1967: Beatles 'Magical Mystery Tour' Goes Nowhere Fast

By | December 25, 2020

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After a long streak of perfectionism throughout the ‘60s, the whimsical 1967 film Magical Mystery Tour proved The Beatles were capable of mistakes after all. The Fab Four’s earlier films Hard Day’s Night (1964) and Help (1965) were worldwide successes and it seemed The Beatles were just as accomplished on the big screen as they were in music. Unfortunately, this loosely-scripted movie was a complete failure and even their most devoted fans were disappointed the day Magical Mystery Tour aired on December 26, 1967.

Paul McCartney Came Up With The Idea For Magical Mystery Tour

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Magical Mystery Tour was an idea conceived in the mind of Paul McCartney who had recently gifted the world his experimental concepts with the groundbreaking album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). From that moment on, The Beatles had left behind their pop appeal and were fully headed towards a psychedelic direction with new and unique elements. It seemed that any route The Beatles took was accepted by the world with enthusiasm, which gave them the courage to explore new avenues. McCartney was inspired by Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranskters and their bus Furthur and the popularity of coach (bus) trips throughout England, which led to a free-spirited plot based on the same ideas. Since the group was no longer performing live, it made sense to give their fans another movie. McCartney had some thoughts about the script, but that would about it. Ringo Starr stated, “Paul had a great piece of paper – just a blank piece of white paper with a circle on it. The plan was: ‘We start here, and we’ve got to do something here.’”