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December 22, 2006


Beatles Fan Club Christmas Records
The Beatles recorded seven special members-only singles at Christmas for their fan club members, from 1963 to 1969. They have not, to my best knowledge, ever been commercially released or circulated past their original one-time fan club issuance.

They're not really songs, but odd spoken word recordings that give an interesting angle on their evolving worldview. Their first one was a fairly straightforward cheerful open letter to their fans. They were saying hello, giving FAQs.

The first few are something like a Beatles year in review, high points from their professional year, a few jokes, and a couple of bars of classic Christmas songs here and there. The vaudevillian traditions of the English music halls came out in some of their sentimental jokey gimmickry.

As they got further into their career, their Christmas greetings turned into surreal little free association plays, precursors of the dark stream of consciousness that is the Firesign Theatre. By the last couple, they were degenerating from any sort of story element to experimental sound collages (Think "Revolution 9").

As a sign of their sickness, note that 1968 features a guest appearance by Tiny Tim with his ukelele doing a verse of "Nowhere Man."

In essence, these were quickie things that they slapped out, but during these prime Beatle years, they had so much creativity pouring out of them that even their most passing efforts had lots of interesting quirks. These recordings played back to back provide an interesting capsulation of their broader evolving Beatle moods.

It ain't Christmas for a Beatle fan without these seven classic recordings.



John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Richard Starkey, George Harrison


posted by Al at 12/22/2006 10:46:00 PM

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