THE BEATLES
Magical Mystery Tour
(Apple Records)

 

1967 came in like a lion and went out like a...dragon. 1967 was also the year The Beatles were truly in their prime, perhaps for the last time. What started off as a spectacular sonic orgy of good vibrations, mind-expanding drugs and peace and love turned into a do or die moment that saw The Fab Four truly begin to grow up and grow apart. Perhaps the turning point of this most incredible episode in the history of western culture was the untimely and totally tragic death of Brian Epstein—the genius British impresario who was the first man on earth to believe just that much in The Beatles. Epstein’s demise on August 27, 1967 was a devastating blow to Beatles founder and guiding light John Lennon, who was never quite the same kind of Beatle again. Perhaps John knew the jig was up and Beatlemania was soon to be just as surreal as it seemed to be on the cover of the May 1967 cover art for Sgt. Pepper’s. Not so for Lennon’s sidekick and Beatles own self-styled A&R genius Paul McCartney who, in the months before his death, was petitioning Epstein about his new concept called Magical Mystery Tour—a 53 minute movie first shown on the BBC in England on Boxing Day (the day after Christmas) 1967. Of course the movie Magical Mystery Tour wasn’t even shown in the U.S. until years later but Americans did get the December 1967 LP release of Magical Mystery Tour which contained the movie’s entire 6 song EP plus all the great Beatles singles from 1967. The movie Magical Mystery Tour has remained one of the unusual episodes of The Beatles and their amazing history. Although released on VHS and on DVD before, the movie never received the proper treatment on DVD, until now. In October 2012, Apple / EMI / Capitol finally reissued the movie and the results are truly spectacular. Everything looks fantastic and the sound, meticulously restored by George Martin’s son Giles Martin, is state of the art. The sound and vision of this 2012 Magical Mystery Tour just leaps right out at you. It’s just fantastic to see John Lennon look so happy with all the actors, especially the now late great Victor Spinetti, who are totally in sync with The Beatles. Musically, as the movie demonstrates, with then new songs like “I Am The Walrus” and “Blue Jay Way”, The Beatles were untouchable as musical visionaries for their time. A totally essential investment for Beatles fans and even those who weren’t even born before 1967, the 2012 DVD remaster of Magical Mystery Tour is filled with some fantastic bonus tracks, and many are totally mind blowing. Little is known about John Lennon being the man behind the explosion and exposure of groups such as Cream and Pink Floyd (just ask Tony Palmer!) but without Lennon, there’s no doubt that we wouldn’t be here today discussing this at all. For one thing, as far as the 2012 MMT remaster goes, besides the spectacular restoration of the original movie itself, there’s a director’s commentary version (of the entire movie again) featuring scene by scene comments by Paul McCartney plus new interviews with Ringo Starr and others, a 20 minute documentary called “The Making Of Magical Mystery Tour”, unseen videos for several tracks here including “Blue Jay Way”, “Hello Goodbye” and “The Fool On The Hill”, plus incredible videos of genius actor and MMT’s very own “Buster Bloodvessel”, Ivor Cutler plus a rare video of the band Traffic (with Dave Mason and Steve Winwood) performing one of their earliest tracks called “Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush”—a video actually commissioned by The Beatles for Magical Mystery Tour but never used in the final film. With fitting 21st century post-production by Ringo and Paul McCartney, 45 years on, this 2012 DVD of Magical Mystery Tour is a trip well worth taking again. www.TheBeatles.com

 

 
   
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