Eerie. Mystical. Hallucinatory. Numerous words have been used to describe “Blue Jay Way,” one of George Harrison’s Magical Mystery Tour contributions. A kind of sibling to “I Am the Walrus” with its eerie string arrangement, the track represents Harrison’s continued growth as a songwriter and his willingness to experiment with avant-garde structure and themes.
“Blue Jay Way” originated from a rather mundane situation. George Harrison and wife Pattie Boyd, Neil Aspinall, and Alexis Mardas were visiting California. They were staying at a rented house in the Hollywood hills on a street called — yes — “Blue Jay Way.” One day, Beatles publicist Derek Taylor was driving to meet them at the house, but had gotten lost in the Los Angeles canyon fog. Bored, Harrison jotted down his thoughts to ward off ennui and, frankly, stay awake.
“To keep myself awake, just as a joke to pass the time while I waited, I wrote a song about waiting for him in Blue Jay Way,” Harrison explained in 1968. “There was a little Hammond organ in the corner of this house which I hadn’t noticed until then … so I messed around on it and the song came.”
SPECIAL THANKS: Rocker1999 for tempo map and Orange Harrison for the audio remix.