From 1963 to 1969, The Beatles were very busy creating a host of songs that forever changed the structure and landscape of the world of popular recorded music. Classic albums such as “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Help!”, “Rubber Soul”, Revolver”, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Bnad”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, “The Beatles” and “Abbey Road” all helped to shape music in new sound dimensions. For the holidays toward the end of each year, The Beatles recorded a series of unique flexi-discs containing specially-created Christmas messages that were distributed only to members of their fan club. Each of these recordings reflect what was going on within the group at the time. The 1963 and 1964 messages had the boys reading from a prepared script by Tony barrow. Even with this dialogue, their charm still shines through. For 1965, they decided to improvise their own material, which has an out-of-tune rendition of “Yesterday” as part of the proceedings. The discs for 1966 and 1967 are a series of cleverly pantomimed sketches, with a different recurring theme song for each one. By the time the 1968 and 1969 discs were issued, it was clear that the boys were going in different directions, as they had messages from the guys recorded seperately. After The Beatles break up in 1970, the fan club issued a long-playing album containing all 7 Christsmas messages together. This was later issued on CD, with the best sound quality available. It is a special Beatles album, one that belongs in every fan’s CD library. Everywhere it’s Christmas, especially when you’ve got “The Beatles’ Christmas Album” as part of your holiday festivities! (by Timothy Swan)
Each year from 1963 through 1969, the Beatles recorded a special Christmas greeting for their fans. The Official Beatles Fan Club in England sent flexi-discs containing the Christmas messages to its members each holiday season.
The American fan club, Beatles (U.S.A.) Ltd., was established in 1964, and for their first Christmas, the American fan club sent fans the 1963 Christmas message on a soundcard, which is like a flexi-disc, but is “printed” on the post card that is mailed. No message was sent to the American fans in 1965 because the tape was not received on time.
The Beatles Christmas flexis are very rare, and sell, in excellent condition, anywhere from $200 to $500.
These recordings offer a unique time-capsule glimpse into the personalities and evolution of the Beatles from 1963 through 1969. In the early years, like their appearances in A Hard Day’s Night, even though these messages were scripted by “somebody’s bad hand-wroter” (their Press Agent Tony Barrow), the Beatle’s geniune wit and humor shines through, for example, in 1963, when as John mentions taking part in the Royal Variety show, the boys extemporaneously launch into a whistling version of God Save The Queen, or in 1964, when Paul mentions that they don’t really know where they’d be without the fans, John says, off-handedly, “In the Army, perhaps…”
For older Beatles fans who remember hearing these messages over the years, “these little bits of plastic” are a fond holiday tradition, while for younger Beatles fans they offer a whole new insight into a pop music phenomenon which might never be repeated.
George Harrison – John Lennon – Paul McCartney – Ringo Starr
01. Beatles Xmas Flexi 1963 / 5.02
02. Another Beatles Xmas Flexi 1964 / 4.02
03. Beatles Third Xmas Flexi 1965 / 6.23
04. Beatles Fourth Xmas Flexi 1966 / 6.39
05. Christmas Time Is Here Again 1967 / 6.10
06. Beatles 1968 Xmas Flexi / 7.53
07. Beatles Seventh Xmas Flexi 1969 / 7.42
08. Outtake Xmas Messages From 1964 / 4.41
09. Christmas Time Is Here Again (Full Version) / 5.42
10. Crimble Medley / 0.31
11. Messages / 0.33