Album covers: Magical Mystery Tour


Magical Mystery Tour EP – John Kelly

“The Mystery Tour packaging was all Paul’s idea, ” recalls Tony Barrow “Everything happened in a mad rush after Brian Epstein died, because Paul was worried that the band would simply fall apart without some guidance. Mystery Tour was Paul’s attempt to give the band some kind of leadership.”

The first meeting about Magical Mystery Tour took place at McCartney’s home, at the start of September 1967, with the beginning of the recordings a week later.

From the cover photo session.

“It was October before we even began thinking about packaging. There was no designer as such. Paul had the idea to make it like a mini-double album, and he and I worked on the text together,” continues Tony Barrow, “Finally, we called in Bob Gibson, the illustrator for Beatles Monthly, to provide a cartoon version of the film. It was in the shops before Christmas.”

In England the songs were presented as a double EP (extended play) package. It contained two 3 track E.P.’s and was advertised as being complete with “A 32 page full colour book packed with exclusive pictures, a strip cartoon of the original story, plus the words to the songs in the show !”

Page from the booklet

It’s original cost was 19s 6d (… which was just short of £1).

However the booklet contained only 28 pages. The photographs are taken by John Kelly. Some of the pictures represent scenes that were cut from the actual movie.

First pressings had a gate fold picture sleeve, with a full booklet, and a blue lyric sheet. For later repressings, the colour of the lyrics sheet was changed to yellow. The singles were housed in white inner sleeves, which fitted in pockets on the inside of the covers.

Magical Mystery Tour – back cover

In the USA, the EP format no longer was used, so Capitol decided to upgrade the five songs with some recent non-album singles to a full LP. It was released eleven days earlier on 27th November 1967.

Magical Mystery Tour – album

The jacket of the full size LP was a near-identical blow-up of EP. The titles of the extra songs are added to the cover in the same lettering, underneath the colour picture. It also included the entire booklet, plus the lyrics. The album sure looks nice in 12″ size…

At last this LP came to be copied in the UK, being issued there in 1976. It is the only American version of a Beatles album that was officially released on cd in the british cd series.

This article was written by Patrick Roefflaer and you can find it in it’s older incarnation here.

Captions by me


Books: ‘Yesterday’ by Robert Freeman, The Beatles Anthology book, ‘Many Years From Now’ by Miles, ‘In My Life’ by Pete Shotton, ‘The complete EMI Recording Sessions’ by Mark Lewisohn and ‘The Beatles London’ by Mark Lewisohn and Peter Schreuder. And countless websites.

5 Responses

  1. S e as garotas que erraram says:

    So no Bootleg Recordings 1964 this year?? Really strange that nothing came out.

  2. RAJ says:

    There's another variation of the MMT U.S. album cover. I believe initially it came with a purple stripe below the photo with the text saying something about the booklet inside.

  3. Unknown says:

    What about the Bootleg Recordings 1964?

  4. Mr. Paul says:

    I have the world record club version which uses page 10 photo in the booklet as the cover. I believe it only came out in the US and Australia.

  5. Unknown says:

    What about Bootleg LP?

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