Recording "Magical Mystery Tour" #2

Wednesday, April 26, 1967 • For The Beatles

Part of

Recording the "Magical Mystery Tour" soundtrack

Apr 25 - May 3 and Aug 22 - Nov 17, 1967 • Songs recorded during this session appear on Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Magical Mystery Tour (US LP - Mono) LP.
EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road

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In April of 1967, Paul McCartney spent two weeks vacationing in the United States before boarding a flight back to London on April 12. During the flight, he borrowed a notepad from a stewardess and defined a rough plan for a Beatles television film. Later, on April 25, the Beatles recorded the basic track of the theme song for their upcoming project “Magical Mystery Tour.” The writing of the song was still unfinished at this point.

On this day, The Beatles worked from 7 pm to 2 am to overdub several instruments onto Take 8. Paul contributed a bass part, while some unknown Beatles along with Mal Evans and Neil Aspinall played percussion instruments such as maracas, cowbell, tambourine, and snare drum. Then, Paul, John Lennon, and George Harrison added the “Roll up, roll up for the mystery tour!” backing vocals.

The next night Paul showed up with a casting book that he had gotten from a film agency and everyone gathered around, excitedly picking the actors they wanted for the character roles. They were mostly choosing people they recognized from TY, plays, and films; basically, they were looking for familiar faces. Everyone had great fun going through the book, shouting out as they flipped through the pages, “Look at him! Look at her!” They were particularly amused by the photos of the fat lady who ended up playing Ringo’s Aunt Jessie: “She’s four times the size of you, Ring!” Lennon chortled with glee. One of the odder people they selected — mostly at John’s urging — was someone I knew slightly: Ivor Cutler, a member of the Massed Alberts. He was a poet, a petite man dressed all in black who played a laptop harmonium, accompanying himself as he half sang, half-recited his silly little couplets. Plain and simple, the guy was nuts… so, naturally, he was chosen.

Geoff Emerick – From “Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles“, 2006

Paul asked Mal if he’d managed to get any real mystery tour posters. Mal said he had been round the bus stations all day looking for them. But he couldn’t find any. They had hoped that some real posters would have given them some ideas for the words of the song. Instead they all tried again to think of some good words, apart from Roll Up, Roll Up, which was still all they’d got. As they shouted out ideas, Mal wrote them all down. ‘Reservation’, ‘Invitation’, ‘Trip of a lifetime’, ‘Satisfaction guaranteed’. But they soon got fed up. They decided they would just sing any words that came into their heads, just to see what happened. So they did. When they’d finished that, Paul decided that on the next track he would add a bit of bass to the backing. He put on the headphones, so that he could hear what they’d done so far, and strapped on his bass guitar. After that he said they should add even more instruments. All of them, Paul, Ringo, John, George, Neil and Mal, then picked up any old instruments that were lying around – maraccas, bells, tambourines. George Martin didn’t play anything, though he has done on many of their records. They all put on headphones and banged and played them to the music. By two o’clock, they had recorded a basic backing, and had layered onto it a bass track, a lot of shouting and disjointed

From “The Beatles – The Only Ever Authorised Biography” by Hunter Davies, 1969

To create some space for further overdubs on the following day and on May 3, a reduction mix was made to free up two more tracks.

Last updated on April 16, 2023

Songs recorded


Magical Mystery Tour

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • SI onto take 8


Magical Mystery Tour

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Tape copying • Tape reduction take 8 into take 9



Paul McCartney:
Backing vocals, Bass
Ringo Starr:
Percussion ?
John Lennon:
Backing vocals, Percussion ?
George Harrison:
Backing vocals, Percussion ?
Mal Evans:
Neil Aspinall:

Production staff

George Martin:
Geoff Emerick:
Richard Lush:
Second Engineer

Going further

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

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The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)

The third book of this critically - acclaimed series, nominated for the 2019 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) award for Excellence In Historical Recorded Sound, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 3: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band through Magical Mystery Tour (late 1966-1967)" captures the band's most innovative era in its entirety. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.

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If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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