This item was originally offered at auction by It's Only Rock and Roll internet auction site throughout December 2003 - January 2004. Apparently it didn't sell. Then on January 21, 2004, they offered it on eBay at a considerably less starting bid.
See the description below.
Two excerpts (6:02 and 1:.32) are floating around as an MP3. These have not shown up on CD yet. The entire 26 minute recording has not surfaced.
It's not mentioned by the auction site, but
Mark Lewisohn tracked down a likely reference to this session in an old "Melody Maker". It was probably recorded at Marquee Studio in London a week or so before the November 4 EMI session.
The Beatles Unreleased Christmas Message Audio Tape 1965. This twenty-six minute late-night studio gathering of John, Paul, George, and Ringo to create their annual holiday fan club message is a veritable cornucopia of cut-up comedy and Christmas chorus cheer.
Here now, for the first time anywhere, are some brief excerpts...
Paul/John: “…remember wonderful ‘Radio Beatle People’ is Britain’s number one on-shore pirate radio station….the very special world round-up program presenting the very special voices of many people from far-flung outposts of this septic isle”
Of course, the Beatles portray those very special voices.
Paul: “…in the city of Liverpool… we stop the mighty roar of bathwater to bring you the voice of Ringo Starr - musician, philosopher, ‘televersionality’ and a personal father”
Ringo: “…They use this place for Wrestling on Wednesday…”
John/Paul/George/Ringo: “…the sound of gentle music…you will notice that the band is playing music which is out of copyright so that nobody has to pay any royalties. Waiting beside our live microphone in middle Woolton is John Lennon - sheep farmer, color consultant, chain gang foreman, fighter pilot and well-known table tennis wicket keeper”
John: “…bring back the cat and let’s get rid of these mice once and for all”
At one point, Ringo draws chuckles with: “C’mon, Tony’s getting annoyed, you know what he’s like when he’s annoyed”.
John, frustrated: “Look, I can’t read that straight, I mean if that’s what you’re waiting for I can’t do it man…I don’t dig it…”
Barrow suggests: “…make it stupid, but make it kind of good stupid”.
Paul follows with a prodding, playful: “…just read it out…you can do it, Johnny” followed by group laughter.
Paul:“…we take you over to a wind-making factory in the suburbs of Dingle Garden…here we’re going to listen to the undersecretary for the Amalgamated Wind-makers Union, George Harrison, member of the distinguished order of the bar and the former skiffle group’s darts champion.”
George: “…this has been a wonderful year for wind…the wind of change through our darkness continent of Wales”
John, loudly: “Hands off the Welsh!”
George: “Exactly, brother, you don’t know where they’ve been…”
Paul: “And now… we take you over to a rock and roll band where a Fan Club Christmas Record is being recorded...”
This is followed by several minutes of each Beatle offering Christmas greetings to fan club members with lots of ad-libbing. After several more minutes of frivolous off the script banter, comes 5.5 minutes of Paul playing piano while Christmas carols are sung. “The Holly and the Mustard”, “Silent Bonfire Night”, “Christmas is Coming, The Goose is Getting Fat”, “Twelve Days of Christmas”, and “Jingle Bells”
A hilarious Ringo ad-lib causes uproarious laughter in the studio during “The Twelve Days of Christmas”:
Ringo: “On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me one bird a hummin’, two sailors coming…”
This is the first time one can hear that others are present in the studio besides the Beatles and Tony Barrow. A priceless moment!
A few minutes later, John’s parting comment: “I told you we’d be more lively about one o’clock”.
Paul: “That’s the thing, though. We’ve been having one or two of them beverage drinks you know”.
The exact recording date and location is open to speculation, but Beatles historian Mark Lewisohn’s studio logs reveal the following about the officially released version. Recording of their third annual Christmas fan club message was scheduled at the conclusion of a November 8th, 1965 (9pm-3am) “Think For Yourself” studio rehearsal and recording session. Working from a prepared script written by public relations chief Tony Barrow (incidentally, the man responsible for suggesting the Christmas message idea originally in 1963), the Beatles usual clever ad-libs and banter made the session bearable. George Martin edited and remixed the tape the following day, and fan club members received their flexi-discs the following month. On September 2nd, 2003, Lewisohn, after hearing a totally different unreleased twelve-minute Christmas tape currently circulating on the internet, responded that while he had no reason to believe that the tape was not recorded anywhere but at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, he would reserve judgment to Tony Barrow, whose voice is heard on the twelve-minute just released tape. We have deduced that the recording offered here probably took place prior to this November 8th session and at a different location. Part of the reasoning lies in the facts that no part of the tape can be heard on the released flexi-disc; the script’s storyline is not consistent with any portion of the released message and, while Tony Barrow’s voice is heard, neither producer George Martin’s or engineer Norman Smith's voices are detected.
For those not familiar with The Beatles Christmas records, from 1963 to 1969, the Beatles recorded short Christmas greetings for members of their fan club, which were sent out on flexi-disc (in 1970 a vinyl album with all seven recordings was sent to club members). Subsequently, the records were released on numerous bootlegs / counterfeits, along with a few outtakes.
The EMI “EMITAPE” open reel, tape box, and “EMITAPE” retrieval reel has been in the possession of the consignor since 1977. While this tape was used exclusively at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios, it was not unusual for such reels to be used for off-site recordings (eg. Dick James Studios). Any information that may have been included on the reverse of the tape box had been removed by the time the consignor received it. This fantastic piece originally came from Mal Evans. For your listening pleasure, brief snippets will be available on our website. In addition, arrangements can be made to hear the tape in its entirety. Now it can be yours, all yours!
ADDITION TO PRINTED CATALOG - Journalist Gillian Gaar informs us that some of the transcript of this recording can be read on page 15 of issue No. 29 of The Beatles Monthly Book from Dec. 1965. We are including a copy of the issue in this lot. We speculate that promo man Tony Barrow, not wanting to waste the material from this session, sent come of the copy to Beatle Monthly, who had close ties to the Fab Four organization.