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The first Beatles Christmas record was distributed by the Official Beatles Fan Club on December 9, 1963. Beginning in 1963, the Beatles started a holiday tradition of recording Christmas messages for their fans. 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 Ringo”. The recordings were edited and issued on flexi-discs through the Official Beatles Fan Club in England. The records were not available for sale, but were distributed free to Fan Club members. Tony Barrow came up with the concept for the Christmas records and scripted the initial efforts.
The record was packaged in yellow paper gatefold cover. The open gatefold contains the Fun Club’s National Newsletter No. 2.
Lynton Recordings pressed 25,000 copies of the one-sided seven inch discs, which have white labels with dark blue print. Disc plays at 33 1/3 – rpm. Total time: 5:00. Matrix number LYN 492-1U.
The second Beatles Christmas record was issued by Official Beatles Fan Club in December 18, 1964. 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-wroter. 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.” (The statement is apparently handwritten as at various points in the recording, Paul reads “making them” as “melting them” before correcting himself and George reads “quite a time” as “quiet time” before correcting himself with “great time” as well.) Finishing up the record is a brief rendition of the traditional song “Oh Can You Wash Your Father’s Shirt?”.
The disc was packaged in cardboard sleeve printed and made by MacNeil Press Ltd., London. The back side has text by Tony Barrow, who wrote the liner notes to many of the band’s early albums and EP records.
The Fan Club’s National Newsletter No. 4 included with the holiday mailing.
The one-sided disc has white labels with red text. While the 1963 disc plays at 33 1/3 – rpm, the shorter 1964 record plays at 45-rpm. Total time: 3:58. Lyntone Recordings pressed approximately 65,000 copies of 1964 Christmas record. Matrix number LYN 757-1R.
The third Beatles Christmas record was issued by Official Beatles Fan Club in December 17, 1965. 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”.
The disc was packaged in cardboard sleeve printed and made by MacNeil Press Ltd., London. The back side has text by Tony Barrow.
The record was packaged with the Fan Club’s National Newsletter No. 6.
The flexi-disc has gold print on a cream label. Due to the record’s running time of 6:20, the disc plays at the slower speed of 33 1/3-rpm. Matrix number LYN 948-1Y.
The fourth Beatles Christmas record “Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas” was issued by Official Beatles Fan Club in December 25, 1966. 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 Mansions”.
The disc was packaged in cardboard sleeve printed and made by MacNeil Press Ltd., London. The front is an abstract color painting designed by Paul McCartney.
The record was packaged with the National Newsletter for Christmas 1966.
The flexi-disc has gold print on a cream label. The record has a running time of 6:36 and plays at 33 1/3-rpm. Matrix number LYN 1145-2C.