Though not conceived as an album in its own right, 'Magical Mystery Tour' is almost a companion release to 'Sgt Pepper', albeit not as archaic. 'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane', as well as being two of the greatest songs of all time, typify The Beatles' gift for studio innovation at the height of its powers. John Lennon imbues the absurd 'I Am The Walrus' with darkness and humour, while Paul McCartney touches our surface emotions with the pretty 'Your Mother Should Know' and the timeless ballad, 'The Fool On The Hill'. All of these songs see the band playing with orchestras, string quartets and woodwind sections, resulting in wonderful music being infused with bold colours. 'Hello Goodbye' sticks with a cheery, conversational, upbeat band sound and the stately 'All You Need Is Love' seems to have acquired its own status as a kind of Lord of the Manor of peace and love the songs.
Of the lesser-known tracks, George Harrison's 'Blue Jay Way' is compellingly eerie, set up by the line, 'There's a fog upon L.A.' and the strange effects on Lennon's 'Baby You're A Rich Man' are in keeping with the song's eccentric punchline. The easily-dismissed 'Flying' is a delightful little instrumental with a simple tune which I seem to remember being used by the RAF for a TV commercial showing gliders.
Some people seem to be unsure as to whether it is hip to like all of this album or only the more famous songs. Frankly, I'm not in any doubt and hipness isn't important. This is yet another fantastic Beatles collection for which other recording artists would die to be able to create.