The Beatles / The Christmas Records / new coloured vinyl box set

Annual Christmas ‘fab four’ fan club tomfoolery commemorated

Apple Corps and Universal Music will issue a new Beatles box set just in time for this Christmas. The Christmas Records is a vinyl box set that features seven coloured vinyl records. Each 45 features the Fab Four’s original festive messages, which were issued every year to the fan club on flexi-disc.

The Christmas messages were very much an annual tradition and ran from 1963 to 1969. They are largely spoken-word with lots of larking around, although 1967’s does feature Christmas Time (Is Here Again), which if you are feeling generous you could describe as a ‘song’!

These Christmas messages have been newly pressed as seven-inch coloured vinyl singles for this new ‘limited edition’ box set. It also comes with a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members with the holiday flexi-discs.

The Christmas Records box set will be released on 15 December 2017. A vinyl picture disc of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band will be issued on the same day.

Disc: 1
1. 1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” (one – 5:00 TRT) Recorded: 17 October 1963

Disc: 2
1. 1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” (one – 3:58 TRT) Recorded: 26 October 1964

Disc: 3
1. 1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” (one – 6:20 TRT) Recorded: 8 November 1965

Disc: 4
1. 1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:36 TRT) Recorded: 25 November 1966

Disc: 5
1. 1967: “Christmas Time (Is Here Again): The Beatles’ Fifth Christmas Record” (one – 6:06 TRT) Recorded: 28 November 1967

Disc: 6
1. 1968: “The Beatles’ Sixth Christmas Record” (two – 7:48 TRT) Recorded: 1968, various locations

Disc: 7
1. 1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” (two – 7:39 TRT) Recorded: 1969, various locations

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Geoff Kavanagh

Teresa Benson – check the playing speed of the single. Most likely that is the problem.

Geoff Kavanagh

Received my copy of this set (from Amazon UK) the middle of last week. It is a nice looking package but the only real reason to buy it is as a collectable. This is the first time that this set has been offered officially at the retail level. As for listening to this material, I will still be playing my CD from a number of years ago (it has all the outtakes and the long version of “Christmas Time is Here Again”). Once again a major label is leaving the market open for others to fill the requests of fans (and make money in the process).

Teresa Benson

Hi everyone this is my first post on here, I have just got around to playing my set of the Christmas records and to my horror the second record plays at the wrong speed slowed down so every ones voices sound really low, Not very happy for something that cost me £66, I was wondering if any one else had this problem with it too? I don’t know what to do.

Steve Morris

Just been told by Spin CD in Newcastle that Universal have cocked this up and it may not be available pre Christmas. Farcical.
Similarly the Donald Fagen ‘Cheap Christmas’ box appears to be delayed!!


Same happened to me Renato.


Ordered at jpc.de, today they refund me saying it’s unaveilable…

hendry doran

Got mine yesterday and opened the box just to check contents. All the 7″ still sealed.
Paul , any chance of you doing an unveiling similar to the McCartney coloured vinyl albums. I’m curious to know whether the newsletters have been reproduced but maybe you already know?


Today (release day): unavailable at both amazon.de and jpc.de. Strange! Finally found one (for 75 €, yikes!) at a local store here in Germany.


$72.00 US is a little steep!

Geoff Kavanagh

The set is now available again from amazon.co.uk (although the price has increased).
As to one of my other questions, according to Bruce Spizer, some of the discs were mastered from the original tapes for the singles while others were mastered from the tapes for the Christmas album.

Bobby's Dad

Couldn’t help myself…..
Just ordered the set from Amazon USA.
AU$109.04 inc. shipping to Oz.

[…] The Beatles / Superb Mono vinyl box is set to deliver the goodsSaturday Deluxe / 22 October 2016The Beatles / The Christmas Records / new coloured vinyl box set […]

Geoff Kavanagh

Here is some information for those who ordered this set from amazon.co.uk. The listing is still there but no suppliers are shown and it is not possible to place an order for the set. What happened? Are existing orders cancelled?


I think they just ran out of their allocation – orders should be safe.


Amazon’s US price hasn’t shifted from day one ($72.98). I’m thinking about bailing on my order with them now that Deep Discount has free shipping, a 10% off coupon, and an already-low price. The total ended up being $59.05 for me which is the lowest I’ve seen so far.


Excellent! I just ordered from there, £55. Great deal!


A bit late but I love this set.

Charles Hawtrey Esq.

Taking the piss (as usual). I’d rather R.E.M compile all their Christmas Fan Club singles in one place.

Carl Homes

Iv’e ordered it.
Is it good value for money?…No.
Is it something i will play all the time?…No.
Is it something missing from my various Beatles collection?…Yes
Does it look nice?…Yes.
Is it something i can play while putting up the Christmas decorations with my young son?…Yes.

“The best things in life are free
But you can keep ’em for the birds and bees”


All you need is cash.


Ah, but are there any actual songs worth having on this (cough!) ‘Limited Edition’ box set?

I love The Beatles’ music, but some would buy an album of Fab Four farts. Especially if it was on ‘Limited’ coloured vinyl. Apple and UMG can see ’em coming.

Joe Figliola

I have the Beatles Christmas LP, which I bought a long time ago for a pretty penny. I will definitely buy this box set as a companion piece. It’ll be great to have the records with their original sleeves, yet I wish that there were some bonus items on here, like the full “Christmas Time Is Here Again” tune, as well as any surviving outtakes/bloopers.

I understand what the CD people are going through. I wish I had a dollar for every time there was a great record that I wanted to buy back in the 1990s/early 2000s, but there was no vinyl version.

Phantom Stranger

Bootleg Christmas CDs are a dime-a-dozen right now on eBay. Which is exactly what I plan to go with, as I have no interest in an overpriced vinyl box.

This isn’t getting officially released on CD unless there is a hidden Record Store Day promo waiting for us.


Agree a CD version would be nice and could include a couple of out-takes and full Christmastime Is Here Again and the FAAB B-side edit.

Then again I have a bootleg CD that does just that

Ken Evans

A few of the posts sound like they are from folks who have not heard these – so, just for them —- Agreed it’s a ridiculous price but if you are into vinyl and not thrifty, and if you love Our Fabs and have never heard these they are absolutely wondrous. They actually held sessions to create these, the first two years were more of a lark but very much like their zany press conferences of the time. You can hear them mellowing out in 65 in a similar format to the early ones but the ones from 66 and 67 were full art projects befitting the time. The 66 one in particular is stunning in it’s creativity, greatly influenced by the Goons and completely foreshadowing of their future buddies the Pythons. (It’s not Xmas for me and mine without a round of “Who’ll remember the buns, Podgy?”) The 68 and 69 ones have their moments but were recorded completely separately by each of the four and stitched together. Paul’s bits on those were on-the-spot solo acoustic original Christmas songs of slight nature but that would fit in next to Blackbird and MNS but with less ambition.

Geoff Kavanagh

Some good points have been raised about the sound quality. Is there any word as to the source of the audio on the discs? Are they taken from vinyl? Similarly, what about the covers? Are they copies of the original covers or did they find the original elements? As a collector’s item they are the first commercial release but if the quality is not good, then they remain just as nice curio for the shelf.


Judging by the clicks on the promo video that are 1.8 seconds apart, I’m guessing they are sourced from the flexidiscs (60 seconds / 33.3rpm = 1.8 seconds)


I guess the chance of a Eurythmics set that collects all the fan-club flexi-discs would be close to zilch. Memory tells me there’s a few exclusive remixes on a couple.

Thomas Beattie

True Paul,
But I was joking.
You did have to be in the fan club, but it didn’t cost much to join so in reality since these records are just The Beatles messing around, If Apple wanted to release them in the spirit of the originals they could have slipped a CD of the Christmas album into both the Stereo and Mono boxsets as a freebie.
Does anyone who has heard them really think they are worth £66?

Charlie Waffles

I want the collection on cd, too.


Apple blew it. They should have done multiple formats. A CD for the masses, vinyl box set, and a deluxe box set featuring the vinyl INCLUDING the CD. At least they can’t be faulted for skipping the hi-res Blu-Ray surround remix by Steven Wilson. :)

Dr Volume

I can sort of see the logic in not making a CD (although clearly there is demand for one). It’s their quality control thing. With the best will in the world the recordings are pretty throwaway stuff, and if they compile it onto a CD (and put it up for streaming/download etc) then it sort of becomes part of the official canon. So this is a compromise which means diehard fans can get the Xmas discs again but they remain off-limits to the casual consumer who might feel a bit short-changed upon listening to 7 collages of rambling Beatle-speak, sound-FX, dodgy jokes and skits. Same reason they’re still holding out on the Let it Be movie, Carnival of Light etc. I bet Neil Aspinall will be turning in his grave regardless.

Stan Butler

Agree with the sentiment, but for the uninitiated there is a load of unofficial guff available on Amazon, whether it be radio broadcasts, ‘lost’ sessions, live concerts, picture discs and even a ‘Solid Gold Greatest Hits’. Reading some of the reviews you would doubt that the punters have little or any knowledge of the Beatles catalogue. These Christmas discs at least were authorised by the group. I’ll stick with the mp3s until a CD is released.

Disney Mike

I guess this is a good thing, but I’d be far more interested in getting this collection on CD, where I won’t ever have to worry about surface noise or mis-pressings.

Seth Onetooth

Mis-pressings would be authentic as at least half of the 1970 LP version pressings had the labels on the wrong sides.


Dear Apple, Please do the Beatles Christmas Album! It is the next logical step


If anyone at Apple/UMe is listening, add a CD, in a plain white sleeve, of all of the 45s to the box. Then sell the CD separately next year with different graphics and liner notes by Paul Sinclair (trying to get you some Beatles work.) All of the CD people will by the box now and not complain “vinyl only, no way” and those same people will then buy it again next year. Plus next year all those who did not want to spend for the box will get the CD. A win win for everyone and a very minor added cost to Apple/UMe — which I’m sure Sir Paul will allow them to deduct from his royalites.


Not a Beatles fan myself, but I’m sure the CD release in time for Xmas next year is all part of the “get them to buy it twice” process.

Thomas Beattie

Were these not freebies?
So In the true spirit of the originals they should cost £0.00

Larry Davis

This looks pretty cool but I will pass…however, if and when an official CD gets released by Apple/UMe with content of this particular bootleg…all the messages, full Christmas song, then each of the solo Beatle Christmas singles, all in one place, I’d buy THAT instantly!!

Seth Onetooth

at last, Plenty of Jam Jars by the Ravellers gets an official release! I have the 1970 issue LP compilation and one of the flexis. Although the presentation of these as coloured 45s looks very nice, like others, would prefer this on CD.


Can somebody please wake me up when or if they release a cd version.


I fell for the “limited edition” thing when buying the beatles number 1’s “limited edition” cd/ blu ray set, which they are still selling, but at half the price.

Craig H

Info for disc 4, which looks to have been truncated:

1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:36 TRT) Recorded: 25 November 1966


“Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in!”

Brian Burhans

This is very nice but not something I’ll be purchasing. A compact disc version, however, would be another story…

Stevie B

This current Amazon UK price will definitely not be the lowest that this set is offered, and if you hold your nerve and wait until the New Year (I have MP3s of these already if I want to hear them over Christmas 2017) then they could well go below £50. Releasing them initially as a vinyl box seems reasonable given the history of these recordings but I think it’s almost inevitable that there’ll be a CD (and probably 12in vinyl) replica of the 1970 From Them To Us fan club ‘album’ issue of these in a year or so.


Christmas Time (is here again) was included as an extra track on the Free as a Bird cd single, which can be picked up very cheaply secondhand.

Just in case anyone is desperate for that particular track.

Paul Murphy

That’s an edit. This looks to be the full version. Although Paul intimates calling it a song is of dubious provenance, I’ve always found it nigh impossible not to sing along with it, the catchy little thing. Apple could be wise men and make a video for it and get it in those endless ‘festive rundowns’ that will start any day now.


‘limited edition’, limited appeal?


Shame the box cover design looks absolutely naff :(

greg sinclair

I like that the design of the set looks period right and not buffed out to a 2017 sheen.
And price wise it’s a bit up there, but no where near the price of the real things. I expect pricing get better as the release gets closer.
Any clue as to how “limited” is limited?
I could imagine it truly being a smallish pressing, selling it out, only to repress next Christmas (by popular demand!) and at the same time releasing a CD (again, by popular demand!).

Brian Burhans

It’s true…the front cover artwork is atrocious.


Totally Overpriced!

Luckily I have all 7 Originals !

How do they Justify nearly £10 a single ?!


Wasn’t the Record Store Day Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever reissue single £14 last April?
At £10/record it’s a bargain lol ;)

Frenchy Eric

You have to be a huge fan to buy this box set !
Keeping my money for real music stuff and great deals like the recent amazon.de ones

Gis Bun

Sorry but almost $100 for 7 vinyl 7″ singles. Nope.
I would guess a CD box set maybe next year and then a single CD with all the Xmas CDs later.
They done the box set CD singles and then a compilation CD[s] for The Who, Marillion and others. So why not The Beatles.


I would also like to see The Beatles Christmas Box Set released on CD as well.

Ken Evans

I went from excited to disappointed in a few seconds when I clicked on this – no plans to put these on an official Apple remastered CD? I have had a few different bootleg discs of this which sound “ok” but have long hoped Apple would put these out.

frank h

wasnt sure if this is the same ken but did you live in michigan in the 90s? trying to reach you.


Hope the 1963 one is a replica with the gatefold and fold over, not just a standard cover like the rest. I only had a couple of flexis and sold them on eBay so might be interested in this. Thanks for the info.