- UK release date:
- Jan 09, 1970
- US release date:
- Feb 16, 1970
- Apple Records
- SAPCOR 12 (UK) / ST-3364 (US)
More from year 1970
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Written by Paul McCartney
3:42 • Studio version • Stereo
2:39 • Studio version • Stereo
2:24 • Studio version • Stereo
2:46 • Studio version • Stereo
Beautiful and Blue
2:40 • Studio version • Stereo
I'm in Love
2:26 • Studio version • Stereo
Walk Out in the Rain
3:27 • Studio version • Stereo
2:28 • Studio version • Stereo
Knocking Down Our Home
3:40 • Studio version • Stereo
Give It a Try
2:31 • Studio version • Stereo
2:51 • Studio version • Stereo
Magic Christian Music is the debut studio album by the British rock band Badfinger, released in early 1970 on Apple Records. The band had previously released the album Maybe Tomorrow, in 1969, under the name The Iveys. Three tracks from the LP are featured in the film The Magic Christian, which also gives the album its title. However, Magic Christian Music is not an official soundtrack album for the film.
The film soundtrack for The Magic Christian featured three new songs by Badfinger that had been commissioned for the film, including their US/UK top-10 hit “Come and Get It“‘, which opened the film, and “Carry on Till Tomorrow”, the title theme. The soundtrack album, which also included incidental music by Ken Thorne, had originally been scheduled for release on Apple Records, but the addition of the Thunderclap Newman song “Something in the Air” to the movie prevented that. Instead, the soundtrack album was released on the little-known Commonwealth United Records label in the US and on Pye in the UK. As a result, it received little promotion in the US and remained mostly unknown to American record buyers.
To capitalize on this gap, Apple Records released its own “pseudo-soundtrack”. Apple combined the film’s three Badfinger songs with four unreleased songs and seven older tracks (released by the group when they were still known as the Iveys) on the album Maybe Tomorrow, which had been quickly pulled off the market in 1969 after having only been released in Germany, Japan and Italy. The previously released Iveys songs were specially re-mixed for this album, significantly improving their sound quality in the process. One of them, “Fisherman”, was also edited for this release.
The three Badfinger tracks used in the film — “Come and Get It”, “Rock of All Ages” and “Carry on Till Tomorrow”—bear the strongest “Beatle connection”. They were produced by Paul McCartney (the first was also composed by McCartney), and the strings on “Carry on Till Tomorrow” were arranged and conducted by Beatles producer George Martin. The other tracks on the album were produced by Tony Visconti (six songs, including both Iveys singles and the last recording made, “Crimson Ship”) and Mal Evans (five songs).
Badfinger’s line-up on these tracks includes bassist/vocalist Ron Griffiths, but Evans doubled on bass on “Midnight Sun”, “Crimson Ship” and “Rock of All Ages” after Griffiths fell ill during the sessions. Griffiths departed The Iveys at the end of the McCartney sessions in late 1969, prior to the name change from The Iveys to Badfinger, which led to his exclusion from the credits and pictures on the album (although Griffiths does appear on the picture sleeve for “Come and Get It”). Guitarist Joey Molland was eventually added as Griffiths’ replacement, causing Tom Evans to move from guitar to bass, but Molland’s addition came after the album art had been prepared, so only Pete Ham, Tom Evans and Mike Gibbins are pictured on the cover.
The album peaked at number 55 on the US charts.
“Magic Christian Music by Badfinger” was rush-released to tie-in with the release of the Peter Sellers/Ringo Starr film, “The Magic Christian”. To make matters worse, at the same time, The Iveys were transforming into Badfinger with Ron Griffiths departing while promotion for the Paul McCartney penned single “Come And Get It” was being distributed to the press.
For the album’s release, new member Joey Molland from Liverpool is only mentioned by name on the back sleeve of the album, and credited with playing guitar even though he hadn’t played on any of the recordings contained on the album. There was no time for his photo to be taken for the back of the album sleeve. As a result, most of the album’s promotion was done with three members pictured. The photos of Pete, Tom & Mike for the back of the album sleeve were taken on November 10, 1969. The first photos as the new band line-up (Badfinger) were taken on December 16, 1969 – too late for the album’s release.
Because of the rush job, the album’s credits are lacking details and contain errors in the production credits. The three soundtrack songs have no production credits and neither does “Crimson Ship”. This is due to the fact that McCartney didn’t want to be credited. The 1991 CD reissue doesn’t do much better. It correctly credits “Come And Get It as produced & arranged by Paul McCartney” but incorrectly credits Tony Visconti as producing & arranging both “Crimson Ship” and “Rock Of All Ages”. Tony departed in the middle of December, 1968 as The Iveys’ producer. Paul McCartney produced all three of the soundtrack songs at the request of the film company, Commonwealth United, plus “Crimson Ship” with leftover studio time that was remaining after his obligations were met for the film’s soundtrack.
Mal Evans produced the rest of the new recordings for the album (“Midnight Sun”, “Walk Out In The Rain”). Mal was also involved in rearranging and remixing some of the older tracks from The Iveys album, although it appears Paul was also involved since one page of his remixing notes have become available with his drawing of a Badfinger logo. “Fisherman” had its sound effects removed, and the final chorus cut. The other major change made was to re-record the vocals for “I’m In Love”, thereby removing the Ron Griffiths response voices that according to Tom Evans, was criticized by McCartney while observing an Iveys session in 1968. The other Iveys tracks were given fresh stereo remixes to improve their sound (“Dear Angie”, “Beautiful And Blue”, “Angelique”, “Knocking Down Our Home”, and “Maybe Tomorrow”), with Angelique losing its horn flourishes in the remixing process.
background information from Dan Matovina’s Badfinger biography, “Without You-The Tragic Story Of Badfinger” and the 1991 CD reissue of “Magic Christian Music” on Apple.
Last updated on January 7, 2022