Recording: The Beatles’ Christmas Record, You Really Got A Hold On Me, I Want To Hold Your Hand, This Boy

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

The Beatles’ first four-track recording session took place on this day, with the group taping their fifth UK single, a Christmas message for their fan club members, and a single take of You Really Got A Hold On Me.



The day began at 2.30pm with a speech recording for the free flexi-disc to be given away to members of the Official Beatles Fan Club. This was the first of seven such recordings made between now and 1969, and was posted to members on 9 December.

The Beatles also attempted a final version of Smokey Robinson’s You Really Got A Hold On Me – take 12 – but quickly gave up working on the song. The version on the With The Beatles album was an edit of takes 7, 10 and 11.

The main work to be done on this day, however, was on the two songs which were to make up The Beatles’ next single. I Want To Hold Your Hand was tackled first, and was completed in 17 takes.

The single’s b-side, This Boy, was recorded in 15 attempts, and was followed by two overdubs. These were primarily for The Beatles’ superb three-part vocal harmonies, which became the stand-out aspect of the song.

Takes 12 and 13 of the song were later released on 1995′s Free As A Bird single.

The day’s recording finished at 10pm, and was split over two sessions. The Beatles took a break between 5.30pm and 7pm.

Also on this day...

Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.

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