You, me, the music, and me.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

THE BEATLES Magical Mystery Tour

Capitol SMAL-2835 (1967)

This is the only Beatles album I own on vinyl; I think I bought it at a library sale, possibly on the last day when you can fill up a box with as much as you can carry for three dollars. It's in pretty decent shape; it's missing the inner sleeve liner, but there's a 24-page picture book on the inside which is perfectly intact and shows stills from the ill-fated movie of the same name as well as an illustrated story.

Magical Mystery Tour is an album that usually doesn't get mentioned in the same breath as the Beatles' more respected albums (like Revolver and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band), possibly because it's sort of an odds-and-sods collection of music from the film and non-album singles, and possibly because the self-indulgence of the largely plotless movie has relegated it to a place in Beatles history well below A Hard Day's Night and Yellow Submarine. That's a shame, because on a purely musical, song-by-song basis, it's a very strong album, even by Beatle standards. "I Am the Walrus", "Strawberry Fields Forever", "Penny Lane", and "All You Need Is Love", all on the same album? Who could say no to that?

When I think about the Beatles, I marvel at how much they changed over such a short period of time. Think of the four polite-looking young men in suits who were the Beatles in 1962 and compare them with the costumed madmen on the cover of this album and then try to think of another band who altered their image and sound so radically in such a short period of time. It would be like Coldplay suddenly growing their hair long and wearing army fatigues in concert; it's almost impossible to imagine such a thing happening in today's industry-driven music scene.

Writing about this album has suddenly made me want to go out and track down the film (I saw bits of it once while a friend was watching it in another room; I remember him saying, "Pete, promise me you'll never watch this!"), so, against my better judgment, I'm off to the video store. Pray for me.


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