Tuesday, November 27, 2012

magical mystery tour

The Beatles took a psychedelic bus trip even further away from guitar rock and made a trippy film about it.  The recording of the music for 'Magical Mystery Tour' began only days after the completion of 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' with the bulk of the sessions taking place at Abbey Road Studios in London, although they did some work at Olympic, De Lane Lea, and Chappell when they couldn't get into Abbey Road.  

The sound showed them continuing the experimentation with diverse instrumentation that they had embraced on 'Sgt Pepper' with John Lennon on vocals, guitar, acoustic and electric pianos, mellotron, organ, clavioline, and harmonica;  Paul McCartney on vocals, bass, piano, mellotron, and recorder;  George Harrison on vocals, guitar, organ, and harmonica;  and Ringo Starr on drums and percussion;  with George Martin on piano;  Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall on percussion;  Stanley Woods, Leon Calvert, Freddy Clayton, Bert Courtley, Duncan Campbell, Tony Fisher, Greg Bowen, Derek Watkins, Stanley Roderick, David Mason, Elgar Howarth, Roy Copestake, and John Wilbraham on trumpets;  Ray Swinfield, P. Goody, Manny Winters, Dennis Walton, Christoper Taylor, Richard Taylor, and Jack Ellory on flutes;  Patrick Halling, Eric Bowie, Jack Holmes, Sidney Sax, Jack Rothstein, Ralph Elman, Andrew McGee, Jack Greene, Louis Stevens, John Jezzard, and Jack Richards on violins;  John Hall, Derek Simpson, Norman Jones, Lionel Ross, Eldon Fox, Brian Martin, and Terry Weil on cellos;  Evan Watkins, Henry Spain, Neill Sanders, Tony Tunstall, and Morris Miller on horns;  Rex Morris and Don Honeywill on sax;  Jack Emblow on accordion;  Ken Essex and Leo Birnbaum on violas;   Dick Morgan and Mike Winfield on English horns; Frank Clarke on double bass;  David Mason on piccolo trumpet;  Eddie Kramer on vibraphone;  and Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Moon, Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd Harrison, Jane Asher, Mike McCartney, Maureen Starkey, Graham Nash, Gary Leeds, Hunter Davies, Peggie Allen, Wendy Horan, Pat Whitmore, Jill Utting, June Day, Sylvia King, Irene King, G. Mallen, Fred Lucas, Mike Redway, John O'Neill, F. Dachtler, Allan Grant, D. Griffiths, J. Smith, and J. Fraser on backing vocals.  

The band's ambitious arrangements pushed the boundries of what was technically possible with four track recording.  Producer George Martin worked with engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott to create complex sound collages utilizing the same "bouncing down" method as on 'Sgt Pepper' where they would copy and combine tracks to make room for more overdubs.  Every song required this process.  

The movie was unscripted and filmed over two weeks in September of 1967 when the music was already completed.  While the actual film was panned by critics, the album fit very well into their ouvre.  In the UK, the soundtrack was released as two EP's with three songs on each.  In the US, it was released as an album with the six songs from the EP on side one and all of the band's singles from 1967 on side two, including 'All You Need Is Love' 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane'.  'Magical Mystery Tour' found its way to thirty-one in the UK; thirteen in Norway; and number one in Australia, Germany, and the US.  It continued to chart off and on until 1970.  



'Magical Mystery Tour'

'I Am the Walrus'

Lennon revealed:  "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. It's from 'The Walrus and the Carpenter.' 'Alice in Wonderland.' To me, it was a beautiful poem. 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, shit, I picked the wrong guy. I should have said, 'I am the carpenter.' But that wouldn't have been the same, would it? (singing) 'I am the carpenter...'"

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. 

See how they run like pigs from a gun, see how they fly. 
I'm crying. 
Sitting on a cornflake, waiting for the van to come. 
Corporation tee-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday. 
Man, you been a naughty boy, you let your face grow long. 
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. 
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob.
Mister City Policeman sitting 
Pretty little policemen in a row. 
See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky, see how they run. 
I'm crying, I'm crying. 
I'm crying, I'm crying. 
Yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dog's eye. 
Crabalocker fishwife, pornographic priestess, 
Boy, you been a naughty girl you let your knickers down. 
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. 
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob. 
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun. 
If the sun don't come, you get a tan 
From standing in the English rain. 
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. 
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob. 
Expert textpert choking smokers, 
Don't you think the joker laughs at you? 
See how they smile like pigs in a sty, 
See how they snied. 
I'm crying. 
Semolina pilchard, climbing up the Eiffel Tower. 
Elementary penguin singing Hari Krishna. 
Man, you should have seen them kicking Edgar Allan Poe. 
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen. 
I am the walrus, goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob. 
Goo goo g'joob g'goo goo g'joob g'goo

I Am the Walrus from Long Tran on Vimeo.

'The Fool on the Hill'

McCartney says:  "'Fool On The Hill' was mine and I think I was writing about someone like the Maharishi. His detractors called him a fool. Because of his giggle he wasn't taken too seriously... I was sitting at the piano at my father's house in Liverpool hitting a D6 chord, and I made up 'Fool On The Hill.'"

Day after day,

Alone on a hill,
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him,
They can see that he's just a fool,
And he never gives an answer,
But the fool on the hill,
Sees the sun going down,
And the eyes in his head,
See the world spinning 'round.

'Blue Jay Way'
Harrison remembered:  "Derek Taylor got held up. He rang to say he'd be late. I told him on the phone that the house was in Blue Jay Way. And he said he could find it okay... he could always ask a cop. So I waited and waited. I felt really nackered with the flight, but I didn't want to go to sleep until he came. There was a fog and it got later and later. To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way. There was a little Hammond organ in the corner of this house which I hadn't noticed until then... so I messed around on it and the song came."

Please don't be long...

McCartney considers:  "'Flying' was an instrumental that we needed for (the film) 'Magical Mystery Tour' so in the studio one night I suggested to the guys that we made something up. I said, 'We can keep it very, very simple, we can make it a 12-bar blues. We need a little bit of a theme and a little bit of a backing.' I wrote the melody, otherwise it's just a 12-bar backing thing. It's played on the mellotron, on a trombone setting. It's credited to all four (Beatles), which is how you would credit a non-song."

FLYING-HD - The Beatles - Alvarortega from ALVARORTEGA on Vimeo.

'Your Mother Should Know'

Your Mother Should Know from Tom Stillwell on Vimeo.

'Magical Mystery Tour'

full album:

All tracks written by Lennon–McCartney except where noted. Lead vocals listed.

Side one: Film soundtrack
1. "Magical Mystery Tour"   Paul McCartney with John Lennon 2:48
2. "The Fool on the Hill"   Paul McCartney 3:00
3. "Flying" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) (Instrumental) 2:16
4. "Blue Jay Way" (Harrison) George Harrison 3:50
5. "Your Mother Should Know"   Paul McCartney 2:33
6. "I Am the Walrus"   John Lennon 4:35
Side two: 1967 singles
1. "Hello, Goodbye"   Paul McCartney 3:24
2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"   John Lennon 4:05
3. "Penny Lane"   Paul McCartney 3:00
4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"   John Lennon 3:07
5. "All You Need Is Love"   John Lennon 3:57

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