Monday, December 23, 2013

The Beatles Christmas Records 1963-1970

The Beatles PR man, Tony Barrow came up with the idea in 1963 for the group to record a Christmas Record and send it to members of the Official Beatles Fan Club run by Freda Kelly (Good Ol' Freda).  The Beatles recorded seven Christmas records from 1963- 1970. The early records were from a script written by Tony Barrow with little add-ons.

The Beatles Christmas Record (1963):

Recorded: 17 October, 1963 at Studio Two, EMI Studios
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Total Time: 5:03
Released: UK 6 December; US 18 December

The big highlights from the album are;
  • All singing "Good King Wenceslas" 
  • John Lennon taking about "Please Please Me", "Love Me Do", and the Royal Command Preformances
  • Paul McCartney spent his time talking about Jellybabies and how they would like to not have them sent anymore but that they still like chocolates and others and what they like the best.
  • Ringo Starr talked about his history and how he went from many other bands, to Rory Storm to The Beatles.
  • George Harrison thanked the fans and the Head of The Fan Club

Another Beatles Christmas Record (1964):

Recorded: 6 October
Released: 18 December
Total Time: 4:01

After recording Carl Perkins "Honey Don't" The Beatles once again read a Tony Barrow script for their second Christmas record.

  • Piano intro "Jingle Bells"
  • Paul McCartney thanked the fans for buying the records
  • John Lennon thanked the fans for buying his book "In His Own Write"
  • George Harrison said thanks and just talked about The Beatles first motion picture " A Hard Days Night" and then mentioned that they were coming out with a second movie the following year.
  • Ringo Starr thanked the fans for just being fans.
  • Ended it with "Oh can you Wash Your Father's Shirt"

 The Beatles Third Christmas Record (1965)
Recorded: 8 November
Released: 17 December
Total Time: 6:20

Highlights from album;
  • Intro "Yesterday" 
  • Thanks for cards and presents recieved that year
  • "Happy Christmas To ya List'nas"/ "Down in The Jungle",  "Auld Lang Syne", "It's The Same Old Song"
  • Fake radio broadcast
  • "Auld Lang Syne" in style of Barry McGuire
  • "Christmas Comes but Once A Year"
  • "Yesterday" Reprise
  • "Christmas Day"
  • A message from John Lennon

Patomine (Everywhere It's Christmas) (1966):

Recorded: 25 November at Dick James Music Office in London
Released: 16 December
Total Time: 6:36

Paul McCartney had convinced the rest of the band that they should produce a real record based on the Goon Show, this resulted in "Everywhere It's Christmas".

Track listing for The Beatles Third Christmas Record;
  • "Everywhere It's Christmas"
  • "Orowanyna (Corsican Choir and Small Choir)
  • Rare Cheese (Two Elderly Scotsmen)
  • The Feast
  • The Loyal Toast
  • Podgy The Bear and Jasper
  • Felpin Mansions; Part One- Count Balder and Butler
  • Felpin Mansions; Part Two- The Count and The Pianist
  • "Please Don't Bring Your Banjo Back"
  •  "Everywhere It's Christmas" by Mal Evans
  • "Everywhere It's Christmas" reprise

Christmas Time Is Here Again (1967)

Recorded: 28 November
Released: 15 December
Total Time: 6:10

The front cover being created by John and Ringo and having the back cover a painting done by Julian Lennon.

The record went as followed;
  • "Christmas Time Is Here Again" BBC House
  • "Christmas Time Is Here Again"
  • Audition; Tap Dance
  • Commercial
  • Interview with Sir Gerald
  • "Christmas Time Is Here Again" with laughter from the band
  • "On The Next Round"
  • Dedication; "Plenty Of Jam Jars" by the Revellers
  • Game Show
  • Commercial
  • News report
  • "Christmas Time Is Here Again"
  • Game Show 2
  • Victor Spinnetti giving thanks
  • "When Christmas Time Is Over" a poem by the very talented John Lennon

Christmas Record (Happy Christmas) (1968)

Recorded: November- Various times and places
Released: 20 December
Total Time: 7:55

During this time The Beatles were drifting apart and hardly talking as much as they used to. Kenny Everett, BBC presenter allowed each member to record separately. Most recording were done at home, except for Ringo who decided to do his in the back of a van.

The album went as followed;
  • Merry Christmas from Ringo
  • Paul sings "Happy Christmas, Happy New Year"
  • A sped up version of "Helter Skelter"
  • "Jock and Yono" story/poem by John
  • Perrey and Kingsley's "Baroque Hoedown"
  • Merry Christmas from George Harrison
  • Merry Christmas from Mal Evans
  • John and Ringo skit
  • "Once upon a Pool Table" by John
  • George introduces Tiny Tim
  • Tiny Tim sings "Nowhere Man"

The Beatles Seventh Christmas Record (1969)

Recorded: Fall various time and locations
Released: 19 December
Total Time: 7:42

There was a lot of heat at the end of The Beatles which not only affected their albums. In the last Beatles Christmas album George hardly appears, Ringo spends his time talking about his new movie, The Magic Christan, Paul plays acoustic songs at his home, and John is all about his new wife Yoko Ono.  The cover features another Beatles kids artwork, Zak Starkey's drawing.

The albums highlights;
  • John and Yoko
  • John's Christmas wishes
  • George says Happy Christmas
  • Ringo sings "This is to Wish You A Merry Christmas"/ Paul's Christmas and New Years Wishes
  • Incidental holiday music
  • John and Yoko discuss peace and the 1970s
  • John and Yoko sing "Happy Christmas"
  • Ringo says "Merry Christmas" and speaks on The Magic Christian 
  • John and Yoko discuss Christmas presents
  • Incidental music "The First Noel"

On the evening of 28 October, 1971 to the morning of the 29 John and Yoko Lennon composed "Happy Christmas (War Is Over)" saying they were "Sick of 'White Christmas'". The song includes the Harlem Community Choir singing "War Is Over, If You Want It". Credited to The Plastic Ono Band and The Harlem Community Choir. Three years prior to the song the couple had started the "War Is Over" campaign having displaying billboards promoting the message in eleven major cities. 

In 1979 Paul McCartney had released 'Wonder Christmastime" which appeared as a bonus track on Wings Back To The Egg. The song was done by Paul McCartney himself during the solo album, McCartney II sessions. 

Ringo Starr released a Christmas album on 19 October, 1999 called I Want To Be Santa Claus. The album featured songs by Ringo and Mark Hudson like "Dear Santa" and "Christmas Eve". The album features twelve songs making the album a total of 44:59.

Check out The Beatles Christmas Shows here.
Happy Christmas Beatles People!

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