In what started off as a message of thanks and requisite clowning, slowly morphed into high-end production, and in many ways, giving some glimpse of what the coming year was going to be like musically.
1966, as we all know, was a turning-point year for the band – one loaded with controversy and one which marked the end of touring in August of that year, and the end of the matching suits. It was also the year The Beatles released Revolver, what turned out to signal the big direction change with the band and with Pop music in general.
So 50 years ago this Christmas season, members of the fan club were once again treated to the sonic stew concocted by The Beatles and the engineers to celebrate that another year was coming to an end.
For a long time, these Fan Club recordings were prized rarities among collectors. Over the years they’ve been bootlegged and passed around, and whole successive generations have had a chance to sample some of the madness we were wrapped up in at the time.
1966 was quite an interesting year anyway. In many ways, it set up the events which would follow and take us to the end of the decade. As it was for most of us, The Beatles were our soundtrack – what they did, we reacted to. What they liked, we were turned on to and we wound up liking. I don’t know what other group of musicians had that sort of all-encompassing influence over the years that The Beatles had. I suspect it was the Perfect Storm people always talk about – things just fell into place, and maybe not one single person or thing was responsible – it was just the proverbial snowball.
You can’t make this stuff up.