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From 1963 to 1969, members of the official Beatles fan club were treated to a special Christmas record every December. And as the Fab Four drifted from mop-top pop to pioneering psychedelic grooves, those festive recordings got progressively stranger.

Enter the 1968 release, which included bizarre highlights like

Paul McCartney singing a holiday song in honor of Christmas, New Year's and Michealmas;
John Lennon narrating the story of 'Jock and Yono' — two amorous balloons whose lives parallel Lennon's relationship with Yoko Ono;
Ringo Starr having a drunken altercation with himself;
and George Harrison inviting Tiny Tim to belt out a high-pitched rendition of 'Nowhere Man.'

So how did the Fab Four get there? Well, scroll down to check out The Beatles' other records made in honor of Christmas — or Crimble, to use Beatle slang.

Source: James McClure - civilizedlife.com

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In 2017, as part of a 50th anniversary tribute to the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I had the golden opportunity to recreate George Harrison’s “Within You Without You” onstage. Years ago I’d studied Indian music—specifically tabla drumming—in California and in India, and singing “Within You Without You” with a full Indian ensemble and string quartet was an extraordinary experience. While learning the tune, I began experimenting to see if I could bring this haunting and complex song to life on guitar. (Harrison reportedly played guitar on the Sgt. Pepper’s track, but it’s buried deep in the mix.) This arrangement is the result.

Like the Indian traditions it’s based on, “Within You Without You” has no chord changes—the melody unfolds over a drone (roots and fifths played on the tambura). To simulate that sound, I wound up tuning to C G D G B D with a partial capo on the top five strings at the fifth fret—giving me open-string pitches of C C G C E G, an open C tuning. The Sgt. Pepper’s track is in C#, but the song was actually recorded in C and then sped up, so this arrangement is in the original pe details

From the Long Players series: writers on their most cherished albums.

The album wasn’t a recognisable art form before the Beatles. If the British pop stars of the time, Cliff, Billy, Marty or Adam released an LP it was to earn extra royalties from their regurgitated singles. When, in February 1964, Cathy McGowan broke the news on Ready, Steady,Go! that the Beatles had reached No 1 in the US charts, her teenage audience knew that “I Want to Hold Your Hand” wasn’t destined to be reproduced as an album track. For UK followers, the Beatles could be relied upon to invariably provide only new music for the extra outlay required to buy an LP.

Then came the rhapsodic phase when every new record seemed designed to take the pop album to a new and previously unobtainable level. Sandwiched between Rubber Soul and Sergeant Pepper in this amazing trilogy was Revolver. When it was released in the summer of 1966 I was working at Tesco in Hammersmith King Street where the man who delivered the Nevill’s bread at 8.30 every morning also carried a stock of contraband EMI albums, which he sold at half price.

It was from Fred the bread man that I acquired the musical highlight of that or any othe details

The 50th anniversary of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was much celebrated in 2017. But this Christmas also marks 50 years since the release of another Beatles production that received much less critical acclaim – the Magical Mystery Tour film.

Much of the music within it was produced during a particularly fecund period (even by the Beatles’ standards) and is, or course, peerless – from the music hall echoes of Your Mother Should Know through the plaintive, melodic Fool on the Hill to the boundary breaking I Am the Walrus.

Unfortunately the film itself fell far short of that artistic bar. First broadcast on Boxing Day 1967, it is, to put it mildly, seriously flawed. Incoherent, sexist, technically shaky and verging on boring, history hasn’t been kind to its cinematic qualities.

Contemporary reviews and audience responses were also so generally scathing that Paul McCartney was moved to issue an apology of sorts to the television broadcast’s 20m viewers. He said in a hastily convened interview:

Source: Adam Behr

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CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled an updated Beatles exhibit Thursday, showing off new Fab Four items, including one of John Lennon's early guitars and the piano Lennon and Paul McCartney used to write "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "We Can Work It Out," "Eleanor Rigby" and other iconic songs.

The Beatles display, located in the Rock Hall's downstairs main exhibition area, also features costumes, instruments, lyric sheets and other Beatles items.

In addition to the two new pieces, the display includes items that are regularly rotated through the museum's collections, including a suit worn by George Harrison during the Beatles' 1966 tour and a pair of Ringo Starr drum sticks used in a Sept. 15, 1964. Beatles show at Cleveland's Public Hall.

The piano was originally owned by the family of Jane Asher, a girlfriend of Paul McCartney. McCartney lived with Asher's family for a few years.

Source: cleveland.com

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Are the Beatles Declining in Popularity? - Friday, December 22, 2017

As sales of music across the board continue to decline in favor of streaming, another manner of determining an act's popularity is by seeing how often people search for them on Google and YouTube. By that metric, it would seem that the Beatles are decidedly less popular than they were a decade ago.

Digital Music News has looked at data provided by Google Trends and concluded that they've had 70 percent fewer searches between January 2004 and the present. The graph includes all searches related to the band. According to the chart, interest has been declining steadily, although there was a major spike -- its highest placing in 13 years -- in September 2009. That corresponds with when the Beatles reissued their entire catalog and released a special version of the Rock Band video game on Sept. 9, 2009.

They note a similar pattern for searches on YouTube, beginning in 2008. However, the article does not acknowledge that, over the past few years, unauthorized uploads of Beatles songs have been removed from YouTube due to copyright infringement. The official Beatles YouTube channel has only 28 videos.

Source: Ultimate Classic Rock

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The Beatles Christmas messages began as a personal show of holiday gratitude to the band’s fan club, but grew into an annual tradition as important as any evergreen chestnut for a generation. Growing up, the silly off-key carols meant Christmas. They were exciting. They were fun. They were funny. I never in my life worried about offending someone by saying Merry or Happy Christmas because, due to these recordings, I would forever mangle greetings like “Hare Kringle” and “very new jeers.” Inviting Krishna devotees and insult comics into the happy proceedings.

Christmas was never a religious holiday at our house. It rocked. And it all started when radio stations started playing the crimbly greetings. Long after the Beatles broke up, prog and oldies stations alike would keep up the tradition.

The Beatles were natural comedians, as was their producer, George Martin. As a matter of fact, the producer only decided to work with the band after George Harrison got snarky with him. When The Beatles were asked what concerns they had with the first recording session, the guitarist took issue with the Martin’s tie. Thus began a subliminal comic teaming informing future sessions.

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The Beatles Christmas messages began as a personal show of holiday gratitude to the band’s fan club, but grew into an annual tradition as important as any evergreen chestnut for a generation. Growing up, the silly off-key carols meant Christmas. They were exciting. They were fun. They were funny. I never in my life worried about offending someone by saying Merry or Happy Christmas because, due to these recordings, I would forever mangle greetings like “Hare Kringle” and “very new jeers.” Inviting Krishna devotees and insult comics into the happy proceedings.

Christmas was never a religious holiday at our house. It rocked. And it all started when radio stations started playing the crimbly greetings. Long after the Beatles broke up, prog and oldies stations alike would keep up the tradition.

The Beatles were natural comedians, as was their producer, George Martin. As a matter of fact, the producer only decided to work with the band after George Harrison got snarky with him. When The Beatles were asked what concerns they had with the first recording session, the guitarist took issue with the Martin’s tie. Thus began a subliminal comic teaming informing future sessions.

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Sometimes, something as simple as a single clause in a contract can speak volumes about people. For proof, look no further than a contract for The Beatles for a 1965 concert in the state of California, which specified that the band would not have to perform in front of a segregated audience. Something that should be seen as a huge statement considering that the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964.

What Convinced The Beatles of the Need for That Clause in Their Contract?

With that said, it is interesting to note that said contract was far from being the first time that The Beatles had taken a stance on the issue of racial segregation. After all, when The Beatles was on their first tour in the United States, they were surprised by the fact that the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, FL was segregated on the basis of race. As a result, the band refused to play, which was even more impressive because this happened at a time when they were still seen as one more short-lived teen sensation rather than the musical titans that they went on to become.

Source: Nat Berman

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The Beatles Make History With Mistake - Tuesday, December 19, 2017

An original 7-inch copy of The Beatles' debut single, "Love Me Do," has sold for almost $15,000 through the online collectors' site, Discogs.com. Experts say it is now the most expensive 7-inch single ever sold.

The demo copy of The Beatles' debut single for Parlophone, sold via Discogs, actually sold for $14,757 on 9 October. The record sold through Discogs was one of only 250 issued with Paul McCartney's name misspelled in the writing credit as "McArtney". Backed with 'PS I Love You,' the final single peaked at No.17 when it was first released in the UK, but topped the Billboard Hot 100 in the US in 1964.

The Beatles recorded 'Love Me Do' on three different occasions, with three different drummers, at EMI Studios at Abbey Road in London. The first "artist test" recording took place on 6 June 1962 and featured The Beatles' original drummer, Pete Best. This version (previously thought to be lost) was later included on the album Anthology 1. The first official recording of the song then took place on 4 September 1962. In August, Best had been replaced with drummer Ringo Starr, and the group recorded the song in 15 takes at EMI Studios.

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