“Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” is a song by The Beatles which was also a B-side to a single release in 1995. There are not many songs that give credit to Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey but this one does.
Format: 7″ single B-side (A-side is “Free as a Bird“) vinyl, CD x 4 tracks
Recorded: 28th November, 1967
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Pop rock
Track Duration: 3:03 (Single) 6:07 (Full version)
Record Label: Apple Records 58497
Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Richard Starkey
Producer: George Martin
7-inch single (B-side)
CD x 4 tracks
Fan Club Release (1967)
Christmas Time (Is Here Again)
To begin with, from 1963 to 1969, members of The Beatles’ official fan clubs in the UK would receive a Christmas message from the Fab Four via a flexi-disc. However, prior to 1968, American members only got a postcard message. So, the American fans never got The Beatles’ 1967 “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” flexi-disc. Be that as it may, the Anthology project from the mid 1990s corrects this in some way.
In 1995, some 25 years after The Beatles disbanded, we saw the release of the first single from them containing new material. This came about after Yoko Ono gave the surviving Beatles some of John Lennon’s home demos on a cassette tape during 1994. Although the recordings were of poor quality, they did manage to clean them up to an acceptable standard. As a result, they released the “Free as a Bird” single together with this 1967 Christmas song on the B-side.
The original 1967 flexi-disc was over 6 minutes long but after editing for the 1995 single this became 3:03. The song title “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” serves as a refrain throughout.
The Beatles made so much music together and they certainly had fun in the recording studio. In particular, they really enjoyed making their Christmas messages to their fans at the Abbey Road Studios. The full 1967 Christmas message on flexi-disc was also an edit of the entire recording (6:37) from the 28th November, 1967. Editing that was necessary in order to make the disc suitable for fans of all ages.
The full version starts with a light-hearted tune to begin with. Then tells a tale where The Beatles arrive at a fictional BBC Radio building for auditions. They play the part of various characters such as game show contestants and actors in radio drama. At one point they go into the roll of aspiring musicians while they perform a brief version of “Plenty of Jam Jars” by “The Ravellers”.
There is also a fictitious advert for the equally fictional “Wonderlust”. The song then ends with John Lennon reading one of his “nonsense poems” over the tune of “Auld Lang Syne”. The only other Beatles’ song that comes close to this flexi-disc Christmas special would be “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” from the same year. All in all, this is The Beatles letting their mop-tops down!