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Let It Be Christmas

Beatles' holiday-themed box set due in December

'Another Beatles Christmas Show', at the Hammersmith Odeon, London 23rd December 1964. The Beatles pose for a group shot

Relive the giddy holiday spirit of Beatlemania with "The Christmas Records," a deluxe compilation of the festive recorded messages the Beatles mailed to fan club members from 1963-69.

The limited-edition box set, available December 15, features all seven greetings on colored vinyl, an upgrade from the flimsy flexi discs produced 50-plus years ago. Each seven-inch single is sheathed in a reproduction of its original picture sleeve.

There's also a 16-page booklet that includes notes on the recordings and copies of the fan club newsletters that accompanied the annual gift.

Subtitled "Happy Christmas, Beatle People!" the box set is "for die-hard Beatles fans only," says the New York Times, "but they're a glimpse of ever-expanding ambitions and increasingly disparate agendas."

"As early as 1965, the Beatles mention the war in Vietnam," notes the Times, a far more serious message than the zany banter of the two previous years. "By 1968, each member was recording his part separately."

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