The Beatles' Christmas Album


The Beatles' Christmas Album

Infobox Album
Name = The Beatles' Christmas Album
Type = compilation
Artist = The Beatles


Released = 18 December 1970
Recorded = Basement studio at Dick James Music nowrap|(1963–1964), EMI Studios at Abbey Road nowrap|(1965–1967), various locations nowrap|(1968–1969)
Genre = Comedic banter and music
Length = 43:58
Label = Apple
Producer = Tony Barrow (1963–1965), George Martin (1966–1967), Kenny Everett (1968–1969)
Reviews =
Last album = "Let It Be"
(1970)
This album = "The Beatles' Christmas Album"
(1970)
Next album = "1962–1966"
(1973)

"The Beatles' Christmas Album" (U.S.) aka "From Then to You" (UK), was a 1970 compilation album of the Christmas records issued via the Beatles' Fan Club - and made available solely to members of their official fan clubs in the UK and the U.S. "The Beatles' Christmas Album" was issued as "From Then to You" in the UK by Apple Records (LYN 2154) and in the U.S. (SBC 100).

History

Each year from 1963 to 1969, the Beatles had recorded a short Christmas message for their fans, comprised of carols, skits, jokes, and thanks to the loyal "Beatle People". Each recording was pressed onto a 7" flexi disc and mailed free to the British members of the Fan Club. In 1970, in the wake of the band's break-up, Apple released the compilation of all seven. Despite the album's popularity with fans (through bootleggers), it has not been officially released since.

Track listing

ide one

#"The Beatles' Christmas Record" [Recorded October 20, issued December 6, 1963] - 5:00
#"Another Beatles' Christmas Record" [Recorded October 26-28, issued December 18, 1964] - 4:05
#"The Beatles' Third Christmas Record" [Recorded October 19, issued December 17, 1965] - 6:26
#"The Beatles' Fourth Christmas Record - Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas" [Recorded November 25, issued December 16, 1966] - 6:40

ide two

#"Christmas Time is Here Again!" [Recorded November 28, issued December 15, 1967] - 6:10
#"The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record" [Recorded separately, in the autumn of 1968, issued December 20] - 7:55
#"The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record" [Recorded separately, in the autumn of 1969, issued December 19] - 7:42

The original flexi discs

1963: The Beatles Christmas Record

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' U.S. 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 U.S. fan club, explained in its April 1966 edition that the tape arrived too late to prepare the record in time for Christmas. cite book |first=Bruce |last=Spizer |title=The Beatles on Apple Records |pages=212]

1966: The Beatles' Fourth Christmas Record - Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas

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". Also featured is a brief snippet of "Baroque Hoedown" which in three years was used in Disneyland's Main Street Electrical Parade.

Finally, the US fans got a flexi-disc for Christmas in 1968, but it came in a modified version of the 1967 UK sleeve.cite book |first=Bruce |last=Spizer |title=The Beatles on Apple Records |pages=218-219]

1969: The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record

The final Beatles Christmas offering was also recorded separately, as the band was crumbling at 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."

For the only time, the American and British jackets were identical. The U.S. version of the flexi-disc had an elaborate drawing of the Beatles' faces on it..cite book |first=Bruce |last=Spizer |title=The Beatles on Apple Records |pages=220-221]

1970 album and aftermath

"The Beatles' Christmas Album" was most likely sent to US fan club members in the spring of 1971.cite book |first=Bruce |last=Spizer |title=The Beatles on Apple Records |pages=222] Though it served to remind fan-club members that the Beatles were no more, it had the advantage of much better sound quality than the old flexi-discs and cardboard mailers; also, it was the first time the 1964 and 1965 messages were available in America. Not long after the album was issued, numerous counterfeits and bootlegs appeared on the market, which continue to circulate to this day.

In December 1982, two albums claiming to comprise a legitimate release of the Beatles' Christmas messages appeared on the U.S. market. One of them, which contained the 1963 through 1966 holiday records, was called "Christmas Reflections", on a label called Desert Vibrations Heritage Series (HSRD-SP1). The other, with the 1967 through 1969 messages, was called "Happy Michaelmas" and was on a label called The Adirondack Group (AG-8146).cite book |first=Perry |last=Cox |coauthors=Joe Lindsay |title=The Complete Beatles U.S. Record Price Guide, 1st Edition |publisher=O'Sullivan Woodside |location=Phoenix, Arizona |pages=102-105 |year=1983 |isbn=0-89012-082-8] Less than a year later, on 29 September, 1983, an entrepreneur announced that he was going to issue all seven messages on one record, which he planned to call "John, Paul, George and Ringo". [cite book |first=Keith |last=Badman |title=The Beatles After the Break-Up 1970-2001: A Day-by-Day Diary |publisher=Omnibus |location=London |year=2005 |isbn=0711983070] The Beatles' representatives quickly sued, claiming copyright and trademark violations, and won in court. [cite web |title=Citations and Summaries, CopyrightData.com |url= http://chart.copyrightdata.com/c10G.html#s185 |accessdate=2007-05-26] As a result, the 1983 album was never released, and the two 1982 LPs were withdrawn.

The only parts of any of the Beatles' Christmas messages to be released to the general public outside the fan club are the first three minutes of the music bed of the 1967 single, with greetings recorded for the 1966 single superimposed during the final minute, under the name "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)". It was issued as one of the B-sides of the "Free as a Bird" single in December 1995.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.beatlefans.com/xmas.htm Christmas Albums @ Beatlefans.com]


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