IT WAS A FESTIVE WAY of tracking the Beatles’ progress during their proprietary decade. Every Christmas, the Fabs’ fan club would send their army of screamers a flexi disc featuring a Christmas message from John, Paul, George and Ringo. Initially it was just some spoken words of thanks, albeit spiced with Goons-esque wit (“Hello, this is John speaking with his voice,” announces Lennon on the inaugural 1963 disc) but soon the discs incorporated music, sound collage and increasing levels of strangeness and (presumably unintended) autobiographical transparency. For instance, there is barely a more psychedelic Beatles recording than their 1968 Christmas message nor a more poignant indication of their impending dissolution than their desultory 1969 effort.
Now all seven fascinating recordings are being made available as seven 7-inch coloured vinyl singles in a limited edition box set, to be released worldwide on December 15. Each disc comes with its original sleeve artwork, and is accompanied by a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members along with the holiday flexis.
On the same date, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 2017’s package of acclaimed new stereo mix plus outtakes – rolls out in high definition digital audio (96kHz/24bit).
Additionally, there are two new single-vinyl editions: a 180-gram black vinyl LP and a limited, collectible picture disc version.
You can order The Beatles’ The Christmas Records box set here: http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/ChristmasRecords