Five Reasons To Watch The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

The BeatlesMagical Mystery Tour is finally seeing the light of day, having been hidden away for many years in shame like Harry Potter under The Dursley‘s under-stairs cupboard.

Cynics might suggest there’s a very good reason for that: i.e. it isn’t very good. I haven’t yet seen it, so will keep an open mind (it’s The Beatles! How bad can it be?!). But the new DVD promises a commentary by Sir Paul McCartney and a look at some out-takes. I’m not really seeing a downside here…

Filmed in the chaotic aftermath of Brian Epstein’s death during September and October 1967 and first screened on Boxing Day, December 26th 1967, it was blasted by critics, yet contains some of The Beatles’ best songs.

Whilst I will have to wait for the release of the DVD on 8 October, I do own a copy of the original EP, which is a lovely object.

Consisting of two 7″ records in a gatefold sleeve with a 24 page booklet that contains photos from the film, a storyboard / comic strip of the film and all the lyrics, it is one of the most satisfying Beatles collectibles – and not too expensive either (I picked mine up for £5, with just the lyric sheet missing).

In the USA Capitol had doubts over the unusual format, so added Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields and a couple of other tracks and (for once) actually made an album that from a musical perspective eclipsed the British release.

So here are Five Reasons Why You Should Watch The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour:

  1. The Daily Mail hated it upon release. They called it “a colossal conceit”. They also once believed Britain should appease Hitler. As a general rule anything The Daily Mail dislikes must therefore have merit.
  2. It remains the only time John Lennon sang I Am The Walrus on film. “If we had to justify it, I think I Am The Walrus alone makes it” said Paul.
  3. It can now be seen as an influence in many forms of pop culture: It was a road movie released two years before Easy Rider.
  4. It was also the vehicle for a number of prototype rock videos, some of which (Fool on The Hill) could be shown on MTV even now and look freshly made – evidence for the claim that The Beatles invented the pop video as an art form. That, or evidence how bad music videos are now.
  5. The songs: I Am The Walrus, Fool On The Hill, Magical Mystery Tour amongst others – some of The Beatles’ best work is here. And so is Your Mother Should Know too. But never mind.

Have you seen the film? Let me know your thoughts if you have…

Record #87: The Beatles – I Am The Walrus (but here’s the Oasis version)

Coming soon: Ten things you didn’t know about The Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour is being released on DVD on the 8th October 2012


10 responses to “Five Reasons To Watch The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour”

  1. Mister STAP Avatar

    I would add #6 the performance of the song Death Cab for Cutie by the Bonzo Dog Band. Hmmm … that would make an interesting name for a band.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Hmmm – I think Bonzo Dog Band is a dumb name….


  2. Jason Wendleton Avatar

    Not sure you’d be writing this post if you’d have actually seen it. I’m a HUGE Beatles fan (they’re my all-time favorite band) and while I had somewhat fond memories of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, I recently tried to re-watch it…and I ended up shutting it off.

    Probably didn’t help that the DVD transfer was HORRENDOUS, but still.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Oh dear. At least my hopes aren’t high. I’m still going to get the DVD. I have a wonky table at home, so at worst it can fix that problem…


  3. purplemary54 Avatar

    I haven’t seen it, but I think I’ll be buying the DVD come October (or putting it on my Christmas list).

    I’m just jealous you have the EP. That is so totally and completely awesome.


  4. Eye Tea Avatar

    It’s not that hot and although I bought Apple’s 90’s ‘restored’ VHS, there’s no doubt, from the trailer, that this is a vastly superior restoration. It will be interesting to see outtakes and hear McCartney’s commentary but, really, MMT is of note only for what it presages, being a prototype for Monty Python’s Flying Circus and for the music video. If it was true that the most nterewsting stuff was left on the cutting room floor, then perhaps the extras will show this but, in general, it’s not much of a wheeze in itself, even if the component items arte great. I still support others’ praising of it as an influence. It does attempt to take ‘new wave’ cinema ideas to the mainstream but, sadly, was one instance where The Beatles fell flat.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Yes – I think I will have to see it as the experimental film that it was rather than expecting it to be a brilliant hour’s entertainment…


  5. […] a previous post I gave Five Reasons Why We Should Watch The Magical Mystery Tour. I missed out “idle […]


  6. stephen1001 Avatar

    Great post (and Harry Potter simile!) – haven’t seen it yet either, I’ll be going in with managed expectations as well. The D6 chord at the beginning of Fool on The Hill is one of my all-time favourite intros – so at least the film can’t be completely unredeemable!


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