Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Current Style

by Mal and Neil

At the start of 1967 The Beatles realised that there was no point in giving any more concerts since they'd have to rely upon using old out-of-date material, songs which could be put across with three guitars and drums, and that would not be representative of their current style of writing or composing. The obvious alternative to touring was to produce their own occasional television shows which could be seen all over the world, in countries they had visited for concert tours as well as new countries they'd never got around to.

So the first decision to make television films dates 's 21st birthday. During, Colorado, for Jane's 21st birthday. During, Colorado, for Jane's 21st birthday. During that trip to America Paul thought of building a TV show around a coach tour. In Mal's diary for April 7 he wrote: "Getting quite excited about planning the television film. Idea going at the moment is to make it about some sort of Mystery Tour (Roll Up! Roll Up!). Paul is getting lots of ideas and we're jotting them down as we go."

The same week his diary had an entry reading: "Took charge of Hertz rented car. Drove Paul and Jane up into the Rockies for what I can only describe as a real Magical Mystery Trip."

Flying home to London (Tuesday April 11) Paul worked on the first words for a "Magical Mystery Tour" song. On the plane he borrowed a pad of paper from the stewardess and drew a big circle, dividing it up into sections. The circle represented 60 minutes, the sections were marked off into bits for songs and sketches. When we got home this was the sheet of paper Paul used to describe to the others what he had in mind. There were lots of sections of the circle left blank. The others threw in extra ideas and, one by one, the blank sections were filled until The Beatles decided they had the makings of a 60-minute TV programme.

The Planning:

In The Bag O' Nails discotheque club one night towards the end of April we (Neil and Mal!) were brought into the group's discussions on possible items for the "Coach Show". Basically it was agreed that the plan should be "all-inclusive, non-exclusive". This meant trying to fit into the show something for everyone, as wide a variety as possible.

On April 25 the backing track for the song "Magical Mystery Tour" was recorded. Two nights later voices were added and on May 3 trumpet accompaniment was put on.

Now there was a long delay because the BBC invited The Beatles to take part in a 'live' worldwide television programme for which they would write a special song. The song was "All You Need Is Love," the programme, seen at the end of June, was "Our World." As you know, "All You Need Is Love" became the main side of The Beatles' next single and they put "Baby, You're a Rich Man" on the second side.

So we jump forward to the second half of August to find the next bit of "Magical Mystery Tour" activity--that was after the holiday in Greece and George's trip to California. On Thursday August 24, only a few days before he died, Brian had a long chat with John, Paul, George and Ringo and everybody talked about "things to be done" for the rest of the year. Brian was very enthusiastic about "Magical Mystery Tour" and wanted us to go ahead right away with filming the show.

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