Magical Mystery Tour Recording Sessions Reconstructed (BFB 46)
Disc 1: (The Mono Mystery Tour), Magical Mystery Tour, Your Mother Should Know, I Am the Walrus, The Fool on the Hill, Flying, Blue Jay Way; (singles) All You Need Is Love, Baby You’re a Rich Man, Hello Goodbye; and (alternate mono mixes) I Am the Walrus (US Mix), All You Need Is Love (Film Mix), Magical Mystery Tour (Film Mix), I Am the Walrus (Film Mix), Your Mother Should Know (Film Mix), and The Fool on the Hill (I-V, Rumi-Tape).
Disc 2: (The Stereo Mystery Tour), Magical Mystery Tour, Your Mother Should Know, I Am the Walrus, The Fool on the Hill, Flying, Blue Jay Way; (singles) All You Need Is Love, Baby You’re a Rich Man, Hello Goodbye; and (alternate stereo mixes) I Am the Walrus (US Mix), Magical Mystery Tour (1988 Mix), Blue Jay Way (1988 Mix), Your Mother Should Know (1988 Mix), All You Need Is Love (anthology), I Am the Walrus (anthology), Hello Goodbye (anthology), All You Need Is Love (master for Yellow Submarine film), Baby You’re a Rich Man (master for Yellow Submarine film), Hello Goodbye (video 1) and All You Need Is Love (unknown take from anthology DVD).
Disc 3: (Magical Mystery Tour Recording Sessions), April 25-27 and May 3, 1967 – Magical Mystery Tour (take 9, RM4) and Magical Mystery Tour (take 9, RM7); June 14, 19, 23-25, 1967 – All You Need Is Love (tape unknown), All You Need Is Love (warm up), and All You Need Is Love (take 58); August 22, 1967 – Your Mother Should Know (take 8); September 5-6, 1967 – I Am the Walrus (takes 7-9), I Am the Walrus (rehearsals), I Am the Walrus (takes 16 & 17), I Am the Walrus (take 17 RM4), and The Fool on the Hill (demo take 1); September 7, 1967 – Blue Jay Way (take 3 RM1); September 8, 1967 – Flying (take 6 RM4); September 16, 1967 – Your Mother Should Know (take 27); September 25, 1967 – The Fool on the Hill; September 28, 1967 – Flying (take 8 with overdub takes 1-5); and September 29, 1967 – I Am the Walrus (King Lear), Hello Goodbye (take 1), and Hello Goodbye (take 16).
Disc 4/DVD: (40th Anniversary Remastered Film Edition with Bonus Documentary), Apple Opening, Hello Goodbye, Magical Mystery Tour, Aunt Jessie, The Fool on the Hill, Flying, I Am the Walrus, Jessie’s Dream, Sergeant Spinetti, Blue Jay Way, Ringo’s Sing-a-long, Death Cab for Cutie, Magical Marathon, All My Loving, Your Mother Should Know, closing credits; (documentary), Magical Mystery Tour memories.
I have distinct, and fond, childhood memories of playing while repeatedly listening to The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour album. The songs’ countless layers of sounds, unique mental imagery created by those sounds and accompanying lyrics, and the album’s cover totally captivated and left an indelible mark on my feelings about music. This impact was clearly foreseeable, as demonstrated by the fascinating eye witness narration accompanying the “warm up” recording of “All You Need Is Love” on disc 3 of this title:
This is Steve Race in the Beatles’ recording studio in London where the latest Beatle record is at this moment being built-up. Not just a single performance, but a whole montage of performances. With some friends in to help the atmosphere, this is quite an occasion.
(following George Martin’s rewinding of tape and short discussion with Lennon)
There’s several days’ work on that tape. For perhaps the hundredth time the engineer runs it back to the start for yet another stage in the making of an almost certain hit record. The supervisor is George Martin, the musical brain behind all the Beatles’ records. There’s the orchestra, coming into the studio now, and you’ll notice that the musicians are not rock and roll youngsters. The Beatles get on best with symphony men.
The boys began by making a basic instrumental track on their own. Then they added, on top of that, a second track of vocal backgrounds, and they just added a third track. Now comes the final stage. It brings in a solo vocal from John Lennon and, for the first time, the orchestra. Here then is final mixed track, take 1, of a song which we offer to the whole world, “All You Need Is Love”.
Immediately after those words comes Lennon playfully straining his voice to sing the song’s lyrics, which is followed by a great, spontaneous shuffle rhythm by Paul with Ringo using brushes on the snare. All recorded perfectly, it is disc 3 of this title that has cast a light into the recording sessions of Magical Mystery Tour that I’ve never before heard, and which has brought me back to those fond feelings about this landmark album. There is no redundancy in the many formative takes of “I Am the Walrus”, which says it all about the creative juices flowing at that time. The perfectly named “Flying” (take 6) is different in sound, backing vocals and ending, and “Flying” (take 8) contains a lengthy, psychedelic synthesizer run to end the track. Ringo’s drumming is excellent, with “Your Mother Should Know” (take 27) containing a completely different approach to the song that Paul adapts to perfectly (“with ciggy in mouth”) in altering the vocals in kind.
The packaging for this title in a long case is simply gorgeous, with apropos images and coloring, and containing a fitting 12-page booklet that adds to the overall enjoyment of this listening experience. Although the outtakes and alternate takes on disc 3 may be well known to Beatles’ experts, I am not such a person. For me, these new sounds from such an amazing string of recording sessions, as presented in this classy manner, renders this title a must have for any interested music collector.