Music / Magical Mystery Tour

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/185613_8384.jpg
The standard album cover for Magical Mystery Tour.

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/beatles_magicalmysterytour_cover_answer_5_xlarge_8485.jpg
The alternate cover for Magical Mystery Tour, used on the UK EP.

Magical Mystery Tour is the ninth studio album (as well as an EP) by The Beatles, released in 1967. In the UK it was released as a double EP, but the US album version has since become the definitive version. It is the only Beatles album where the American version is considered part of the official catalogue.

Unlike the film of the same name which was heavily criticised upon release, this album was an immediate critical and commercial success. This makes it an example of a Cult Soundtrack more popular than the film itself.


Tracklist (Standard Version):

Side One

  1. "Magical Mystery Tour"
  2. "The Fool on the Hill"
  3. "Flying"
  4. "Blue Jay Way"
  5. "Your Mother Should Know"
  6. "I Am the Walrus"

Side Two

  1. "Hello, Goodbye"
  2. "Strawberry Fields Forever"
  3. "Penny Lane"
  4. "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
  5. "All You Need Is Love"


Tracklist (EP Version):

Side One

  1. "Magical Mystery Tour"
  2. "Your Mother Should Know"

Side Two

  1. "I Am The Walrus"

Side Three

  1. "The Fool On The Hill"
  2. "Flying"

Side Four

  1. "Blue Jay Way"


Principal Members:

  • George Harrison - guitar, backing and lead vocals, organ, harmonica
  • John Lennon - lead vocals, guitar, keyboard, piano, mellotron, organ, clavioline, harmonica
  • Paul McCartney - lead vocals, bass, piano, mellotron, recorder
  • Ringo Starr - drums, percussion


All You Need Is Tropes:

  • Alice Allusion: The title of "I Am The Walrus" itself is an Alice Allusion to the Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice in Wonderland, making it an accidental Villain Song, because Lennon wasn't aware that the walrus was the villain in the song. Though he eventually found out about the mistake, he decided against changing it, pointing out that "I Am The Carpenter" would not be quite as catchy a title.
  • Animal Motifs: The band members are dressed as a walrus and eggman on the album cover, in reference to "I Am The Walrus".
  • Bilingual Bonus: "Hello, Goodbye" ends with chants of the word "Aloha", which means "greetings" in Hawaiian dialect.
  • Brick Joke: Lennon sings he is the walrus in "I Am The Walrus". Little Nicola (a character from the movie) however claims, according to the booklet of the album, he is not. The answer was finally solved with "Glass Onion" on The White Album, where John sings: "And here's another clue for you all/ the walrus was Paul." In "God" from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band he again changed the identity, by saying: "I was the walrus. But now I'm John." (In case anyone's wondering, yes, that's Lennon in the walrus costume.)
  • Broken Record: "Blue Jay Way" ends with variations of a certain phrase being repeated 18 times. The phrase? "Don't be long."
  • Call-and-Response Song: "Baby, You're A Rich Man".
  • Call Back: "See how they fly/Like Lucy in the Sky/See how they run"
  • Canon Immigrant: The American version, which added the band's 1967 singles to Side 2 in order to make it a full album, solving the problem the Beatles had with the soundtrack in the first place (there were not enough songs in the movie for an album, and there was almost no incidental music to pad it with). The American version is now the canonical version, so much that the version in the 9/9/09 re-release also has the American box art. (Even the artwork on the actual disc is modelled after a record label from EMI's American Capitol Records brand, instead of its British Parlophone Records imprint as with the band's other pre-Apple albums.)
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: "The Fool On The Hill" about a strange, reclusive man living on a hill, disliked by the others as being a "fool", yet world wise.
  • Concept Album: Sort of. Its the Cult Soundtrack to the film, which has a story, but the songs in themselves don't allude to it that much.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • "All You Need is Love" they begin singing "She Loves You" as the song fades out. "Yesterday" can also be heard at the end of "All You Need is Love".
    • The promotional music video for "Hello Goodbye" was one these, jumping between the band on stage wearing their early, mop-tops-and-suits look and their colorful Sgt. Pepper uniforms.
  • Cult Soundtrack: This album is the soundtrack to the TV movie of the same name.
  • Everything Is Better With Penguins:
    Elementary penguin singing Hare Krishna - "I Am the Walrus".
  • Face on the Cover: The band, shown from a distance and unrecognisably dressed up.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out:
    • Happens during "Strawberry Fields Forever", where the music returns again and John is heard muttering "cranberry sauce".
    • "Hello, Goodbye" seems to have ended at one point, then after a brief pause the band jams out while singing "Hey-La Hey-buh Hello-Ah".
  • Faux Symbolism: Deliberately invoked with "I Am The Walrus," written after John received a letter from a student who attended Lennon's old primary school about an English master there who was forcing his students to analyse the band's Word Salad Lyrics. Upon finishing the song, complete with his classic "first-thing-you-see" lyrics, Lennon turned to his friend and said "let the fuckers work that one out!". The completely random and nonsense line "semolina pilchard" is a reference to semolina pudding and pilchard sardine cans, according to John's childhood friend, Pete Shotton circa 1983. Another interpretation is that it is a Take That! to Moral Guardian Detective Norman Pilcher, who was more fanatical about arresting pop stars on drugs charges than about smaller things like actually following the rule of law, and had arrested both John and George on separate occasions.
  • The Fool: On The Hill.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Finger pie" (in "Penny Lane") is a reference to pleasuring a woman with one's fingers.
    • "Finger pie" is also Liverpool slang for a sausage roll.
  • Grief Song: The fade-out of "I Am The Walrus" has lines from a radio broadcast of William Shakespeare's King Lear, where Edgar murders a character named Oswald.
  • I Am the Noun: "I Am The Walrus".
  • Instrumental: "Flying". It is the only officially released Instrumental in the Beatles catalogue.
  • I Will Wait for You: "Blue Jay Way".
    There's a fog upon L.A.
    And my friends have lost their way
    We'll be over soon they said
    Now they've lost themselves instead
    Please don't be long please don't you be very long
    Please don't be long for I may be asleep
  • Last Note Nightmare:
    • The dissonant swirling effects at the end of "Blue Jay Way".
    • "Strawberry Fields Forever" is the canonical example. It fades out with a gorgeous swarmandel before fading back in with a dissonant mellotron, vicious drumming, trumpets that sound like ambulance sirens, and (most disturbingly) John Lennon's slowed-down voice saying "CRANBERRY SAUCE".
      • Even worse if you're a little kid and you think it's "I buried Paul." Ever since then, that song's end is the sound of death.
  • Location Song: "Penny Lane", a Nostalgia Filter song about a real Liverpudlian street, and "Strawberry Fields Forever, about a foster's home in the same city. John Lennon had fond memories about the location.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: "Talking perfectly loud", according to "The Fool On The Hill".
  • Momma's Boy: "Your Mother Should Know".
    Though she was born a long time ago
    Your mother should know
  • Never Accepted in His Hometown: The fool in "The Fool On The Hill" lives alone on a hill, while the other villagers dislike him and call him a fool.
  • New Sound Album: The Beatles at their most psychedelic.
  • Nostalgia Filter: "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" are both fond memories to a street and a children's institution in Liverpool, named "Strawberry Fields". "Your Mother Should Know" is nostalgic to a song "that was a hit/ before your mother was born."
  • Only Sane Man: "The Fool On The Hill" about a man sitting on top of a hill, disliked by everybody, but actually who is actually world wise.
    And he never listens to them
    He knows that they're the fools
    But they don't like him
    The fool on the hill
    Sees the sun going down
    And the eyes in his head
    See the world spinning around
  • People in Rubber Suits
  • Please Retain Old Street Name: Penny Lane in Liverpool is named not after the coin but after an 18th-century slave trader of that name. Were it not for the Beatles' song, it would have been renamed years ago.
  • The Poppy: "Penny Lane"
    Behind the shelter in the middle of a roundabout
    A pretty nurse is selling poppies from a tray...
  • The Power of Love: "All You Need Is Love".
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: "Penny Lane" was inspired by a real-life street in Liverpool that is now a tourist attraction. "Strawberry Fields" in "Strawberry Fields Forever" is a Salvation Army children's home where Lennon used to play in the garden as a child. "Blue Jay Way" was also inspired by real events. It was written when George was waiting in his house "Blue Jay Way" in Los Angeles for press journalist Derek Taylor.
  • Repurposed Pop Song: "Party Seacombe" on George Harrison's later album Wonderwall Music (1968) sounds suspiciously like "Flying".
  • Sampling:
    • The first few seconds of "Strawberry Fields Forever" are made up of flute samples, played on a Mellotron. It was an analogue sampler with different instruments sampled to tape. So when one pushed a key, the tape was played. This made the whole thing huge and as the tapes were being played all the time, it had the tendency to go out of tune after a while.
    • "I Am The Walrus" samples a BBC radio production of King Lear.
  • Scare Chord: The end of "Strawberry Fields Forever". The song fades out, and after a few seconds comes in a dissonant flute riff, some Scare Chord horns, and someone repeating "Cranberry Sauce" several times into another fade.
  • Scatting: "La la la la la la" chanting on the otherwise wordless "Flying" and "Da da da da da da da da da" in "Your Mother Should Now".
  • Shout-Out:
    • "All You Need Is Love" starts off with the first bars of the French national anthem "La Marseillaise" and ends with musical quotes from Johann Sebastian Bach, Glenn Miller's "In The Mood" and the Beatles own "Yesterday" and "She Loves You". Also heard is "Greensleeves" on strings, but it's kind of hard to make out.
    • The title of "I Am The Walrus" is an Alice Allusion to the Walrus and the Carpenter from Alice in Wonderland, making it an accidental Villain Song, because Lennon wasn't aware that the walrus was the villain in the song. This also makes it a Continuity Nod to "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which was also inspired by the novel. Carroll's image appears on the album cover of "Sgt. Peppers" too. "I Am The Walrus" tells us we should have seen "them kicking Edgar Allan Poe", who was also present on the album cover of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", by the way. The line about "yellow matter custard" is a reference to a playground nursery rhyme that goes "Yellow matter custard, green slop pie, All mixed together with a dead dog's eye, Slap it on a butty, ten foot thick, Then wash it all down with a cup of cold sick". Near the end a radio rendition of William Shakespeare's King Lear can be heard.
  • Spoken Word in Music: "I Am The Walrus" famously includes snippets from a BBC radio production of "King Lear". John Lennon drones out "cranberry sauce" at the end of "Strawberry Fields Forever".
  • Step Up to the Microphone: George Harrison sings lead on "Blue Jay Way", which he wrote. This is one of the few Beatles albums where Ringo doesn't get any vocals.
  • Stylistic Suck: The intentionally awkward guitar solo in "All You Need Is Love".
    • The slightly off sounding "I think I know, I mean, ah yes, but it's all wrong" in "Strawberry Fields Forever".
  • Surreal Music Video: "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am The Walrus". Trope Maker. Most other early music videos were simple films of performances.
  • Troll: John wrote "I Am the Walrus", thrown together from abandoned song ideas and Lewis Carroll scenes, specifically to mess with people who would pore over his lyrics for hidden meanings.
  • Truck Driver's Gear Change: "Penny Lane".
  • Urban Legend: Until the release of The Beatles Anthology it has often been believed that John mutters "I buried Paul" near the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, in reference to the supposed death of Paul McCartney. In reality he just says "cranberry sauce", which can be heard more clearly on the out-takes on side 2 of disc 2 of The Beatles Anthology.
  • Villain Song: "I Am The Walrus", by accident. John Lennon based the title on the Lewis Carroll poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter", but he didn't know at the time that the walrus was the villain. He went on to say that "I Am the Carpenter" wouldn't be as catchy, however.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "I Am The Walrus" was intentionally written to be this, as Lennon got fed up with crazed fans trying to find hidden and far-fetched clues in their music.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle: "Hello, Goodbye".


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Music/MagicalMysteryTour