Beatles - Complete Christmas Records - 1963 to 1969 - 45 RPM - Flexi-Disc
Beatles' Christmas Record
I Want For Christmas BBC Medley
Recorded: October 17, 1963 at Dick James Music ~ Issued: December
Writer and Producer: Tony Barrow (Beatles press officer)
Label: Lyntone, LYN 492 : Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 331/2 RPM
Total time: 5:00
CONTENTS: The first Christmas recording from the Beatles featured
several renditions of the traditional carol "Good King Wenceslas" and individual
messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed
Beatles Christmas Record
Recorded: October 26, 1964 at Dick James Music ~ Issued: December
Writer and Producer: Tony Barrow
Label: Lyntone, LYN 757 : Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 45 RPM
Total time: 3:58
CONTENTS: The song "Jingle Bells" is sung, followed by individual
messages to the fans. John mocks the prepared statement, doing an imitation
of Paul Harvey and includes his own pseudo-words and ad-libbing. When Paul
asks him if he wrote this himself, he says, "No it's somebody's bad hand-rota.
It's been a busy year Beople peadles, one way and another, but it's been
a great year too. You fans have seen to that. Page two... Thanks a lot
folks and a happy-er Christmas and a Merry Grew Year. Crimble maybe." They
finishing up the record with a brief rendition of the traditional song
"Oh Can You Wash Your Father's Shirt?"
This was not sent to American fans. Rather, at Christmas time 1964,
US fans received an edited version of The Beatles' 1963 Christmas Record.
The US fan-club sent the message in a tri-fold cardboard mailer, with the
"record" embedded in one of the flaps of cardboard.
Beatles' Third Christmas Record
Recorded: November 8, 1965 at Dick James Music ~ Issued: December
Writers: Tony Barrow and The Beatles ~ Producer: Tony Barrow
Label: Lyntone, LYN 948 : Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 331/3 RPM
Total time: 6:20
CONTENTS: Several off-key, a cappella versions of "Yesterday"
are dispersed throughout the record, alongside Lennon's "Happy Christmas
to Ya List'nas", "Auld Lang Syne", a one-and-a-half-line version of the
Four Tops' "It's the Same Old Song" (which they quickly stop before they
violate the copyright) and an original poem titled "Christmas Comes But
Once a Year".
Members of the Beatles' US fan-club did not receive this (or any) Christmas
flexi-disc in 1965. Rather, they received a black and white postcard, with
a photo of the Fab Four and the message "Season's Greetings – Paul, Ringo,
George, John." The Beatle Bulletin, the publication of the US fan-club,
explained in its April 1966 edition that the tape arrived too late to prepare
the record in time for Christmas.
The Beatles' Fourth Christmas
Everywhere It's Christmas
Recorded: November 25, 1966 ~ Issued: December 16, 1966
Location: Dick James Music
Writers: The Beatles ~ Producer: George Martin ~ Cover: Paul McCartney
Label: Lyntone, LYN 1145 : Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 33 1/3 RPM
Total time: 6:36
CONTENTS: Recorded between sessions for Strawberry Fields Forever,
for the 1966 offering, the usual greetings and thanks gave way to a ‘Pantomime’-themed
collection of original songs and dramatic skits. The songs include "Everywhere
It's Christmas", "Orowainya", and "Please Don't Bring Your Banjo Back".
The sketches performed include "Podgy the Bear and Jasper" and "Felpin
Once again, the US fan-club members did not get a flexi-disc. Instead,
they received a postcard with the message on one side and a short version
of The Beatle Bulletin on the other, with enough room for a mailing label
Time (is Here Again!)
Recorded: November 28, 1967 ~ Issued: December 15, 1967
Location: EMI Studios, London
Writers: The Beatles ~ Producer: George Martin
Label: Lyntone, LYN 1360 ~ Flexi disc: 7", 1 side, 331/3 RPM
Total time: 6:06
CONTENTS: An elaborate production, Christmas
Time is Here Again! was developed around the concept of several
groups auditioning for a BBC radio show. The title song serves as a refrain
throughout the record. The Beatles portray a multitude of characters, including
game show contestants, aspiring musicians ("Plenty of Jam Jars", by the
Ravellers), and actors in a radio drama ("Theatre Hour"). At the end John
reads a poem, "When Christmas Time Is Over." This offering was likely a
deliberate homage to/continuation of the broadly similar "Craig Torso"
specials produced for BBC Radio 1 that same year by the Beatles' friends
and collaborators the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, and also shares much in common
with their then-unreleased track "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)",
recorded six months previously.
While British fans received a flexi-disc in an elaborate sleeve, American
fans received a postcard similar to that of 1966.
Sleeve design by Julian Lennon, John Lennon and Ringo
Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record
|Recorded: November–December 1968 ~ Issued: December 20, 1968
Writer: The Beatles ~ Producer: Kenny Everett
Label: Lyntone, LYN 1743/4 ~ Flexi disc: 7", 2 sides, 33? RPM
Total time: 7:48
CONTENTS: The first Beatles Christmas fan-club disc to be recorded
separately, the 1968 offering is a collage of odd noises, musical snippets,
and individual messages. McCartney's song "Happy
Christmas, Happy New Year" is featured, along with John's poems "Jock
and Yono" and "Once Upon a Pool Table." Also notable is a rendition of
"Nowhere Man" by the ukulele-playing Tiny Tim. Also included is a sped-up
snippet of the Beatles' own "Helter Skelter" and a brief snippet of Perrey
& Kingsley's "Baroque Hoedown" which was used three years later in
Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade. "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" and "Birthday"
are also heard in the background for part of the message.The dialogue and
songs for the flexi-disc were organised and edited together by DJ and friend
of the Beatles, Kenny Everett.
Finally, the US fans got a flexi-disc for Christmas in 1968, but it
came in a modified version of the 1967 UK sleeve.
Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record
Recorded: November–December 1969 ~ Issued: December 19,
Writer: The Beatles ~ Producer: Maurice Cole
Label: Lyntone, LYN 1970/1971 ~ Flexi disc: 7", 2 sides, 331/3 RPM
Total time: 7:39
CONTENTS: The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded
separately, as the band had effectively split by this point. It features
an extensive visit with John and Yoko at their Tittenhurst Park estate,
where they play "what will Santa bring me?" games. Harrison only appears
briefly, and Starr only shows up to plug his recent film, The Magic Christian.
Paul sings his original ad-lib, "This
is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas." Starting at 1:30, at the
tail-end of Ringo's song, the guitar solos from "The End" are heard, followed
by Yoko interviewing John.
For the only time, the American and British jackets were identical.
The US version of the flexi-disc had an elaborate drawing of the Beatles'
faces on it.
WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS TIME by PAUL McCARTNEY - 1979
In December 1970, in the wake of the band's break-up, the UK
fan-club sent out a compilation LP of all seven recordings, entitled From
Then To You. The master tapes having been mislaid, the LP was mastered
from copies of the original flexi discs. In the US, the LP was repackaged
as The Beatles' Christmas Album and sent out by the fan-club around
springtime 1971. It was the first time the 1964 and 1965 messages had been
made available in the USA.
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THE BEATLES IN HAMBURG
Photos by Bill Hillman accompanied by information
compiled from personal interviews and various
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At the invitation of Edgar Rice Burroughs,
Inc. of Tarzana, California, and Disney Theatrical, NY, I flew to Hamburg
for a 10-day stay in October 2008. This gave me time to explore Hamburg
before and after the main focus of the visit: the German
Tarzan Musical Premiere.
I've been a Beatles admirer since the early
'60s, having performed many of their songs in our stage act. It was
natural then, that I take advantage of the opportunity to study the Beatles'
early influences in Hamburg's Reeperbahn district. Making daily treks from
my home base, Hotel 66 on Hein-Hoyer, in the heart of the St. Pauli district,
I took hundreds of photos, many of which I share in this project:
THE BEATLES IN HAMBURG: 1960-1962