Beginning in 1963, the Beatles started a holiday tradition of recording Christmas messages for their fans. The recordings were edited and issued on flexi-discs through the Official Beatles Fan Club in London during the 1963 through 1969 holiday seasons. In 1970, the Fan Club compiled all of the previous Christmas messages on a long-playing album. In the spirit of the holidays, these trivia questions pertain to the Beatles Christmas recordings, with one for each of the 12 days of Christmas. The U.K. Christmas discs are covered in “Beatles For Sale on Parlophone Records” at pages 325 – 334, while the U.S. records are discussed in “The Beatles on Apple Records” at pages 207 – 223.
1. Who came up with the idea for the Beatles Christmas records?
2. What two traditional Christmas songs are featured on the first Beatles Christmas record from 1963?
3. What Christmas song opens the second Beatles Christmas from 1964?
4. On the 1964 disc, which Beatle mockingly lets listeners know he’s reading from a script?
5. During the third Christmas disc from 1965, the group repeatedly sings an off-key rendition of which Beatles song?
6. What hit by the Four Tops do the Beatles sing in the 1965 Christmas disc?
7. What is the name of the original Christmas song that opens and closes the Beatles 1966 Christmas disc?
8. What original Christmas tune appears on the 1967 Christmas disc and was released during the Anthology project?
9. Who was the first Beatle to design a sleeve for a Beatles Christmas disc and which two Beatles father and son teams contributed art to the covers of Beatles Christmas discs?
10. Which Beatle read a story opening with “Wonsaponatime there were two balloons named…” on the 1968 disc?
11. Who, at the request of George, sings a ukulele-backed version of “Nowhere Man” on the 1968 disc?
12. What movie does Ringo shamelessly plug on the 1969 record?
[expand REVEAL THE ANSWERS]
1. The Beatles Christmas records were conceived by Beatles publicist Tony Barrow, who also scripted the initial efforts.
2. The first Beatles Christmas disc featured the group singing “Good King Wenceslaus” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.”
3. The second Beatles Christmas disc opens with a version of “Jingle Bells” played with piano, kazoo and harmonica.
4. After thanking fans for buying his first book, John says “And there’s another one out pretty soon, it says here. Hope you buy that, too. It’ll be the usual rubbish, but it won’t cost much.”
5. The group sings off-key renditions of “Yesterday,” with the version towards the end of the record changing “Oh I believe in Yesterday” to “Oh bless you all on Christmas Day.”
6. After observing that last year the group was around the same old mike in the same old studio with the same old guitar and the same old faces, they sing a bit of the Four Tops hit “It’s The Same Old Song,” causing George to warn John about copyrights.
7. The Beatles perform the piano-driven tune “Everywhere It’s Christmas” to open and close their 1966 disc, which contains a series of short skits.
8. Bits of “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)” appear throughout the 1967 Christmas disc, with a more complete version being available on the “Free As A Bird” CD released as part of the Anthology project.
9. The sleeve for the 1966 Christmas disc was designed by Paul McCartney. The sleeve for the 1967 Christmas disc features art work by John and his son, Julian, with an assist from Ringo. The sleeve for the 1969 disc credits the artwork to Ringo and his son, Zak Starkey.
10. John reads a love story about he and Yoko that contains a not-so-subtle stab at the other Beatles, including them in a group described as “some of their beast friends.”
11. George introduces Tiny Tim of “Tip-Toe Through The Tulips” fame, who contributes a ukulele-backed version of “Nowhere Man.”
12. Ringo plugs his film “The Magic Christian,” which stars Peter Sellers.
1964 Sleeve / 1965 Sleeve / 1966 Sleeve
1967 Sleeve / 1968 Sleeve / 1969 Sleeve
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