New Beatles Box Set Collects Their Christmas Records
The Beatles' collectible holiday records for fan club members will be reissued in a new limited-edition box.
The set, which is titled The Christmas Records, is due on Dec. 15. It will include all seven holiday releases on 7" vinyl, the original artwork and a booklet insert with vintage material from the fan club newsletters. Pre-ordering is already underway.
Originally pressed in the old 7" flexidisc format, the records – featuring skits, music and special greetings from the Beatles – arrived every year from 1963-69. When the band broke up, a compilation LP was sent to fan club members in 1970.
The anniversary reissue of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band will also be available in additional formats beginning on Dec. 15. The deluxe edition arrives in hi-def digital audio form, and the stereo mix will be released in two 1-LP vinyl editions – 180-gram and picture disc.
Various bootlegs of the Beatles' holiday material have circulated over the years, among them Christmas Reflections and Happy Michaelmas. Before The Christmas Records, however, none of this had ever been officially released to the general public – except for an edited version of 1967's "Christmas Time (Is Here Again)" that was included as a B-side in the mid-'90s as part of the Anthology project. (Ringo Starr also recorded a solo version of "Christmas Time Is Here Again" for his 1999 holiday album, I Wanna Be Santa Claus.)
The group began in 1963 with The Beatles' Christmas Record, which is highlighted by several takes on the traditional song "Good King Wenceslas," as well as a humorous closing chorus of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo." Another Beatles Christmas Record, released the following year, was the second of three straight to be scripted by Tony Barrow – a press officer who spearheaded the fan club initiative.
The Beatles read an original poem called "Christmas Comes but Once a Year" on 1965's Third Christmas Record, recorded 1966's Fourth Christmas Record between sessions for "Strawberry Fields Forever," and developed a theme involving talent-show auditions for 1967's Christmas Time Is Here Again!
That would be the last of the band's collaborative efforts. Both The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record and 1969's Seventh Christmas Record found the individual members recording their messages separately.