This afternoon at work I listened to the Beatles’ Christmas records.
These have never been officially released, so I had to resort to bootleg mp3s. (They’re also on Youtube.) These Christmas records were produced for the official Beatles fan club, and they were issued between 1963 and 1969. Each record ran about six minutes long, and the seven records total run about 45 minutes. Each sees the Beatles goofing off and talking to the fans with a holiday theme.
The two most interesting are the 1966 (Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas) and 1967 (Christmas Time (Is Here Again)). These two are comedy records and wouldn’t be out of place on a Bonzo Dog album or a Monty Python album. These are part of the same comedy soup that Python came from.
There have been rumors over the years that these will be issued on CD, but I can see why they haven’t been. These aren’t what people would think of when they think “Beatles.” There’s music in them — the band busks on various Christmas songs — but by and large they’re spoken-word albums. There’s not a lot of commercial potential to these.
The “Christmas Time (Is Here Again}” on the Free As a Bird single isn’t the 1967 Christmas record, by the way. It’s part of what they released on the Christmas record that year, but they chopped it up and used it as a backdrop to an extended skit.