The Beatles Bible tells us, and I have no reason to disbelieve it, that this was the day Paul McCartney had the idea for Magical Mystery Tour. It happened in or near Denver, where Paul was filming his girlfriend Jane Asher walking through the woods, and was sparked by a childhood memory:

It used to just be called a mystery tour, up north. When we were kids, you’d get on a bus, and you didn’t know where you were going, but nearly always it was Blackpool. From Liverpool, it was inevitably Blackpool and everyone would go, “Oooo, it was Blackpool after all!” Everyone would spend time guessing where they were going, and this was part of the thrill.

Many of Paul’s inspirations seemed to happen while traveling (remember that the Sgt. Pepper concept came to him on a plane from Kenya to London). I wonder if the other Beatles came to dread every time Paul went on a trip, knowing that he would return with some wild scheme. If memory serves, there was a certain amount of eye-rolling when he presented the MMT concept to the other Beatles. But his dominance in the band at this time was such that he made it happen.

When Magical Mystery Tour cratered, it marked the end of Paul’s run as head Beatle. Things became more democratic and more chaotic after that, resulting in the glorious mess that is the White Album. In the aftermath, Paul attempted to back away from the wreckage:

I’m not sure whose idea Magical Mystery Tour was. It could have been mine, but I’m not sure whether I want to take the blame for it! We were all in on it – but a lot of the material at that time could have been my idea.

Sorry, Paulie, but I’m not buying it. To be fair, MMT was not a terrible idea; it was the execution that was lacking, due to disorganization and overindulgence of every kind. But that’s a story for another day.

 

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