Magical Mystery Tour - The Beatles

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"Magical Mystery Tour" - The Beatles (1967)

In 1972 Lennon said of "Magical Mystery Tour":

“Paul wrote it. I helped with some of the lyrics.”

Eight years later, in a desire to distance himself from it- it became:

“Paul’s song. Maybe I did part of it, but it was his concept.”

McCartney’s memory is that it was co-written by both of them.

He commented:

“It was in the ‘fairground period’ and the great inspiration being the ‘barker’ ‘Roll up! Roll Up! The promise of something….you’ll find that pervades a lot of my songs. If you look at all the Lennon/McCartney things, it’s a thing we do a lot.”

The carnival barker shouts: “Roll up! Roll up!” was used as an invitation to people in the streets to come and see a show, circus or one’s goods or articles that are being sold.

Beatle scholar Alan Pollack wrote:

“The original backing track has an almost acoustic, folk-rock sound to it created by those energetically strummed rhythm guitar chords on the downbeats of each verse measure. This stands in strange contrast to the pomposo trumpets of the refrains, and the cocktail lounge feeling given to the instrumental bridge and the outro. The vocals are primarily in a block three-part harmony that was recorded slow in order to sound high, fast, and strident on playback, an effect that mixes nicely with the trumpets.”

The song reworks the audience-grabbing techniques parlayed in Sgt. Pepper such as the modulation on “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and the bass harmonicas from “Fool on the Hill.” Within the track The Beatles’ peers- their listeners- are invited to escape into a world of fantasy with their favorite rock band and where everyone will surely be satisfied.

Says Pollack:

“The relative sparseness of the raw materials used in this track provide a subtle clarity to the music that allows a novel harmonic trick in the key structure, which otherwise might be lost in the background, to stay right in your face where it belongs. Rhythmic motifs and shifts of tempo are also used on this track toward formally articulative ends, something you don’t find much in the work of the Beatles, at least to this point of their career.”

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