Hill", "Penny Lane", "Your Mother Should Know", and "Hello Goodbye" - snippets from these pieces have been bouncing around my head for the past few days. My favorite tracks include the dark and psychedelic "Blue Jay Way" and "Strawberry Fields Forever", although I do not feel there is a single weak track on this album.
Listening to this great music after so many years was a very pleasant experience and reminded me of the significant contribution the Beatles made to popular music in the 20th century and to this very day I suppose (even though I don't listen to current pop music). It was also very educational in the sense that I understand more about the influence the Beatles had on the progressive rock style that I hold so near and dear. Although Sgt. Pepper's is certainly the more famous and frequently cited example, I think Magical Mystery Tour certainly holds its own and is a wonderful piece of 1960's psychedelia. As such, Magical Mystery Tour is very highly recommended along with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on September 9, 2009
It's been a long time since I've purchased an album/cd on the day of release, but the publicity avalanche surrounding the Beatles' remasterings suckered me into buying the one Beatles album I really loved as a kid: Magical Mystery Tour.
Every track on the original EP was a shining example of the band's melodic and sonic experimentation, with a palpable sense of whimsy and wonder. The supplementary tracks comprise some of the greatest-ever Beatle songs, including the joyous All You Need Is Love and the song signalling the Beatles' transition to pop immortality, Strawberry Fields Forever.
At the sunset of the cd age these releases attempt to be the definitive audio documents of the modern pop era. If you were impressed by the upgrade afforded the tracks on Love, you'll feel similarly here.
Every track on MMT sounds vibrantly immediate, with plenty more depth in the sound field and a complete absence of background noise and hiss. Simply, these remasters sound like everything intended to be heard is present and everything extraneous has been removed.
The digipacks are also a distinct improvement over jewel cases: they're more tactile and enjoyable to handle and read, and in MMT's case the 36-page booklet reproduces the entire original release (yes, including the comic) plus new contemporary pix and new historical and recording notes. If Apple had included a plastic sleeve to protect the cd in its cardboard pocket the entire package would be perfect.
The only real gimmick is the Quicktime video, a 4 minute promo throwaway that adds little to the experience. It does the job of contextualising the music, though, and if you were to buy the entire collection they'd probably be very enjoyable viewed in toto.
So after all the hype? Yes, this remaster - at least - is worth the money. I'm not enough of a fan to buy the complete set, but if you have a favourite Beatles album you're thinking of getting you won't be cheated by these releases.
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2000
The amazon.com reviewer states that this cd/lp sounds more like a collection of singles rather than an album, and there is a very good reason for it, for that is exactly what Magical Mystery Tour is, for the most part. The Beatles never went into the studio to record what would eventually become MMT, rather, this album is based on an ep (extended play disc) originally released in Britain along with the television film, with a handful of previously released singles added to the mix for the creation of a "new" album. In fact, this "album" was not even released in Britain until the late '70s, being available only in America and parts of Europe.
Having said this, it must be added that the product is remarkable. On the old lp, the songs for the British ep constituted the first side (which is now the first six songs on the cd) - the strongest cuts being "I Am the Walrus," "Fool on the Hill," and "Blue Jay Way." "Blue Jay Way" was inspired by an actual event, friends of George Harrison losing their way in the "fog upon L.A.," but as with any Harrison song of this period the outward lyric conceals (sometimes subtly, often explicitly) themes related to his growing mysticism. "Fool on the Hill" is more melodic McCartney, evoking a sense of inexplicable isolation without the obligatory trace of anxiety often present in this kind material (as conceived by lesser artists). THE masterpiece of the old ep/lp "A" side is Lennon's "I Am the Walrus," a Lewis Caroll type surrealistic journey that contains everything from transcendental mysticism ("I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together), Dadaistic word-play ("Semolina Pritchard climbing up the Eiffel Tower", "goo goo goo joob"), Carollian non-sense verse ("elementary penguins singing Hare Krsna man you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allen Poe,") surreal social commentary("corporation tee shirt stupid bloody tuesday") Daliesque weirdness (Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye) and Shakespeare (the snippet of the BBC broadcast of King Lear at the end of the song). Musically the song is organzied chaos, driven by Lennon's powerful singing and channeled by George Martin's savvy production. In all of rock, there isn't a song like it - and very few songs that can come close to its overall power. The remaining "ep" songs, "Your Mother Should Know," "Flying," and "Magical Mystery Tour," round out the remainder of this segment of the cd. Of the three, the latter is the best song, a delightful spontaneous romp inviting the listener into the experience, somewhat reminiscent of the opening of *Sgt. Pepper*, but not quite as musically memorable. "Flying" is pleasant enough, but the closest thing we get to filler on a Beatles album. "Your Mother Should Know" also fits that description, a smooth melody, and quite inoffensive, but only a mild prelude to the great song that follows it ("Walrus).
Side "B" was cobbled together out of a collection of previously released Beatles singles, going back to late 1966 ("Penny Lane", "Strawberry Fields Forever") and running through the Summer of Love (i.e., the summer of 1967, represented by "All You Need is Love," "Hello Goodbye," "Baby You're a Rich Man"). "Penny Lane" is a McCartney masterpiece, Paul's reverie about his youth in Liverpool. Few songs match the images that Paul conjures about the sights, sites, smells and sounds of his younger days, all of which is weaved around another perfect McCartneyesque melody. "Hello Goodbye" is another song that is mostly Paul, and while it is not nearly as good as "Penny Lane" or "Fool on the Hill," it helps the album move along in the transition from John's incomparable Walrus into the rest of the record. "Baby You're a Rich Man" is another effective piece from Lennon, combining elements of whismy, doubt, confusion, hope, suffering, and ambition in a way that only John Lennon at his best could. "All You Need Is Love," is yet *another* masterpiece (that word might be overused if applied to other groups and albums, but not here with the Beatles - for it often seems that "masterpiece" and "Beatles song" are almost identical terms) - John's anthemic testament to the spirit of the times, a song of great dignity, optimistic sincerity, hope-filled exhortation, and unbounded compassion. With this song the Beatles culminated an artistic process that began with "The Word" (Rubber Soul, '65) and "Tomorrow Never Knows (Revoler '66), running through the album *Sgt. Pepper's*, and reaching it's denoumenent with this beautiful expression of humanity's great potential for love. This might be the best song ever written by the Beatles - but there is other candidates for that accolade, and one of them can also be found on this very disc.
"Strawberry Fields Forever" was conceived by Lennon in the latter part of autumn, 1966, and brought into the studio as part of the project that would become "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The Beatles intended to include this and "Penny Lane" on the "Pepper" (can you imagine?), but when pressured by EMI to get a single out (to quell rumors of the Beatles disbanding), the Beatles decided to finish both songs and release them together on 45rpm in January of '67 (this in the wake of their stunning announced "retirment" from touring a few months earlier). This is a true example of a "double A" single, both songs so great that neither is really a "B" side piece. While both songs are among the Beatles best, of the two, it is "Strawberry Fields" that is truly extraordinary; a sonic masterpiece (again) that introduces unprecedented sounds, musical phrasings, lyrical musings, and overall structural beauty that remains to this day one of the most creative landmarks in the history of music (and I mean music of *any* kind). If *Sgt. Pepper* is the most important album in rock history, this is the most artistically important song, and not only in the history of rock, but it might be the most important song of the post-WWII era (only time will tell in the end). Like Paul, John also takes us back to his youth, but in a way far different from his songwriting partner. The mood and emotion evoked in this piece are beyond my poor powers of description, it is truly a song in which one can get blissfully lost. (I also recommend listening to the three takes also available on Beatles Anthology 2, disc 2, for a sense of the songs development and structure). Strawberry Fields Forever embodies Beatles artistry - and as such is a song without comparison (what other song resembles it?) and with few peers (numbered on the fingers of one hand). There is nothing but dream, magic, and truth in Lennon's great achievement, and for this reason alone, *Magical Mystery Tour* as we have it today is an essential recording for any lover of any kind of music.
If you don't have it get it, when you get it, listen to it carefully, especially "Strawberry Fields Forever," "All You Need is Love," and "I am the Walrus."
22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on July 24, 2000
This was the first Beatles album I ever got. I thought it was okay. But now that I'm really into them, I've begun to appreciate it. The title track is a catchy tune, with a nice brass part. Then comes one of the better McCartney songs, Fool on the Hill. I like the recorder. Flying is pretty good, and very underrated. Blue jay way is a neat song, too. I am The Walrus (no you're not, said little Nicola) is a brilliantly silly song, with an interesting fadeout and positively weird lyrics.Hello Goodbye is one of Paul's better contributions. Strawberry Fields is arguably John's best work. The Mellotron part is cool. Penny Lane and Rich Man are some great songs. And, last but definetly not least, All You Need Is Love. What more can be said? The anthem of the sixties, it voiced the feelings of people aroud the world. I personally just think it's a good song. Overall it's a must buy. Oh and one more thing. Just because people say the movie is bad, doesn't mean you can't see it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 1999
With all of the attention that Sgt. Pepper and the "White Album" get, the temptation is there to underrate the landmark, Magical Mystery Tour. And yet, it is probably the best example of the marriage of the Beatles' enthusiasm for innovation and new sounds with their mastery of popular song structure. It really does play like a greatest hits package, and, although Magical Mystery Tour does not follow as seamless a "conceptual" path as Sgt. Pepper does, its songs are undeniably more cutting-edge than most other popular recordings in that era, Velvet Underground notwithstanding. (In believe Magical Mystery Tour is worth purchasing for two songs alone: Strawberry Fields Forever and I Am The Walrus.)
If I had a choice of only two Beatles albums, they would be Revolver and MMT. In the 1960s, seldom did melodic pop hooks join with a spirit of restless innovation to reach such profound and inspiring heights. These two recordings amply demonstrate this.
Not to be overlooked, of course, is the self-effacing and genuinely humble "fifth Beatle," George Martin. His sense of good taste, along with his technical wizardry, knowledge of and enthusiasm for both popular and high culture, and curiosity for new sounds, no doubt inspired the Beatles themselves, resulting in such timeless works of art.
Very highly recommended.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2005
It's hard to say that any Beatles album is underappreciated, but I believe this one is. It did not make the Rolling Stone top 500 albums of all time, and a lot of people may actually try and tell you it's not very good.
I could not disagree more. Despite the fact that it is "basically a soundtrack," it features not only some of the best songs in the Beatles catalogue, but some of the greatest songs ever written. "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "All You need is Love," "Hello,"...pretty much the entire album.
The other thing about this album is that it is weird, and I think that turns a lot of people off. Sgt. Pepper's and Revolver were experimental, but Magical Mystery Tour is seriously psychadelic, and I don't think people were ready for the Beatles to sound this out there.
Another common arguement is that Magical Mystery Tour sounds like a collection of singles, rather than an "album," that all of the songs could be hits. To this day, I will never understand how you can criticize an album for being too good.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2004
Probably the Beatles's most underrated and psychedelic album, MMT has it all. The title track is one of the Beatles's best hard rock songs that slows down until the jazzy finish. Other than George's slow and wierd song "Blue Jay Way", the album is near perfect. "Your Mother Should Know" is another one of Paul's catchy songs and yet, it's very melodic. "Fool on the Hill" is another Paul beauty that's absolutely pleasant with a light, but sad lyrics. A beautiful flute and 12-string guitar part can be heard on that. And what can't be said about John's eerie, wierd, psychedelic "I Am the Walrus." It's based on the Lewis Carrol poem from "Alice in Wonderland", but it actually has no meaning whatsoever. At the end, you can hear the words "Bury my body" and "Oh, Untimely death." Are these clues of Paul's death? Actually, their snips of a production of Shakespeare's King Lear which was on the radio at that time. "Baby You're a Rich Man" is yet another brilliant number. George Martin (their genius producer) said that the single "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever" was the greatest rock album EVER. How true. Paul's incredible bass line as well as beautiful British melodies and harmonies shine on "Penny Lane". "SFF" stands as one of John's most brilliant songs as it combines his genius lyrics with a haunting, heartbreaking melody. And then there's "All You Need is Love", one of the greatest songs of all time. When the Beatles were asked to write a song for the first worldwide live television event, they needed a song that could be understood in every country. This song brought it. This album had three number one hits (and would have had four if "Strawberry Fields" wasn't knocked away by Englbert Humperdink's stupid song back in the sixties). Four out of eleven ain't bad. The most overlooked album, it doesn't quite work as a whole like "Sgt. Pepper", but is a must-have for Beatles and non-Beatles fans alike.