Song facts: Flying

On September 8th 1967, The Beatles recorded Flying, an instrumental track with wordless vocals for their Magical Mystery Tour film. The composition has the distinction of being one of the very few pieces of music written by all four Beatles. The last track they were all credited on was 12 Bar Instrumental, recorded in 1965 and released on Anthology 2 in 1996.

"Flying was an instrumental that we needed for Magical Mystery Tour so in the studio one night I suggested to the guys that we made something up. I said, 'We can keep it very very simple, we can make it a twelve-bar blues. We need a little bit of a theme and a little bit of a backing.' I wrote the melody. The only thing to warrant it as a song is basically the melody, otherwise it's just a nice twelve-bar backing thing. It's played on the Mellotron, on a trombone setting. It's credited to all four, which is how you would credit a non-song." - Paul McCartney

The song was originally titled Aerial Tour Ballet and lasted over nine minutes long. The Beatles eventually cut that down to 2 minutes 17 seconds. Flying appears as track number three on the Magical Mystery Tour album and features in the film (see video below). 

Personnel

  • John Lennon – wordless vocals, mellotron, organ, sound effects
  • Paul McCartney – wordless vocals, bass, guitar
  • George Harrison – wordless vocals, guitar
  • Ringo Starr – wordless vocals, drums, maracas, sound effects

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John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the set of Magical Mystery Tour, 1967. 

John Lennon and Paul McCartney on the set of Magical Mystery Tour, 1967. 

John Lennon getting off the Magical Mystery Tour bus in Newquay, 1967. 

John Lennon getting off the Magical Mystery Tour bus in Newquay, 1967. 

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