Want a surreal Xmas treat? The Beatles’ annual Christmas records were dada, punk, and hipster rolled into one crazily irreverent, hilariously spoken and musical concoction produced on flexi discs and mailed to members of the official mop top fan-clubs in the U.K. and U.S. They were issued each year in limited editions from 1963 to 1969, with a compilation of all seven in 1970. Today they are almost all available on online here, here, here, and here (now find the rest on your own), with each successive year becoming less cheeky and more ribald—the un–Ed Sullivanized, not-youngsters Beatles.
The records were a means to “appease fan-club members whose letters, due to their sheer volume, were not always being answered in a timely manner.” The Beatles sent thanks to “loyal Beatle people” through exclusive scripted and unscripted comedy and impromptu songs. Here’s a brief excerpt:
Paul: Hello, everybody. This is Paul, and I’d just like to thank you all for buying our records during the past year. We know you’ve been buying ’em because the sales have been very good, you see. Don’t know where we’d be without you, really, though.
John: In the army, perhaps.
Paul: Oh, we hope you’ve enjoyed, listening to the records as much as we’ve enjoyed melting them. – No, no, no that’s wrong, – making them. We’re in No.2 studio at the moment, at EMI, taping this little message for you.
John: Yes, we are.
Paul: We are indeed. I just thought I’d make that… This is the same studio we’ve used all long, – since the old days of “Love Me Do” – many years ago it seems, doesn’t it?
John: Ah, those were the days…
Paul: Well, that’s about all, I think. Except, to wish you all a happy Christmas and a very new year. Now I’ll pass you over to John. – J.o.h.n!
John: John. John speakin’. Thanks all of you bought me book. Thank you folks for buying it. It was very handy. I notice there was another one out pretty soon. It says here. Hope you buy that, too. It’ll be the usual rubbish but it won’t cost much. You see, that’s the bargain we’re going to strike up. I write them in my spare time. It says here. It’s been a busy year…
Paul: Did you write this yourself?
John: No! It’s somebody’s bad handwriter. It’s been a busy year, Beatle peadles, one way and another. But it’s been a great year, too. You fans have seen to that. Page.2. (All laughing) Thanks alot folks and a hap-py, ah, Christmas and a merry goo-year. Krimble maybe. And I’ll hand you to George, who will spaek to you. -NOW!