40. "Christmas Time Is Here Again," The BeatlesUK: Parlophone R6422 / US: Apple NR-58497; b-side to "Free As A Bird"
Recorded December 6, 1966 and November 28, 1967 in London, England
Oddly enough, one of the most positive bands to ever grace their airwaves never recorded an official Christmas song per se, even though most of their pop contemporaries -- from the Beach Boys to the Four Seasons -- did. Perhaps it had something to do with John's dim view of religion, but then how do we explain his eventual desire to "make a Phil Spector Christmas record" with "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)"? Who knows. Maybe the band were too busy making their annual fan club Christmas records, largely improvised affairs featuring snatches of improvised skits and silly off-the-cuff jams.
It's the 1967 fan club record (unavailable to the general public) that this giddy little ditty comes from; it's not much of a song, granted, but the Fab Four and everyone's favorite time of the year are such a natural fit, who cares? Especially with Ringo slamming away, all four of the lads wishing us a Merry Crimble, and John closing, as only he could do, with a nonsense poem that sounds at once daft and heartfelt? We can thank the release of the '95 Anthology single "Free As A Bird" for rescuing this song, cutting out most of the extemporaneous bits, and making a single out of it. In its own way, this b-side is as much of an event as the "reunion" on the flip. Full of good cheer, this!