XMAS BONUS: “Christmas Time is Here Again” by the Beatles
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As we're in the period between Christmas and New Year, the gap between episodes is going to be longer than normal, and the podcast proper is going to be back on January the ninth. So nobody has to wait around for another fortnight for a new episode, I thought I'd upload some old Patreon bonus episodes to fill the gap. Every year around Christmas the bonus episodes I do tend to be on Christmas songs and so this week I'm uploading three of those. These are older episodes, so don't have the same production values as more recent episodes, and are also shorter than more recent bonuses, but I hope they're still worth listening to. Hello, and welcome to this week's second Patreon bonus episode. I'm recording this on December the twenty-third, so whether you hear this before Christmas is largely down to how quickly we can get the main episode edited and uploaded. Hopefully, this is going up on Christmas Eve and you're all feeling appropriately festive. Normally for the Patreon bonuses in the last week of December I choose a particularly Christmassy record from the time period we're covering in the main podcast -- usually a perennial Christmas hit like something off the Phil Spector Christmas album or the Elvis Christmas album. However, this year we're in the mid sixties, a period when none of the big hits of US or UK Christmas music were released, because it's after the peak of US Christmas music and before the peak of UK Christmas music. There were Christmas albums by people like James Brown, but they weren't major parts of the discography. So today, we're going to have a brief run-through of the Beatles' Christmas records. These were flexi-discs -- which for those of you who are too young to remember them were records pressed on very, very, thin, cheap plastic, which used to be attached to things like kids' comics or cereal boxes as promotional gimmicks -- sent out to members of the group's fan club. In a way, these were the Beatles' very own Patreon bonuses, sent out to fans and supporters, and not essential works, but hopefully interesting and fun. They very rarely had anything like a full song, being mostly made up of sketches and recorded messages, and other than a limited-edition vinyl reissue a few years back they've never been put on general release -- though one song from the discs, "Christmas Time is Here Again", *was* released as a B-side of the CD single of "Free as A Bird" in 1995: [Excerpt: The Beatles, "Christmas Time is Here Again"] Other than that, the Christmas records remain one of those parts of the Beatles catalogue which have never seen a proper widespread release. The first record was made on October the 17th 1963, at the same recording session as "I Want to Hold Your Hand", at the instigation of Tony Barrow, the group's publicist, who also came up with a script for the group to depart from: [Excerpt, the Beatles' first Christmas record] Barrow apparently edited the recording himself, using scissors and tape, and much of that was just taking out the swearing. Incidentally, I've seen some American sources talking about the word "Crimble" being a word that the Beatles made up themselves, but it's actually a fairly standard bit of Scouse slang. The second Christmas record was recorded at the end of the sessions for Beatles For Sale and was much the same kind of thing, though this time they incorporated sound effects: [Excerpt: The Beatles' Second Christmas Record] That was never sent to American fans. Instead, they got a cardboard copy of an edited version of the first record (it's possible to make records out of cardboard, but they can only be played a handful of times). They wouldn't get another Christmas record until 1968, though British fans kept receiving them. The third record sees the group parodying other people's hits, including a brief rendition of "It's the Same Old Song" interrupted by George Harrison saying they can't sing it because of copyright, and an attempt to sing Barry McGuire'
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