Christmas Time (Is Here Again)

The Beatles' Christmas Fan Club single, 1967Written by: Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey
Recorded: 28 November 1967
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Geoff Emerick

Released: 4 December 1995

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

Available on:
Free As A Bird single

The Beatles’ Christmas 1967 fan club disc was the usual mixture of skits, improvised nonsense and jokes. However, interspersed between the spoken word sections was an especially-written song, Christmas Time (Is Here Again).

The song was credited to all four members of The Beatles. Each of them joined in on vocals, as did George Martin and actor Victor Spinetti.

The skits, which punctuated the song at regular intervals, contained parodies of radio and television broadcasts, a tap dancing duet by Starr and Spinetti, a brief rendition of Plenty Of Jam Jars by “The Ravellers”, and a spoof advert for the miraculous product Wonderlust. It ended with a nonsense poem by John Lennon, narrated on top of an organ version of Auld Lang Syne.

The uncut version lasted 6’37″, but was later edited to remove swearing and excessive laughter. It was recorded on 28 November 1967, and edited the following day. It was then sent to Lyntone Records, who pressed the fan club flexi-disc.

Released in 1995, the Free As A Bird single contained a 3’03″ mix of the Christmas Time (Is Here Again) song. Towards the end of this version, somewhat incongruously, some Christmas Beatle greetings from 1966 were included.

Christmas Time (Is Here Again) was the group’s last Christmas disc to be recorded together at Abbey Road. In 1968 and 1969 their contributions were recorded separately, and edited together to give a sense of unity.

In 1999 Ringo Starr re-recorded the song for his Christmas album I Wanna Be Santa Claus, with Aerosmith’s Joe Perry on guitar.

Lyrics

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

The boys arrive at BBC House.

“What do you want?”
“We have been granted permission, O wise one.”
“Ah, pass in peace.”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is…

“An audition will be held at 10am, Wednesday the first in the fluffy rehearsal rooms. Bring your own!”
“Thank you. Next please!”
“Would over here be convenient for you?”
“Carry on!”
“Over here. Are you 13, huh?”
“Next, please!”

Get Wonderlust for your trousers
Get Wonderlust for your hair

“Sitting with me in the studio tonight is a cross section of British youth. I’d like first of all to speak to you, Sir Gerald.”
“Oh, not a bit of it. We have a job to do, Michael.”
“Ah, yes, yes, quite. I don’t think you’re answering my question.”
“Oh, let me put it this way: there was a job to be done.”

Christmas time is here again
Christmas time is here again

On to the next round!
Bingo! Bingo! Ha! Ha!

“In the recent heavy fighting near Blackpool, Mrs G Evans of Solihull was gradually injured. She wants, for all the people in hospital, Plenty Of Jam Jars by the Ravellers. And here it is.”

Plenty of jam jars, baby
Plenty of jam jars for you (For you, baby)
Plenty of jam jars, baby
Plenty of jam jars for you
Plenty of jam jars, baby (Baby, baby)
Plenty of jam jars for you
Plenty of jam jars, baby
Plenty of jam jars for you

“And how old are you?”
“Thirty-two.”
“Ooh!”
“Never…”
“I am!”
“Get away.”
“I am!”
“Well, what prize have you got your eyes on?”
“I have?”
“Ooh!”
“Well you’ve just won a trip to Denver and five others.”
“Ooh!”
“Thank you.”
“And also – wait for it – you have been elected as independent candidate for Paddington!”
“Ooh!”
“Look after yourself! Ha ha!”

Get Wonderlust for your trousers
Get Wonderlust for your hair

Theatre hour is brought to you tonight from the arms of someone new.

“Hello? I’m speaking from a call box!”
“Hello? Hello, operator? Hello, operator? I’ve been cut off! I’ve been cut off! It’s emergency!”

O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again
Ain’t been round since you know when
Christmas time is here again
O-U-T spells “out”

Christmas time is here again

“And how old are you?”
“Thirty-two! Ha ha ha!”
“Never! Ha ha ha!”
“Well, you won a prize! Ha ha ha!”
“Get off the show! Ha ha ha!”
“They’d like to thank you for a wonderful year.”
“We’d like to thank you for a wonderful year.”
“Thank you for a wonderful year.”
“Carry on!”
“Look after yourself! Ha ha ha!”
“Come in!”

And Christmas time is all,
and your bonnie clay us through.
Happy breastling to you people
all our best from me to you.
When the beasty brangom button
to the heather and little inn.
And be strattened oot in matether
to yer arms once back again.
Och away, ye bonnie.

14 Responses to “Christmas Time (Is Here Again)”

  1. Pete McEwen

    I think the printed lyrics aren’t quite right. At the very least, it’s “What PRIZE has you got your eyes on” and “You’ve won a PRIZE.” Also, I think it’s “THEY’VE been round since you know when.” That makes more sense. The Scottish bit at the end is wrong, but I don’t know what it’s supposed to be.

    Reply
    • Joe

      You’re right about the first bit – I’ve changed it from price to prize. As for ain’t/they’ve, I can’t be certain. What do other people think?

      Reply
  2. Pete McEwen

    Here’s my thinking:

    If it’s “Ain’t,” then that simply refers to last Christmas, no big deal.
    If it’s “They’ve,” then they’re talking about Christ’s birth, which gives some power to “you know when.” (makes it a little joke)

    So my belief in “They’ve” doesn’t come so much from my ears, because the recording is unclear, but from the internal logic of the song.

    Reply
    • vonbontee

      Sorry, I can’t see why a single person -such as JC – should be referred to by the collective pronoun “they”. Unless you’re talking about some kind of Father/Son/Holy Ghost deal!

      Reply
      • mr. Sun king coming together

        John Lennon wouldn’t insert some crazy religious thing in a Christmas message. Also, it sounds like Ain’t, so Joe, I think the lyrics are now right.

        Reply
  3. Peter McEwen

    “They’ve” would be correct grammatically, because there have been lots of Christmas times. Why, we’ve had them since… Well you know when.

    It still might very well be “ain’t.” Ringo does a version of it, which just says “Been around since…”

    Reply
    • Joe

      I’ve just listened to the 1968 fan club recording. Just before the three-minute mark George says: “Here we are again, another fab Christmas. Christmas time is here again; ain’t been around since… last year!”

      That’s good enough for me. I’ll leave it as “ain’t”.

      Reply
  4. Tim

    Here are further corrections I’d like to offer.

    I always hear:
    “We have been…” not “are being
    granted permission, oh wise one.”
    And grammatically, I would change “oh” to “O”.

    There’s a typo for the fluffy room rehearsals, the instruction is to “Bring your own.”

    “Well, what price have you got your eyes on” hasn’t been corrected to “prize” as discussed in previous comments.

    delete the “also” from
    “you have also been elected as independent candidate for Paddington”

    “This round is brought to you tonight from the arms of someone new.” should be “Theatre hour is …”

    There’s another “hello” before Ringo says “It’s emergency!”

    I think George Martin says “They’d like to thank…” rather than just “They like…”

    Reply
    • Joe

      Thanks Tim – very useful. I’m not sure about the hello before “It’s emergency!” – it sounds just like a random vocal splurge to me – but the rest I’ve added to the article.

      Reply
    • Joe

      I disagree. It doesn’t sound like ‘amp’ to me. It doesn’t make sense in the context either (not that much of the recording makes sense!).

      Reply

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