The Beatles

Magical Mystery Tour [EP]

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The last EP ever released by the Beatles was a matter of expediency. The chaotic production of the Magical Mystery Tour movie had not yielded enough music to fill more than one side of an LP, but too much for an extended play single. There was so much money tied up in the production -- due to air over British television on December 26, 1967 -- that it had to be exploited and supported with a record release. So EMI released a double-EP set in England that wasn't much more coherent (in the most literal sense of that word's root) than the movie to which it was attached creatively (but a lot more fun). The record was a hit in the U.K., although for U.S. release, where EPs had never sold well, Capitol grabbed up the group's recent singles and B-sides plus the orphaned late-1966 single "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" to make a full LP, which was issued many years later in England as well. The EP was enjoyable if a bit discursive (big surprise given the nature of the movie project and the recreational drugs involved), and seemed to lack a little stature given its short running time, but the six tracks were as fascinating as anything the group had ever released.

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