- UK release date:
- Dec 15, 1967
- LYN 1360
More from year 1967
This album has been recorded during the following studio sessions
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Written by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, George Harrison
6:06 • Studio version • A
- Paul McCartney :
- Piano, Vocals
- Ringo Starr :
- Drums, Tap dancing, Vocals
- John Lennon :
- Bass drum, Vocals
- George Harrison :
- Acoustic guitar, Vocals
- George Martin :
- Producer, Vocals
- Geoff Emerick :
- Recording engineer
- Mal Evans :
- Spoken word
- Victor Spinetti :
- Tap dancing, Vocals
- Richard Lush :
- Second engineer
- Session Recording:
- Nov 28, 1967
- Studio :
- EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road
- Session Mixing:
- Nov 28, 1967
- Studio :
- EMI Studios, Studio Three, Abbey Road
An elaborate production, Christmas Time Is Here Again! was developed around the concept of several groups auditioning for a BBC radio show. The title song serves as a refrain throughout the record. The Beatles portray a multitude of characters, including game show contestants, aspiring musicians (“Plenty of Jam Jars”, by the Ravellers), and actors in a radio drama (“Theatre Hour”). At the end, Lennon reads a poem, “When Christmas Time Is Over.” This offering was likely a deliberate homage to/continuation of the broadly similar “Craig Torso” specials produced for BBC Radio 1 that same year by the Beatles’ friends and collaborators the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, and also shares much in common with their then-unreleased track “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)“, recorded six months previously.
While UK fans received a flexi-disc in an elaborate sleeve, North American fans received a postcard similar to that of 1966.
From Rolling Stone, December 13, 2020:
Now that the band had mastered their studio domain, the Beatles’ 1967 seasonal message – wrapped in a Sgt. Pepper–like collage of vintage photos created by Lennon and Starr – would be the apex of their Christmas recordings. Recorded back at Abbey Road’s Studio Two on November 28th during a nine-hour marathon session, “Christmas Time Is Here Again!” expands on the sketches of the previous year by adding the only performance among the Beatles’ holiday recordings that could safely be categorized as a proper “Christmas song.” The tune is little more than a holiday mantra, but the Beatles sell it through their full-throated commitment and a clever arrangement reminiscent of their new single, “Hello, Goodbye.” Lennon, ever fond of unusual count-ins (he can be heard intoning “Sugar plum fairy, sugar plum fairy” on early takes of “A Day in the Life”), introduces the song with a hastily exhaled “Interplanetary remix, take 444!” before a lushly multi-tracked chorus of Beatle voices remind listeners that Christmas time is indeed here again.
The plot, scripted by the band the day before, makes about as much sense as “Everywhere It’s Christmas.” The story begins with the Beatles portraying a fictitious group called the Ravellers, on a quest to audition for the BBC. Once they’ve made it past the gatekeeper (played by their friend Victor Spinetti, who had appeared in A Hard Day’s Night, Help! and the yet-to-be-released Magical Mystery Tour) they perform a tap-dance in the “fluffy rehearsal room.” From there it all becomes a bit difficult to follow as the record fades into a fever dream of fractured broadcast clichés including jingles (“Wonderlust for your trousers!”), a noir radio drama called Theater Hour and a game show where the grand prize is a trip to Denver and automatic appointment to “independent candidate for Paddington.” The Ravellers, having apparently passed the audition, return to croon a tune about jam jars across the airwaves for the benefit of injured woman in Blackpool.
A haze of maniacal echo-drenched laughter gives way to the regal voice of George Martin, addressing fans for the first time on the disc. “They’d like to thank you for a wonderful year,” he says with the tone of a kindly but exasperated schoolteacher, before the students repeat his words with mock reverence. Lennon signs off with a Goonish original poem, a sort of lonely Christmas “Jabberwocky” delivered in a thick Scottish brogue over the sound of a wintery gale. “When the beasty brangom button to the heather and little inn,” he says while “Auld Lang Syne” plays softly. “And be strattened oot in ma-tether to yer arms once back again. Och away, ye bonnie.” So ends the Beatles’ last documented recording of their extraordinary year. It would also be the final Christmas disc recorded together by the group as a unit.
Beatles ‘Magic’ disc-book held up, gold ‘Hello’, Traffic cut from TV
RELEASE of the Beatles’ “Magical Mystery Tour” disc-book package has been delayed by one week until this Friday (8th), because EMI has been overwhelmed by 400,000 advance orders. The main hold-up has been the book, which is more difficult to reprint than the pressing of additional records. However, 750,000 copies have now been supplied and distribution is in full swing. Provided there is no disruption due to the rail go-slow earlier this week, all advance orders should be met by this weekend.
Meanwhile, American sales of the “Hello Goodbye” single — it is No. 7 in “Cash Box” and No. 8 in “Billboard” this week — passed 900,000 on Tuesday, and were expected to have reached the million mark by today (Friday). In this country sales were nearing half a million on Wednesday.
Transmission details of the “Mystery Tour” TV spectacular are to be announced within the next few days. Meanwhile it was learned this week that Traffic’s contribution to the show has been “edited out” in the process of cutting down the six hours of filmed material to minutes. However, the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band has a spot in the show’s strip-club sequence.
The fifth annual Christmas record is being distributed to all Fan Club members within the next two weeks. Titled “Christmas Time (Is Here Again),” the EP runs over six minutes and features a specially written title song, a linked series of comedy items, and a guest appearance of “the feet and voice of Victor Spinetti”!
The disc has a full-colour sleeve, including an oil painting by four-year-old Julian Lennon. It is being made available to disc-jockeys for broadcasting during the pre-Christmas week. As usual, the record is being sent free to Fan Club members in Britain and America, but is not available to the general public.
FLASH! IT HAS JUST BEEN ANNOUNCED THAT THE BEATLES’ “MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR” TV SPECTACULAR WILL BE SCREENED BY BBC-1 ON BOXING DAY. IT WILL BE REPEATED IN COLOUR ON BBC-2 EARLY IN THE NEW YEAR.From New Musical Express – December 9, 1967
Last updated on May 8, 2023
ivan 2 years ago
John Lennon: vocals, bass drum
Paul McCartney: vocals, piano
George Harrison: vocals, acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, tap dancing
George Martin: vocals
Victor Spinetti: vocals, tap dancing
Mal Evans: spoken word
Recording and mixing date: November 28 1967