Sunday, July 25, 2010

December 18, 2009: Happy Crimble!: The Complete Beatles’ X-Mas Records Part I

In December of 1963, UK kids received their biggest reward for joining the Beatles’ Official Fan Club: a flexi-disc arrived in the post containing messages of good will and “Happy Crimble” from the Fab Four. Each year throughout The Beatles’ all-too brief career, fan-club devotees received such a holiday record from their fave group. While original copies of these rare discs fetch as much as $500 today, their rather bizarre and often hilarious contents are readily available to anyone with an Internet connection. So, to get this holiday season started in a most Psychobabbley way, I’ve compiled full-length clips of the Complete Beatles’ X-Mas Records!

This week we'll be focusing on the records The Beatles put out during the first half of their career. Stay tuned when their entries for 1967 through 1970 are featured right here on Psychobabble next week...

For their first Holiday platter, dished out on December 6, 1963, The Beatles grunt “Good King Wenceslas” and whistle “God Save the Queen” as John Lennon gives a neat recap of the first phase of his band’s massive success and says “gear” more times than a John Lennon impersonator. Paul McCartney begs for a moratorium on Jelly Babies, Ringo Starr reprises “Wenceslas” like a lounge lizard, and George Harrison gets silly before all four fabs mangle “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” while plugging another famous schnozz into the lyrics.


It’s 1964 and Beatlemania has officially spread from the UK to the rest of the globe. Their recent discovery of Ms. Mary Jane seems to be the fuel on this Yule-log flame, as the banter is a bit more lackadaisical than on their first Holiday Record. Or perhaps they were just exhausted. They do sound as knackered as they looked on the cover of the recently released Beatles For Sale… well, at least until the brief but frenzied piano demolition that ends this year’s message.


The Beatles’ 1965 message gets started with a rowdy knees-up of their latest classic, “Yesterday”, before getting on to their usual heartfelt holiday messages. Taking some time out from recording Rubber Soul, John voices his appreciation for some rather original gifts he received from fans, then sings silly songs in an…ummm, I don’t know? Scottish accent? Next up is a reference to a George Harrison B-side that wouldn’t be released for another three years, a quick Four Tops parody, and a deranged version of “Auld Lang Sine” sung in the style of a Dylan anti-Vietnam War protest. Finally they all get sucked down some sort of reverb-laden vortex, no doubt gearing up for a New Year of acid experimentation and being bigger than that guy supposedly born on December 25th…


Not their most well-remembered holiday carol, “Everywhere It’s Christmas” (sung like Monty Python’s Upperclass Twit of the Year) begins the record shipped to fan club members in December, 1966. What follows is a far more elaborate production than those featured on previous holiday records, with the boys enacting a surreal holiday story complete with weird chorals and George’s memorable portrayal of Podgy the Bear.

On to Part II...
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