Various Artists – All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle

A year ago, I posted a collection of what could only be described as, not the best Christmas records that have ever been made. One of the songs on that collection was ‘All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle’ by British actress, Dora Bryan. I knew that there were a number of Beatles related novelty records and I wondered if there was enough to make an LP full of ones with a Christmas theme. To my surprise, there is. 

Even though The Beatles released their first single in 1962, it was in the following year that their popularity skyrocketed with the term Beatlemania being coined in October of 1963 to describe the hysteria the band caused where ever they went. It was in this year that the first Christmas Beatle themed record was released with the aforementioned Dora Bryan. What I find quite surprising, is this is the only one from that year I could find. 1964 would be different matter all together with every other song from this collection coming from that year, with the majority coming from North America. 

The Beatles had not had the best of starts in North America. British artists before them had had some chart success in the U.S., but not that much. Capitol, EMI’s label in the U.S. initially refused the release Beatle records so Vee-Jay, one of the first African-American owned labels were offered a chance to release the bands records. The records did not sell particularly well to begin with but this was about to change. 

The Beatles themselves came to North American when they made a short visit in early 1964, but word of their music and style had been reported in the US press from late 1963. Their single, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ was a radio hit before being released three weeks early than initially planned (by a now on board Capitol) and Vee-Jay started to see the benefit of their deal because the songs they had the licenses for started selling in huge quantities. With an appearance on the Ed Sullivan show and a US tour, it was no surprise that 1964 was also the year where a good many people though that releasing a Beatles themed Christmas record was a sure fire way of achieving massive sales and profits. As it turns out, none of these made much of a dent in the charts with the record being public more keen on the real thing. 

What of the song themselves. For some reason, and this is true of non Christmas related Beatles songs,  Ringo is defiantly the most popular Beatle. He is the only member of the band mentioned by name in any of the titles. It also seems to be a case of finding anything to rhyme with Ringo. For example, there was bingo, by jingo, thingo etc. According to Gerry Ferrier, Ringo also became the name of one of Santa’s reindeer due to not having antlers, but Beatle hair. John might not have been such a popular choice as news that he was married (and with a son) had already became known after initially being kept secret. I’m not sure why the other two aren’t mentioned much. Considering these songs were written in isolation, there is quite a number who share the same title. There are also plenty of references to holding Beatle hands as well.

After 1964, it seems that the time of wanting a Beatle for Christmas had passed. There weren’t any Beatles Christmas related novelty songs from 1965 onwards, unless you know any better. Was it that the bands audience were growing up? Was it down to the image of the band changing, in no small part to the music they were making becoming more mature? Whatever the reason, this is a fascinating snapshot of a time when Beatlemania ruled the world. 

Side A

  1. All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle – Dora Bryan
  2. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – Patty Surbey
  3. Santa Bring Me Ringo – Christina Hunter
  4. Ringo Deer – Garry Ferrier
  5. Ringo Bells – Three Blonde Mice
  6. Santa Bring Me Ringo – Tich

Side B

  1. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – Becky Lee Beck
  2. Bring Me A Beatle For Christmas – Cindy Rella
  3. Bring Me The Beatles For Christmas – Jackie & Jill
  4. I Want A Beatle For Christmas – The Fans
  5. Christmas With The Beatles – Judy & The Duets

The cover image was taken from a Pinterist post by Nanna, and is based on the Beatles cartoon that ran on US TV between 1965 to 1967. I also included the VJ Records logo because if this had been released back in the 1960’s, I am sure they would have been the company who would want to cash in after losing their cash cow not long after gaining it. 

A massive thanks to Darryl Bullock for his help in putting this compilation together. Check out his rather fine website dedicated to the wonderful world of bad records.

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