The Beatles’ Christmas Records

Between 1963 and 1969 The Beatles released seven Christmas records exclusively to their UK and US fan club members.

1963 : The Beatles’ Christmas Record
1964 : Another Beatles Christmas Record
1965 : The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record
1966 : Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas
1967 : Christmas Time Is Here Again!
1968 : The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas Record
1969 : Happy Christmas 1969

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The format for the 1963 to 1965 records is largely the same – mostly spoken word and featuring The Beatles thanking their fans, attempting several improvised and ad-libbed versions of well-known Christmas songs (‘Good King Wenceslass’, ‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Auld Lang Syne’, etc.) and generally goofing around.

Later records got a little more creative – Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas (1966) is a series of skits and sketches linked by a repeated original song fragment (“Everywhere it’s Christmas at the end of every year…”). Christmas Time Is Here Again! (1967) is again built around an original song and includes The Beatles playing several characters singing songs (‘Plenty of jam jars’), acting a radio drama (‘Theatre Hour’) and reading poems (John’s ‘When Christmas Time Is Over).

Contributions for The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas record were recorded separately. Paul sings what is probably an improvised Christmas song (‘Happy Christmas, Happy New Year’) and John reads a couple of his poems (‘Jock and Yono’ and ‘Once Upon a Pool Table’). George’s section was recorded in Los Angeles and includes a unique rendition of ‘Nowhere Man’ by Tiny Tim. Ringo’s contribution is a slightly anarchic skit with little apparent connection to Christmas.

The final Beatles Christmas record Happy Christmas 1969 was also recorded separately as the band had effectively split up by Autumn 1969. John and Yoko feature heavily, Paul sings another improvised song (‘This is to Wish You a Merry, Merry Christmas’) but George and Ringo hardly feature (Ringo’s only real contribution is a crass attempt to plug his then-current film ‘The Magic Christian’).

In 1970 the British and US fan clubs issued compilations of all seven Christmas records with different sleeves and titles but identical content.

None of the Christmas records have been officially released but an edited clip from the 1963 record is used in the closing credits to the 2016 film The Beatles: Eight Days A Week – The Touring Years.

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1963: The Beatles’ Christmas Record
Recorded: 17 October 1963 at Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Writer / Producer: Tony Barrow

1964: Another Beatles Christmas Record
Recorded: 26 October 1964 at Studio Two Abbey Road
Writer / Producer: Tony Barrow

1965: The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record
Recorded: 8 November 1965 at Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Writer: Tony Barrow, The Beatles
Producer: Tony Barrow

1966: Pantomime: Everywhere It’s Christmas
Recorded: 25 November 1966 at Dick James Music
Writer: The Beatles
Producer: George Martin

1967: Christmas Time Is Here Again!
Recorded: 28 November 1967 at Studio Three EMI Studios, London
Writer: The Beatles
Producer: George Martin

1968: The Beatles’ 1968 Christmas Record
Recorded: November–December 1968 at various locations
Writer: The Beatles
Producer: Kenny Everett

1969: Happy Christmas 1969
Recorded: November–December 1969 at various locations
Writer: The Beatles
Producer: Kenny Everett

Source: Wikipedia

Posted by: Beatlelists

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Candlestick Park ’66 setlist

50 years ago today, on 29 August 1966, The Beatles played their last live gig at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. This is what they played:

Rock and Roll Music
She’s A woman
If I Needed Someone
Day Tripper
Baby’s In Black
I Feel Fine
Yesterday
I Wanna Be Your Man
Nowhere Man
Paperback Writer
Long Tall Sally

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Sources:  Beatles Bible  /  Setlist.com

Posted by: Beatle Lists

The Glyn Johns “Get Back” Compilations

Glyn Johns compiled four known versions of material from the January 1969 Get Back / Let It Be sessions.

First Version: compiled circa late-January 1969

Side One: Get Back / Teddy Boy / Two Of Us / Dig A Pony / I’ve Got A Feeling

Side Two: The And Winding Road / Let It Be / Don’t Let Me Down / For You Blue / Get Back / The Walk

Second Version: compiled April/early-May 1969

Side One: One After 909 / Rocker / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down / Dig A Pony / I’ve Got A Feeling / Get Back

Side Two: For You Blue / Teddy Boy / Two Of Us / Maggie Mae / Dig It / Let It Be / The Long And Winding Road / Get Back (Reprise)

Third Version: compiled 15 and 28 May 1969

Side One: One After 909 / Rocker / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down / Dig A Pony / I’ve Got A Feeling / Get Back

Side Two: For You Blue / Teddy Boy / Two Of Us / Maggie Mae / Dig It / Let It Be / The Long And Winding Road / Get Back (Reprise)

Fourth Version: compiled December 1969 – January 1970

Side One: One After 909 / Rocker / Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down / Dig A Pony / I’ve Got A Feeling / Get Back / Let It Be

Side Two: For You Blue / Two Of Us / Maggie Mae / Dig It / The Long And Winding Road / I Me Mine / Across The Universe / Get Back (Reprise)

Glyn Johns was the engineer and producer hired by The Beatles in January 1969 to work on the project that was eventually released in 1970 as the album and film Let It Be.  The sessions had started with no real title or overriding concept but at some point during (or possibly after) the process they became known by the title Get Back. Johns is known to have compiled at least four collections of recordings during and after these sessions.

Johns‘ first compilation may have been put together as early as 29 January 1969 and differs from subsequent versions in that it includes two complete takes of Get Back and a version of Jimmy McCracklin’s The Walk, but it omits One After 909 and Dig It. It was almost certainly not intended for release and was more likely a ‘reference’ to allow The Beatles to hear how the tracks sounded on record. This compilation formed the basis of the first known Beatles bootleg towards the end of 1969 under the title Kum Back.

The second Glyn Johns compilation was assembled in early March 1969 and it’s probably the first the be mixed and compiled with a view to possible release. The track list of this version formed the basic template for the two subsequent compilations by including One After 909, Rocker , The Last Dance For Me and the short closing reprise of Get Back. All known bootlegs of this compilation sound in mono but only feature one channel of the original stereo mix.

The third Get Back compilation was mixed and compiled by Glyn Johns on 15 and 28 May 1969. The track list is identical to the second version but a number of differences occur in the actual mix, the most significant being the replacement of Johns’ earlier mix of Get Back with his and Paul McCartney’s April 1969 single mix (but with different introductory chat). Elsewhere, a few bits of dialogue are amended and just over a minute is trimmed from the beginning of Dig It. Although ultimately unreleased, Beatles connoisseurs generally consider this to be the definitive version of the Get Back album.

The fourth and final unreleased version of Get Back  was mixed and assembled by Glyn Johns on 5 January 1970. It differs from the three earlier versions in that it omits Teddy Boy whilst including the newly recorded I Me Mine and a remix of Across The Universe. Neither of these last two tracks originate from the January 1969 Get Back sessions but the inclusion of rough versions in the final cut of the Let It Be film necessitated their addition to the accompanying soundtrack album. The other major difference is the new vocal overdub on For You Blue, although this mix curiously still includes parts of the original vocal. Something close to this version of the album may have received an official release had John Lennon not invited Phil Spector to clean up and ‘reproduce’ the original Get Back tapes in March 1970.

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This illustration shows artwork from several bootlegs of Get Back material. With one possible exception these are all unofficial and unauthorised designs and the actual recordings represented on these records/CDs/downloads include a mixture of Twickenham and Apple rehearsals from nagra tapes and Apple multi-track recordings. The main cover shown here pastiches Angus McBean‘s 1963 Please Please Me cover shot and typography and this, or something close to it, may have been prepared in anticipation of an official release of Glyn Johns‘ final compilation.

Source: The Beatle Source

Posted by: Beatle Lists

The British EPs

The Beatles’ core catalogue includes 13 EPs

Twist and Shout
Twist and Shout / A Taste of Honey b/w Do You Want To Know a Secret / There’s A Place
Parlophone GEP 8882 (12 July 1963)

The Beatles’ Hits
From Me To You / Thank You Girl b/w Please Please Me / Love Me Do
Parlophone GEP 8880 (6 September 1963)

Beatles No.1
I Saw Her Standing There / Misery b/w Anna (Go To Him) / Chains
Parlophone GEP 8883 (1 November 1963)

All My Loving
All My Loving / Ask Me Why b/w Money (That’s What I Want) / P.S. I Love You
Parlophone GEP 8891 (7 February 1964)

Long Tall Sally
Long Tall Sally / I Call You Name b/w Slow Dowm / Matchbox
Parlophone GEP 8913 (19 June 1964)

Extracts from the film A Hard Day’s Night
I Should Have Known Better / If I Fell b/w Tell Me Why / And I Love Her
Parlophone GEP 8920 (4 November 1964)

Extracts from the album A Hard Day’s Night
Any Time At All / I’ll Cry Instead b/w Things We Said Today / When I Get Home
Parlophone GEP 8924 (6 November 1964)

Beatles For Sale
No Reply / I’m A Loser b/w Rock and Roll Music / Eight Days A Week
Parlophone GEP 9831 (6 April 1965)

Beatles For Sale No.2
I’ll Follow The Sun / Baby’s In Black b/w Words Of Love / I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party
Parlophone GEP 8938 (4 June 1965)

The Beatles’ Million Sellers
She Loves You / I Want To Hold Your Hand b/w Can’t Buy Me Love / I Feel Fine
Parlophone GEP 8946 (6 December 1965)

Yesterday
Yesterday / Act Naturally b/w You Like Me Too Much / It’s Only Love
Parlophone GEP 8948 (4 March 1966)

Nowhere Man
Nowhere Man / Drive My Car b/w Michelle / You Won’t See Me
Parlophone GEP 8952 (8 July 1966)

Magical Mystery Tour
Disc 1: Magical Mystery Tour / Your Mother Should Know b/w I Am The Walrus
Disc 2: The Fool On The Hill / Flying b/w Blue Jay Way
Parlophone SMMT1 (8 December 1967)

These EPs are 7″ vinyl ‘extended play’ records running at 33⅓ rpm and sit alongside the standard Beatles discography of LPs and singles. They typically containing four tracks from the most recent Beatles album and occasionally include a contemporaneous single. Long Tall Sally was the first Beatles EP to contain exclusively new material and Magical Mystery Tour, issued as two discs in 1967, was the last EP in their core catalogue.

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EPs might have been an additional means of promoting, or a budget alternative to, existing full-length albums but the release dates may suggest otherwise. The two EPs featuring extracts from A Hard Day’s Night weren’t released until four months after the album of the same name. Similarly the two Beatles For Sale EPs were issued four and six months after their source album and both the Yesterday and Nowhere Man EPs emerged a full seven months after their respective parent albums Help! and Rubber Soul.

Given the high turnover of Beatles releases up to mid-1966 it doesn’t seem likely that Parlophone would still be aggressively promoting existing albums when new product was already completed and being readied for release. Indeed, in most of the instances stated above, a brand new full-length Beatles album would appear within little more than a month of the EPs (two months in the case of the Beatles For a Sale No.2 EP and Help! album).

Source: Wikipedia

Posted by Beatle Lists

Top five in the USA

Billboard Hot 100: 4 April 1964

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One of the more remarkable achievements of The Beatles‘ early years occurred on 4 April 1964 when they held the top five places in the US Billboard chart. What’s interesting is that only two of these singles were on the Capitol label – the US arm of EMIThe Beatles‘ British label.

Please Please Me had been The Beatles‘ first US single on the Vee Jay label in early 1963 after Capitol chose not to exercise first refusal on the option offered by EMI for US release. Similarly, She Loves You had been licensed by EMI to Swan Records later in 1963. Neither single bothered the Billboard chart until the success of I Want To Hold Your Hand boosted their initial modest sales (and prompted Vee Jay to issue Twist And Shout on their Tollie imprint) in early-1964. Can’t Buy Me Love, Capitol‘s second Beatles single, completed the monopolisation of the top five – an achievement that remains unmatched in the United States to date.

Source: Billboard

Posted by Beatle Lists

The height of Beatlemania!

Just how tall were The Beatles?

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Sources tend to vary as to the actual heights of the individual Beatles, but these are the numbers that appeared on their first Parlophone press biog in late-1962. The same press release also revealed that Paul’s favourite food was “steak and chips”, John’s hates were “thickheads and traditional jazz”, George’s favourite companion was “girls” and Ringo’s ambition was “to get to the top”!

Source: Bill Harry “The Book of Beatle Lists” 1985
Inspiration: Tony Traguardo

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Harrisongs!

George Harrison songs that appear in the core Beatles catalogue:

1963
Don’t Bother Me on With The Beatles

1965
I Need You on Help!
You Like Me Too Much on Help!
Think For Yourself on Rubber Soul
If I Needed Someone on Rubber Soul

1966
Taxman on Revolver
Love You To on Revolver
I Want To Tell You on Revolver

1967
Within You Without You on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Blue Jay Way on the Magical Mystery Tour double-EP (and later on the LP)

1968
The Inner Light on the b-side of Lady Madonna
While My Guitar Gently Weeps on The Beatles
Piggies on The Beatles
Long, Long, Long on The Beatles
Savoy Truffle on The Beatles

1969
Only A Northern Song on Yellow Submarine
It’s All Too Much on Yellow Submarine
Old Brown Shoe on the b-side of The Ballad Of John and Yoko
Something on Abbey Road and on a single b/w Come Together
Here Comes The Sun on Abbey Road

1970
I Me Mine on Let It Be
For You Blue on Let It Be

George Harrison wrote a total of 22 songs in The Beatles’ core catalogue, representing just over 10% of their total output of original songs.

1968 and 1969 were his most productive years with five songs each, although ’69 is a somewhat misleading – Only A Northern Song and It’s All Too Much were actually recorded in 1967 whereas For You Blue, released in 1970, originates from the January 1969 Get Back sessions. Whilst I Me Mine also featured in the Get Back sessions, the released recording originates from a 3 January 1970 session.

In addition, he is credited as co-writer with Lennon, McCartney and Starkey on Flying (1967 – Magical Mystery Tour) and Dig It (1970 – Let It be) and co-arranger on the traditional Maggie Mae (1970 – Let It be).

This list does not include several songs recorded or demoed with The Beatles but not released in their core catalogue, although a number of these were later issued on the Anthology CDs.

Source:
Wikipedia

I’ve Got A Beatles Podcast

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George Harrison during the Get Back / Let It Be sessions in January 1969.

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Grammy Awards

The Beatles and their associates received the following Grammy awards:

13 April 1965
Best new artist of 1964: The Beatles
Best performance by a vocal group: The Beatles for A Hard Day’s Night

2 March 1967
Song of the year: John Lennon and Paul McCartney (songwriters) for Michelle performed by The Beatles
Best album cover, graphic arts: Klaus Voormann (graphic artist) for Revolver performed by The Beatles
Best contemporary (R&R) solo vocal performance, male or female: Paul McCartney for Eleanor Rigby

21 February 1968
Album of the year: The Beatles and George Martin (producer) for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Best album cover, graphic arts: Jann Howarth and Peter Blake (art directors) for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band performed by The Beatles
Best contemporary album: George Martin (producer) and The Beatles for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Best engineered recording, non-classical: Geoff Emerick (engineer) for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band performed by The Beatles

11 March 1970
Best engineered recording, non-classical: Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald (engineers) for Abbey Road performed by The Beatles

16 March 1971
Best original score written for a motion picture or television special: George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr (composers) for Let It Be performed by The Beatles

26 February 1997
Best music video, short form: Vincent Joliet (video producer), Joe Pytka (video director) & The Beatles for Free as a Bird
Best music video, long form: Chips Chipperfield, Neil Aspinall (video producers), Bob Smeaton, Geoff Wonfor (video directors) & The Beatles for The Beatles Anthology
Best pop performance by a duo or group with vocals: The Beatles for Free As A Bird

26 January 2014
Lifetime Achievement Award: The Beatles

The Grammy Awards are the premier American music awards presented annually by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences since 1959. Given their ubiquity in the American charts through most of the 1960s it’s surprising that The Beatles won relatively few Grammys for their work during that decade.

This list includes several collaborators – producers, engineers, designers – who  received awards for their contributions to The Beatles’ US catalogue and awards given to individual Beatles for their work on Group projects. It does not include awards for The Beatles’ solo releases from the early-70s onwards.

The Anthology and related releases resulted in belated awards in the late-90s and The Beatles received a long-overdue Lifetime Achievement award in 2014.

Sources:
Grammy.com
Wikipedia

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EMI trade ad circa early-1965 congratulating The Beatles in their 1964 Grammys

Posted by Beatle Lists

Songs performed at the NME Poll Winners Concerts

The New Musical Express (NME) was one of the major British weekly music publications throughout the 1960s (and beyond into its heyday in the ’70s and ’80s). The Beatles featured regularly in its annual poll and played at the Poll Winners Concert on four occasions.

21 April 1963
Please Please Me, From Me To You, Twist And Shout, Long Tall Sally.

26 April 1964
She Loves You, You Can’t Do That, Twist And Shout, Long Tall Sally, Can’t Buy Me Love.

11 April 1965
I Feel Fine, She’s A Woman, Baby’s In Black, Ticket To Ride, Long Tall Sally.

1 May 1966
I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man, Day Tripper, If I Needed Someone, I’m Down.

The concerts took place at the Empire Pool, Wembley (now the Wembley Arena) and could be seen as the precursors to the Brit Awards that became popular from the late-80s (the US equivalent would be the longer-established Grammys). The Beatles’ performances from ’64 and ’65 were filmed and broadcast by ABC TV in the UK.

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The Beatles’ segment of the ’66 concert was not filmed after Brian Epstein failed to reach a contractual agreement with ABC (although the rest of the concert was filmed and broadcast).

The 1966 concert was The Beatles’ last scheduled live appearance in the UK.

Sources:
Bill Harry: “The Book of Beatle Lists” 1985
Beatles Bible

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