A Very Beatles Christmas: The Beatles' Annual Christmas Messages, "Happy Xmas," "Wonderful Christmastime" and More
Christmas time is here again!
So sang the Beatles on their 1967 Christmas record of the same name, one of several now-collectable flexi-discs issued annually to members of the band's official fan clubs in the U.K. and U.S.
The records, which often were mini-masterpieces in their own right (1966 and 1967 in particular), featured spoken and musical messages from all four members of the band. They started in 1963, when all four band members recorded the message in the same studio at the same time, and ended in 1969, when each Beatle basically phoned in his part from who knows where.
As a final holiday gift to the fans, a Christmas compilation album—From Them to You in the U.K., The Beatles' Christmas Album in the U.S.—was issued in December 1970, a few months after the band had officially called it a day.
Below, we've gathered all seven Beatles Christmas records—plus Christmas and/or holiday tunes by all four solo Beatles from 1971 to 2012, plus a bonus track of sorts.
By the way, the only Beatle to record an entire Christmas album is Ringo Starr, who released I Wanna Be Santa Claus in 1999. To keep things simple (and generally pleasing for everyone involved), we've included only the title track.
Below, you have the makings of a very Beatles Christmas. Use it with caution!
1963: The Beatles' Christmas Record
1964: Another Beatles Christmas Record
1965: The Beatles' Third Christmas Record
1966: The Beatles' Fourth Christmas Record — Pantomime: Everywhere It's Christmas
1967: Christmas Time Is Here Again!
1968: The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record
This one features Tiny Tim.
1969: The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record: Happy Christmas 1969
1971: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"
1974: George Harrison, "Ding Dong, Ding Dong"
This one features Ringo Starr on drums and Alvin Lee of Ten Years After on guitar. Although it's not exactly a Christmas song, it's a holiday tune that was released as a single in December 1974. It's also on Harrison's Dark Horse album.
1979: Paul McCartney, "Wonderful Christmastime"
Even though this single was attributed to Paul McCartney, the Back to the Egg lineup of Wings can be seen in the video — including master fingerstyle guitarist Laurence Juber.
1999: Ringo Starr, "I Wanna Be Santa Claus"
2012: Paul McCartney, "The Christmas Song"
2014: Richard Cruz Jr., "Wish You a Merry Merry Christmas"
Last year, Richard Cruz Jr. of Wolftrane (formerly of Carvin Amps) took a 45-year-old unfinished Beatles Christmas song idea and added lyrics and a bridge, making a complete song out of McCartney's off-the-cuff lyrics (which can heard in the Beatles' 1969 Christmas message above). This track was recorded at Attic Recording in Escondido, California, last November. Enjoy!