Recording: unused Christmas fan club messages

The Beatles had recorded messages for their fan club in 1963 and 1964, and this year was no different. Unusually, however, it took them two attempts to complete the 1965 recording, the first of which was made on this day.

The recording took place at Marquee Studio in London. Situated at 10 Richmond Mews, the studio was affiliated to the Marquee Club; the building had originally been a warehouse, but was eventually converted to apartments.

The Beatles' press officer Tony Barrow led the recording, as he had done in previous years. The group worked from his script, though with various ad-libbed exchanges thrown in. Towards the end of the session they gathered around a piano to sing various improvised lines.

The session was not a success, with The Beatles evidently struggling to find humour in Barrow's script. Furthermore, George Harrison was not present, so the other Beatles attempted to impersonate him while reciting his lines.

John Lennon was openly disdainful of the prepared material, but none of the group was able, despite Paul McCartney's best efforts, to come together and produce anything suitably amusing. Ringo Starr was largely silent, aside from the closing singalong.

At least 26 minutes of material was recorded, although none was judged suitable for release. However, Barrow gave part of the transcript to The Beatles Book Monthly, which reproduced it in their December 1965 issue. He also included a short section of the recording in Sound Of The Stars, a promotional flexi-disc for Disc And Music Echo he produced in spring 1966.

Two tape reels from the session came to auction in 2003 and 2004. The entire known recording currently circulates on bootlegs.

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