Monday, December 19, 2016
THE BEATLES FAN CLUB CHRISTMAS RECORDS
Between 1963 and 1969 The Beatles issued special Christmas message records to their fan club members. They were issued on Flexi-Discs, which are records pressed on a thin plastic sheet. Less durable than a traditional vinyl record, but cheap and easy to distribute. Here's a video by a kind of douchy guy that explains what a Flexi-Disc is:
During the holiday season we like to play all of these records on the morning show, because they're fun curiosities, but also because you can actually hear the band changing through the years. On the first one they're happy go lucky and excited by all the success, but by 66 and 67 they were at the peak of their studio innovation, and they produced scripted skits with sound effects. The final two years illustrate the band fracturing, though not overtly. Each member recorded their own messages with no involvement from the others. By 1970, the final year that they issued a Christmas record, they just put out an anthology of all the Flexi-Discs on an LP.
The original Flexi-Discs are pretty expensive to find, but you can find the 1970 album at decent prices if you aren't too picky about condition. There are also quite a few bootlegs out there, and some of them even have outtakes from the Christmas sessions. Finally, there's good ol' YouTube, which is where we're finding the source material for this post. Enjoy!