The only instrumental track to appear on a core Beatles album, “Flying” is easily one of the band’s grooviest moments. It’s hard to listen to it and not get transported to a place of serenity, where everything is good and cool in the world, and you start to have second thoughts about all the lessons D.A.R.E. tried to teach you back in elementary school. But then you remember, you signed a pledge, dammit.
Let’s be real though, there’s a 0% chance the lion mascot was not conceived during an acid trip.
Normally I’m not a huge fan of instrumentals–nothing against the concept of a lyrics-free song, but they just don’t tend to grab me. But “Flying” possesses such a soothing and beautiful melody that it works. It’s probably for the best, though, that the Beatles edited it down from its original nine-minute length. Remember what I said earlier about the Beatles doing a lot of strange song endings in 1967? That pattern continues on “Flying,” and if they hadn’t trimmed it, those spacey tape loops would have gone on for another seven minutes. I’m not saying I would have wanted it that way, but maybe if they included the full version on Magical Mystery Tour, John would have gotten the whole “tape loops are fun” thing out of his system before subjecting us to “Revolution 9.”