Earth laughs in flowers…
Ralph Waldo Emerson
One good thing about a Canadian winter… you anticipate the arrival of spring more intensely… Jane often refers to the revival of plants as “spring magic”. And, since I’m in need of a new theme for the next several posts, I thought I’d perform a little of my own magic… the musical variety, that is. Back when I looked at Sunshine Pop, I opened with a selection by The Beatles. A precedent?
I. Magical Mystery Tour The Beatles
After the success of Sgt. Pepper, it seemed that the band could do no wrong. During the Christmas holidays in 1967, The Beatles‘ film, Magical Mystery Tour, was screened in Britain on the BBC. The verdict? “Beatles mystery tour baffles viewers” was the headline in the Mirror, flagging up claims that “by the thousand, viewers protested to the BBC“. The Express called it “tasteless nonsense” and “blatant rubbish“. In the States, NBC cancelled an agreement to show the film on its broadcast schedule. A slightly kinder (recent) review (Tim Brayton, 2010) described it as “a big, nasty, ugly, boring mistake. With killer musical numbers.” The title song from that film starts things rolling here…
The film’s reception might have been inauspicious but the songs did not disappoint fans. Magical Mystery Tour (the album) was #1 on Billboard’s Top LP listings for eight weeks at the start of 1968 and remained in the top 200 until 8 February 1969. It was nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1968.
II. Do You Believe in Magic? The Lovin’ Spoonful
Their first album. Their first top ten hit in 1965 (#9). Penned by John Sebastian, the song was ranked #216 on Rolling Stone‘s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. This is (as you’ll soon detect) a live performance…
III. Magic Olivia Newton-John
From the movie Xanadu soundtrack, Magic became a #1 hit for Olivia Newton-John in 1980 (four weeks in the U.S./six weeks in Canada). The Australian singer, songwriter and actress is a four-time Grammy award winner who has amassed five #1 and ten other Top Ten Billboard singles. And we haven’t even mentioned her role in Grease (until now)!
Stay tuned… more magic to come!