Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles follow up to the "Sgt. Pepper" project and also the name of their self-directed television special. The music was delivered in two separate formats: In the UK, "Magical Mystery Tour" was issued as a double EP set by Parlophone in mono (MMT-1) and in stereo (SMMT-1). The UK release was issued on December 08 1967.

In North America, however, the EP format was still a very foreign concept so the music was issued on one side of an LP with the previously released singles: "Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane", "All You Need Is Love/Baby, You're A Rich Man" as well as "Hello Goodbey" issued on side two of an LP. The LP was released in mono on Capitol MAL-2835 and released in stereo on Capitol SMAL-2835. Well, sorta stereo...since "All You Need Is Love", "Baby, You're A Rich Man" and "Penny Lane" were not available in stereo Capitol Records in it's infinite wisdom decided not to wait for stereo mixes and released the original vinyl with what they called "duophonic' mixes meaning that the high end of the song filled one speaker while the low end of the song filled the other speaker. Side two of "Magical Mystery Tour" on the original North American vinyl had the worst sound of any Beatles album. I'm amazed that Capitol did not even bother to ask for proper stereo mixes.

The EP and the LP both contained a 24 page booklet. The booklet was edited by Tony Barrow with assistance from Neil Aspinal and Mal Evans. The photography was taken by John Kelley and the cartoon drawings were drawn by Bob Gibson.

On November 19 1976, Parlophone/EMI finally disposed of the EP format for "Magical Mystery Tour" and the LP similar to the North American issue was released as Parlophone PCTC 255. When the Beatles compact discs were released in 1987, the North American format with the singles as well as the film music was released. For the September 2009 remasters, the label on the compact disc retained the same look at the 1960s Capitol records label of the time. The lyrics for the film music was available on the inside cover of the LP.

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