Magical Mystery Tour
is perhaps the Beatles' weirdest album. Notably, it was the soundtrack to their first flop of an album. Interestingly, whereas the soundtracks to their first two films were released in the U.S. with the film's score, but simply with other Beatle tracks in the U.K.; Magical Mystery Tour
was released in the U.S. with non-album Beatle tracks padding it out to album length, and in the U.K. it was just a 6-song E.P. with only the songs from the movie. To make matters more unusual, the American version was released on CD, making it the only U.S.-only album to bear that distinction until the recent boxed sets of the U.S.-only records.
It has a darker tone than Pepper
, but isn't really "better." In fact, with the exception of "I Am The Walrus," only the non-film songs come close to matching the Sarge in terms of brilliance.Album CoverThe Walrus
"The walrus is one of the big enigmas of the Paul is Dead conspiracy. The big question is 'Is the walrus John or Paul?' Many people have speculated that Paul is was walrus, undoubtedly because John seems to confirm this in the song 'Glass Onion'. However, if you watch the movie Magical Mystery Tour you'll notice that the black walrus is sat behind the piano playing which would ultimately suggest that it's John who's the walrus. Add to this the title of the Lennon track 'I Am the Walrus'. But which animal is Paul? Again, looking at the movie we can see that it's the hippo who's playing the bass guitar (see picture). Does the hippo character have anything worth noting? Well, only the gaping hole in its chest. Is this showing that Paul has no heart and soul?"
Paul (of course, it could be anybody, but since he's playing Paul's Rickenbacker bass (which replaced the Hoffner as his signature in their "psychedelic" period) is wearing a hippo mask here. On the album cover, though, it's unlikely that John is the Walrus, because whoever's wearing the bird outfit is wearing his signature round glasses. Meanawhile, their features are too small and obscured to see well. It could be another Beatle, or just some guy. Could some unknown person have died? Um, people die every day.The Sunrise
"Again, like the front cover of Oldies but Goldies, the front cover seems to be depicting an early morning sunrise complete with starry background. We have to wonder why this time of day is continually referred to or shown."
No we don't. A lot of Beatle imagery happens in broad daylight. Or night time. Nobody questions that. Also, sunrises and sunsets look great.The Phone Number
"If the front cover is held upside down the word BEATLES turns into seven digits. Could these digits (5371438) be a phone number? According to one story if this phone number was called in America at 5am on a Wednesday morning (the supposed time of Paul's dead) you'd get the message "You're getting closer." before the line went dead. However, if this phone number was called in London it was said that the caller would get one of three responses. Either you would have gotten through to a funeral parlour, an angry resident who was getting tired of all these calls waking him at 5am every Wednesday morning, or someone who claimed to be Billy Shears. Apparently if you got through to Billy he would quiz you on Beatle trivia before promising to send you tickets to 'Pepperland'. It was reported in a Washingtong CD Underground newspaper that three students from Michigan got through to Billy Shears and actually received such tickets. The envelopes received had the initials A.D.N. on them in inside there was a stamp that the receiver was instructed to lick. Apparently these stamps were laced with LSD and after licking it one student fell out of a window to his death. The second student claimed to have already visited Pepperland in the Carribbean Sea and was planning to return on the then upcoming November 27th. The third student however, when questioned, just laughed."
You have to be on acid to think that the Beatles' name would look like a phone number upside down here more than any other time. Plus, whoever "discovered" this clue wants us to go to the trouble of moving the top of the T so that it becomes the hyphen in the phone number. Screw that. If you're gonna find death clues, make them user-friendly.LOOK?
"Like the front cover of Sgt. Peppers, part of the album title is straight whilst the rest is curved (remember the bass drum). If the middle part was mirrored then we got a hidden message, so using the same logic could a hidden message be hidden in the same way on the Magical Mystery Tour front cover? If the word 'TOUR' is mirrored down the middle so that the bottom half is being doubled we get the word LOOK. Could this be telling us to 'look' for clues?"
It could be telling us to "look" for anything. Also, take the two Os for a second. What do they look like? John's glasses. Eliminate them. What does it say? "Lennon killed." Think about it.MOST?
"If you start from the first letter M in the song title 'Magical Mystery Tour' and move in an anticlockwise direction in a circle the word MOST is spelled out. Could this be telling us that 'most' of the clues can be found within the Magical Mystery Tour LP?"
Here he goes making a positive look like a negative. "Most" means everything's MOSTly fine. Paul got in a moped accident. He chipped his teeth and got a scar on his lip. But other than that, he was MOSTly fine.RIP?
"The back cover is a very psychedelic mirror-ball like photo of the last scene of the Magical Mystery Tour movie. It seems to be a random pattern, but if the cover is turned 90 degrees clockwise the white figures seem to be spelling out the letters RIP. But who is 'Resting in Peace'?"
Again, anybody could be dead. Why single Paul out?Five Members
"Look closely at the back cover and you see this. Why are there 5 people here instead of four? They all look different so it can't be one member being shown twice, so we need to ask who the new band member is. Is this showing William Campbell, the person who supposedly replaced Paul, as the fifth Beatle?"
If Paul's dead, how can there be five? Plus, in the olden days, they had five members: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Stuart Sutcliffe and Pete Best. Plus, Brian Epstien, George Martin, Billy Preston, Klaus Voorman, Mal Evans, and even Yoko Ono have all been nicknamed "the fifth Beatle."The Headless Man
"Also if you look closely you'll see this grizzly image. Amongst one group of people this image of a decapitated man can be seen. Now, it may just be a mirror effect, but why is the cut between the shoulders and the neck so clean? The rest of the mirrored images all have a fade effect. Is this possibly referring to McCartney getting decapitated in the fatal car accident?"
Who's that lady in the foreground. Maybe whoever's head got cut off gave it to her. Ha ha, y'know what I'm sayin', G?The Drawing
"There is just one drawing of the group within the gatefold but it contains a number of clues. Firstly, Paul is the only member whose face is being covered by his hat. This seems to be trying to hide Paul's bruised, red nose. Could this highlighting the 'covering up' of the conspiracy? Perhaps it may be referring to the 'covering up' of William Campbell to make him look more like Paul McCartney. This possibility is supported by his bruised nose - highlighting the bruising that occurs after plastic surgery? Paul also is the only member to have pure black flowers on his hat and is the only member to have his eyes closed."
No. Paul doesn't get along with illustrators. Paul mocked Stu Sutcliffe for his inability to play. Klaus Voorman--an artist whom they met through Stu in Hamburg and who designed the cover to Revolver
--learned to play bass and toward the end, there were rumors that Paul was simply going to leave and he was going to replace him. After breaking up with Paul, Jane Asher married an illustrator. And finally, Michael Jackson (him again) drew images within the Thriller
sleeve of him and Paul fighting over a girl which would prefigure their real life bout over Michael not giving Paul special treatment with the song catalogue.
What's with this battle between Paul and illustrators? Photography. Stu's girlfriend was a photog. Maybe Paul had the hots for her, but took it out on Stu. His first wife, Linda, was a photographer. His second wife, Heather, was a model. His brother Michael McCartney was also a photog. Photographers have made the job of illustrators easier, but have also posed serious competition. That's why they hate Paul: they fear his photog friends.No You're Not!
"Underneath the song title 'I Am The Walrus' the text '"No you're not!' said Little Nicola' has been printed. Is this again trying to get people thinking that Paul is the walrus? But why?"
Kids. Bah! They think they know everything!
Now: onto the booklet...
Page 3The Flags
"Behind Paul you can see two crossed flags. This flag formation is typically seen at military funerals. Could this have any relevance to the man in front of them dressed in full military uniform?"
Yes. It has a lot of relevance. It was their first major flop. Their reputation as this infallible band was dead.The Sign
"In front of Paul there's a sign that reads 'I you WAS', or 'I WAS you'. What could this mean? Perhaps it could be implying that Paul was once one of us, a mere fan. If the sign is looked at upside down though it seems to be giving us the letters S.M.I. Could this stand for Severe McCartney Injuries?"
The "I Was" interpretation is obvious: this film was so bad that until the "Lady Madonna" single a few months later, Paul was a has been because this movie--mostly his idea--was so bad.
As for the "S.M.I. (Service McCartney's Injuries)" interpretation, if they serviced his injuries, he must be okay. Again, why turn a positive into a negative.The Desk
"I've been told in the past that the desk Paul is sitting at has been det up for a right-handed man. If that is the case then why was this done for a leftie? Perhaps the guy sitting at the desk isn't..."
It's a showbiz prop. Paul is playing a character. Also, I believe I've read a few places that Paul plays guitar left handed, but is ambidextrous. In fact, in the early days of the Beatles, when Stu Sutcliffe didn't show up for a gig or something, he'd have to play right handed.The Scar
"This was one of the first times where you could see the scar on McCartney's top lip. This scar appeared at the end of 1966 and was allegedly caused by the plastic surgery William Campbell underwent during the transformation."
The moped accident is the real world explanation, and I have to stoop to it since I can't think of a funny one.The Hat
"Why is Paul's hat crushed? Could this be a symbol representing Paul's head injuries in the crash?"
Actually, I think George probably crushed it being upset with Paul that as an instrument, the guitar was pushed into the background so much. George was not as strong as a keyboardist as the others (including Ringo) and probably thought that since Paul seemed to be calling the shots, he should kick it in.The Wand
"Paul is left handed, so why is he shown here with the wand in his right hand? I'm a leftie myself and I can vouch from experience that it doesn't feel natural to pick something up with the right hand - I always pick things up with my left."
Again, I think he's ambidextrous. The left hand is natural for some things, the right is natural for others. I actually had a friend who was left handed, except he played guitar the right hand way.Paul's Nose
"Like the drawing in the gatefold of the album cover, Paul's nose is red and bruised. Could this again be referring to the bruising that's caued by plastic surgery? Perhaps William Campbell was still recovering from surgery when this photo was taken?"
It symbolizes his friendship with Michael Jackson, whose nose has been through much more and much worse.
And might I say, if this IS Billie Gene Campbell, why is his nose taking so long to heal?The Men In White
"Behind the group there's a line of men dressed in white smocks and headcaps. These people look a lot like doctors or surgeons. Could they be representing the surgeons who tried to save Paul's life? Perhaps they're the surgeons who operated on William Campbell?"
Geeze, if they were wearing black, you'd say it was a funeral. If they were wearing blue, you'd say they were cops. If they were wearing red or yellow, you'd say they were fire fighters. And if they were wearing green, you'd say they were ninja turtles.The Policemen
"On the structure behind the group there are four policemen standing in a line. Could this be referring to the police who arrived at the scene and surrounded the crash site?"
Look at the cops. This isn't some reverent picture of four heroic policemen. They're making fun of cops. Now, listen to the song: the beat, the less-melodic quality in John's voice, the strings toward the end... this song prefigures rap. It's not rap, but it isn't hard to see how it would be influential on that kind of music in the '90s. Making fun of policemen, ergo, prefigures the "gangsta" stuff of '90s rap.The Bass Drum
"Another bass drum, another clue! If you look closely at the bass drum skin on the kit that Ringo's playing on it seems to be giving us the message 'Love the 3 Beatles'. Once again we're given the number 3 in retrospect to the Beatles. Why is this a reoccurance?"
The question is, why do these clues on bass drums have anything to do with Paul? Ringo's the drummer! Maybe they're clues that Ringo died.
Page 6The Board
"Behind John at the top you can see a board that says "The best way to go is by M&D Co'. Apparently 'M&D Co' is the name of a funeral parlour in London - a subtle message of thanks to the people who conducted Pauls funeral? One other thing worth mentioning (not strictly a PiD clue but is still eerie nonetheless) is that MDC are the exact initials of the person who assassinated John in 1980 - Mark David Chapman."
Okay, so it's more of a "John is dead" clue. Remember, they don't have to correspond with events that happened before the photo was taken or the song was recorded.The Departure Time
"Behind John above the MDC sign there's a timeboard that tells of a particular buses timetable. If you look at this board you can see that the depature time of '8.34' is visible whereas the arrival time is blank. Paul departed that night but never arrived."
If that was the time he left, it took him an awful long time to get home.
Page 7Ringo's Message
"In the first frame of the page Aunt Jessie is holding Ringo by his feet and is saying "You've gone too far." Could this be Ringo telling that we've come too far because the most blatant clue is earlier on in the book?"
The dialogue balloon seems to be coming from him. His nose is too long, so he's talking to his nose.Ringo's Silenced
"In the very next frame we're shown Ringo again, but this time his speech bubble is blank. After what he said before, perhaps Ringo has been silenced for telling us too much?"
Maybe they killed him. Maybe he's dead. After all, silence is death. So why is there all this singling Paul out, once again?No Shoes
"In frame three there is a drawing of Paul wearing no shoes."
Or maybe those are his arms and he's not wearing any gloves. You can't tell, it's not a great drawing.The L Plate
"Directly underneath this image of Paul wearing no shoes we can see an 'L plate'. In the UK, these L plates are put on the cars of learner drivers so that other drivers are aware that they are only learning. Could this Paul therefore be a learner?"
If he's learning to drive, then that is a positive thing. He's looking forward to something. And plus, the "L" could stand for "live." And by the way, I really wish we had those here in America. I'm not one of those, "oh they got it right in the other country, but here we're stuck in the stone age" guys, but I do like that, now that you mention it.
"The Departure Time"
"Also in the third frame you see this unusual image. It's of a group singing the line 'Good Morning' (remember the song 'Good Morning, Good Morning) on the Sgt. Pepper LP?), but there's five members. Who is the fifth? Perhaps the fifth was a replacement for the member sporting angel wings?"
It's the Rolling Stones. They had five members, and they'd covered the Beatles before with "I Wanna Be Your Man." And one of them (Brian Jones) did die.The Driver
"In the last frame of the page we're shown the face of a guilt-ridden man thinking "I was the driver." Could this be symbolising the possible guilt of the driver of the yellow lorry driver whom Paul smashed his car into?"
No. Because, look: there's Superman. Whatever danger this guy's in, Superman saved him. Just like Paul might have been about to hit something, but he was saved by that.
Besides, Superman would become a symbol of rebirth in the '90s not only because of the tribulations of Christopher Reeve, but also in the comics. He died, four guys came about to say they were Superman, the real Superman returned with long hair. Think about that when you're on these PiD things.
Page 8The Skull
"Page 8 is the only page to show us something not seen in the film."
Hold the phone. There were no drawings or animations in the film. You're wrong.
"Here we see the cast and crew taking part in a big dinner. If this photo is turned 90 degrees clockwise the image of a skull appears. Why the image of death?"
This was 1967. Ten years later, the punk thing would start. They were, once again, ahead of their time.The Cracked Head
"In the second frame of this page we see Paul standing next to the song title 'Fool on the Hill'. However, the tail of the second L extends down and splits Paul's head in half. A symbolism of the head injuries that Paul sustained in the car crash? It could be why he has his eyes closed..."
He's thinking about John. Maybe he considers John foolish.The Head
"In the third frame we see the decapitated head of a very pale and dead looking Paul. His hand also looks like it has broken fingers. Could these be referring to the broken fingers and decapitation in the story?"
I'll admit it's PiD, but for a different reason: he's trapped in the panel, like he was trapped in his car.The Bruised Nose
"In the fifth frame Paul has a bruised, red nose. Could this symbolising the facial bruising that plastic surgery causes?"
Again, Paul would later become Michael Jackson's friend, so he probably had some work done.The Location
"The text underneath the fifth frame contains the line "Ten miles north of the Dewsbury Road". This location is mentioned several times in the film but its importance is never disclosed. Could this possibly be where the car crash happened?"
I don't know. You live in Britain, do you know where this Dewsbury Road is?
Page 10Page 10
"Paul is the only member who is not showing his teeth. If you look at the expressions of the other members it's almost like they're trying to show their teeth while Paul is making a conscious effort not to. Could this be symbolising Paul getting his teeth knocked out in the accident?"
Ah, he's just showing off. Trying to shed his pretty boy image.No Shoes
I dunno, looks like he's wearing something.
Page 11The Bottles
"In the fourth frame, just to the right of the chef with the bulbous nose there are four beer bottles. However, one of these bottles has the word 'Empty' written on the label. A representative of the four Beatles perhaps, and showing that one member is 'empty'?"
Yeah, but again, why single Paul out? Maybe it's George, Ringo or John.
Pages 12-13The Shoes
"Paul is once again shown not wearing any shoes. However, this time we're treated to the sight of his footwear, just to the left of Ringo's bassdrum. Look closely, the shoes are smeared with blood. EMI have argued that this was merely a printing error, but if that was the case then why did the same error appear in every single booklet printed before it was discontinued? Why do McCartney's shoes have a bloodstain on them?"
He was probably painting the drum for Ringo.
Page 14A Hand Over the Head?
"In the past we've seen flags in the background that have been apparently positioned as to appear directly over McCartney's head - incinuating some kind of link. Because Paul is also well known for hands being held over his head it seemed likely that such a thing would also be on the wall behind him. Could this be one such instance? On page 14, behind Paul, there's a "Britons, We Need You!" WW2 enrolement poster. What's interesting about it is that it's famous for the picture of the soldier holding out his hand - something that in this picture has been positioned to be held directly over McCartney's head."
Why would the British army want someone if they're dead?
Page 15The Enticement
"In the third frame there is the image of a guard with a fishing line and paper money attached to the hook. In front of this is a sign that says 'JOIN'. Could this be an enticement? Is this how they managed to get William Campbell to join the group, by dangling a huge sum of money in front of him?"
I don't think someone in the sixties would need a big enticement to join the Beatles.The Flags
"In the fourth frame we see McCartney sat at his desk. Again, he is shown with crossed flags behind him - a flag formation used at military funerals. Perhaps this is why, again, he's shown with his eyes closed."
At this point, it tells me he's just so happy about all the attention he's getting.Another Hand Over the Head?
"On the previous page we're shown an apparent hand being held over Paul's head. On the next page this same scene is re-enacted and once again the poster is directly over McCartney's head, again showing the outstretched hand being held above him. What's interesting about this is that on page 14 the poster was shown to the right of the flag formation yet here it's shown in exactly the same place. It's almost like the posters position was intentionally moved to keep the hand being shown held above his head."
Look at the mustache and hat on the face next to the hand. It's a chef. Maybe he specializes in meat dishes and wants to smack Paul for becoming a vegetarian.The Car
"In the same picture of Paul we see him playing with a toy car. A symbol of the car crash?"
I'll go you one better: maybe it's a Transformer. It's supposed to symbolize his transformation.The Soldiers
"In front of Paul there are three toy soldiers standing on the desk but there is an obvious gap though for a fourth. So what could this mean? Well, if we go back to the Sgt. Pepper cover you'll notice that the Beatles are lined up as Ringo, John, Paul and George. Match this up with the 3 soldiers here and the one representing McCartney is missing. Where is McCartney, and why is Paul driving his toy car right over where he should be?"
Nah. It simply means that Paul wants the other Beatles to look at him as an authority. Rather, that an illustrator picked up on it and is mocking him as this lazy, egotistical, immature soldier whom a chef--perhaps symbolizing the plight of the people--should smack.
John and George are green here. Could they be from Mars?
Page 18Trying to Hint?
"In the bottom half of the page we see a kind of procession. If you look at Paul you'll notice that there are quite a few things that have been highlighted before being shown once again, as if to secure their meaning. Firstly, we see that Pauls hat is crushed and sports black flowers. His nose is also bruised like what happens to the face after plastic surgery, and finally he is shown, once again, with an open palm above his head. They really tried to make a point here, didn't they!"
All it shows is how the other Beatles were mad at him and got a sympathetic fine arts photographer to humiliate him.The Cars
Yeah, but it's George. Maybe he got hit by this alleged car.
What is Ringo getting a lobotomy or something?
Page 23The Black Carnation
"This is an image of the final scene in the film. While John, George and Ringo are all wearing red carnation Paul's is black. Paul said later in an interview that backstage was a box of carnations and one of them just happened to be black. Black carnations are very rare, extremely unlikely (bordering impossible) that one would just show up in a box. Why the association with black?"
Again, Paul was the one who was most a fan of black artists. His high profile duets and collaborations were more likely to be with black artists. In 2006, he performed a version of "Yesterday" with rapper JayZ. He had three hits on the r&b charts which were duets with black vocalists. Billy Preston's shared single credit was on "Get Back," which was one of Paul's songs, although he was more of a friend of George's than Paul's.The Dead Flowers
In one of those duets, Paul sings "sending roses and your silly dreams, really just a waste of time." In any event, maybe Jane Asher died and he's getting flowers because of that.