Looking back at The Beatles’ forgotten Christmas song

Considering the proliferation of The Beatles‘ creative output during their heyday, it’s slightly confusing that the band never truly attempted to cash in on the commercialism of Christmas. While the Fab Four seemed happy enough to crash out a film and album every year, they somehow avoided attempting to sell a ready-made banker in the form of a Christmas single.

Just ask Shakin Stevens or Jona Lewie about the power of Christmas sales. The two performers have rarely lifted their heads above the creative parapet since they each scored mammoth Christmas hits with ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ and ‘Stop the Cavalry’, respectively. Just think how many more cheques John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr could be cashing had they set their sights on the Christmas bonanza.

Of course, they didn’t do too badly without the what-would-become customary Christmas song to their name. When you consider that bands like The Beach Boys and The Four Seasons were happy to crank them out like cheap cracker jokes, it seems even more preposterous that the band would never attempt a specifically Christmas-related release. However, they did find time to provide a Yule tide treat for their devoted fan club.

Yes, in 1967, while the band were perhaps at their creative peak, the group released a Christmas treat for their fan club, remaining the only song they specifically wrote for Beatles Fan Club members. ‘Christmas Time (Is Here Again)’ was first recorded in 1966 and then refreshed the following year and released as an extra present for the members of the band’s fan club. The song was later released as part of the 1994 ‘Free As A Bird’ when the band’s three remaining members reunited for Anthology.

It’s a notable release for a few reasons. Not only did the song list all four members of the band as writers — an unusual moment in the group’s discography — but it also featured producer George Martin on vocals; all the while, the song interspersed with skits, parodies and a nonsense poem from John Lennon against the backdrop of ‘Auld Lang Syne’.

The release to the fan club would be the final Christmas release delivered by the band while all four were in the studio and can rightly be considered one of their last acts of utter unity.

Listen to The Beatles’ forgotten Christmas song, ‘Christmas Time (Is Here Again)’ below.

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