AUDIO: Beatles’ Christmas Records

If you don’t already have a copy of the fan-club records, and you haven’t heard them yet, go get them.  They are a fun listen and a nice alternative to the Elvis Presley CD that you put in every year around the holidays.   These records have never officially been released on CD, or in a collected format on one LP, which is a shame.   There are more albums then there are covers here, so check out these lovely little fanclub EP’s to get into the holiday spirit.

Download them and have a listen.  Happy Christmas Beatle-style.

Here’s a nice history for those of you who aren’t familiar with these records.

Their rock contemporaries (The Rolling Stones, The Animals) looked down on the novelty of a Christmas Record, while their pop contemporaries (The Four Seasons, The Beach Boys) saw it as an opportunity to cash in, yet the Beatles themselves managed again, somehow, to have it both ways. The Beatles Christmas Records were sent to the Official Beatles Fan Club once a year between 1963 and 1969; not Christmas songs per se, they mostly consisted of just the lads themselves clowning around in the studio, creating Xmas (and other) improvised songs, and inserting the obligatory holiday wishes.

However, what sounds like novelty is actually a quite fascinating slice of the legacy. For one thing, they contain original Beatles songs that haven’t been released or are hard to find. From obvious goofs like “Everywhere It’s Christmas” to the excellent “Christmas Time Is Here Again” (a song which contains some of Ringo’s finest moments on the drums), to the Paul solo “Happy New Year”, which sounds like “I’ve Got A Feeling” would had it been done on his mostly-acoustic hearth-and-home McCartney album. And we can’t forget what these records must have meant to the fans in an analog, mediaunsaturated time; these discs, even today, sound like a phone conversation with all four Beatles at once.

Most importantly, though, these records contain a clear delineation of the Beatles Arc of History. When listened to all at once, chronologically, they provide a startling parallel to the band’s own adventures. The earliest ones are full of energy and overwhelming optimism, but they’re simple and only subtly adventurous. As they move into 1965, more experimentation comes into play, and the lads begin to take creative hold of the medium, ad-libbing and using the studio to full effect. By the time the series ends, the series is only perfunctorily about Christmas or the Fan Club: everyone sounds restless and the collaborative spirit has vanished. These records never uncover the unhappiness that Let It Be does; they’re very pleasant (and fun) listening. But don’t think they don’t tell part of the story… by 1969, Yoko appears more than Paul does.


More links for you:

  • Who’s who behind Beatles’ Christmas messages.
  • Scans of all of the Christmas message EP and covers

2 Responses

  1. I know they’re not your links but is there any chance you could upload the tracks to which is a damn site quicker than RapidShare.

    It would be very greatly appreciated. 🙂

  2. I will try to let the person know who posted them on his blog, where the link originated. Hopefully he can move them over.


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