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Archive for the ‘Our World’ Category

walrusdec SOUNDTRACK: THE BEATLES-Magical Mystery Tour (1967).

I have never remmtally thought of Magical Mystery Tour as a real album.  And it turns out I had good reason to feel that way.  It was originally released as a double EP in Britain (with the first six songs).  The rest of the tracks only ever appeared on the American release.  Those five songs were released as singles before this album In Britain and the U.S.), which means that this was the only place you could get these songs unless you bought the singles (eventually they were put out on the “blue album”).

So the first six songs are from the soundtrack to the TV movie Magical Mystery Tour (which was a flop as a film, but a hit as a soundtrack).  And the last five songs were released in different ways.

I’ve always liked “Magical Mystery Tour” it’s bouncy and fun with good harmonies.  I never much cared for “The Fool on the Hill” I tend to not like Paul’s piano ballads that much (they remind me too much of his solo and Wings material), although I do enjoy the way he wails the vocals later in the song.  The slide whistle solo is quite a treat and I also like the bass harmonica (my new favorite weird instrument).

This album also features two songs that I don’t know well at all (and I assumed I knew every Beatles song).  “Flying” is a weird fun little instrumental with “La La Las” at the end I really like it, and if I still made mix tapes I would often find a place for it on them.  And “Blue Jay Way” a song I don’t know at all.  It’s another George Harrison vaguely Indian song, although this one has more guitars than his other songs.  I find I can’t really get into it.  “Your Mother Should Know” is one of those songs that I like but I don’t love and don’t really think about too much.

But then there’s”I am the Walrus (“No you’re not, “said Little Nicola).”  It’s a cliché to really like this song but I really do.  It’s weird and goofy and the music is just fantastic.  I love all the elements (and didn’t realize that the spoken section at the end is King Lear).  I feel like The Beatles must have been huge to make a such a weird song become such a big hit.

And then came a bunch of singles: “Hello Goodbye” which I think hearkens back to the earlier Beatles, songs but which has a bit of the psychedelic elements form later Beatles thrown on top (including Paul’s shouting vocals in the background).

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was intended to be included on Sgt Peppers‘ but they needed a single to release during in the lengthy amount of time it was taking them to record the album (a whole nine months!).  This song holds up really well, with some really interesting chord progressions and mild dissonance.  And the middle of the song is fascinatingly split in the stereo version so that it’s all drums and sound effects in the left ear.  It was released as a double A side with “Penny Lane.”  Although I said I don’t really like Paul’ piano songs, I do like “Penny Lane” quite a lot, I find it very satisfying.

“Baby You’re A Rich Man” was the B-side to “All You Need is Love.” I always felt the song was kind of weird and it turns out that the two parts were two different songs (Lennon: verses; McCartney: chorus) that they just stuck together.  It’s a weird mic of fun sing along rocking chorus and peculiar Eastern melody in the verses.  “All You Need is Love” was first performed on Our World, the first live global television link watched by over 400 million in 25 countries.  The BBC had commissioned the Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom’s contribution.  They apparently wrote a song that was simple enough for it to be universal, and man, were they right.

So, there’s all of these fabulous songs sort of tacked on to the end of this soundtrack.  Beatles releases were sure weird.

Incidentally, the film also used “Death Cab for Cutie” performed by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band in its soundtrack which you can see here.  Obviously, this is where Death Cab for Cutie got their band name, but also, Neil from thee Bonzos was involved in The Rutles, who did such great parodies of Beatles songs.

[READ: January 15, 2015] “The Red Dog”

This was a sad holiday story about an eight year old girl with learning disabilities.  She evidently lives away from her family for most of the year but is allowed to come home for Christmas and the summer vacation.  It’s clear that Katie is a handful.  She tends to lash out easily, but she also seems to be able to control herself as well.

There’s some weird aspects of the story that I didn’t fully understand.  Like the fact that while her family ii shopping they tell her to stay outside because they’re afraid she will damage things in the store.  But her family leaves her outside for at least a half an hour, just standing in front of the store (“don’t move an inch”).  And she behaves, even though it is rather difficult.  But really, they leave her standing outside of a store for over half an hour? (more…)

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