It’s the B-Day of Christmas

The boxed set cover features smiling versions of the Beatles portraits from the 1963 disc front cover.

It’s B-Day or Beatles day or Boxed set day for the new Beatles boxed set release of their fan club Christmas records. It looks as though there are insufficient numbers available of these boxes here in Europe, whereas in North-America they are fully stocked. This according to reports from U.S.A. as well as Canada.

Amazon UK and Germany are both sold out, as are other online stores in Europe, and record stores are reporting limited supplies and they are not getting as many boxes as they have ordered. I checked my order at Amazon UK, and noticed that they had not yet dispatched my set.

Not dispatched from Amazon UK

So I checked again this morning and since there was no status change, I decided to go out and see if I could secure a copy. If Amazon should fulfill my order later, I could always get rid of it somehow. So I went to my local record store, and they had none. They couldn’t even answer if they had ordered any, because the guy who’s in charge of ordering was not at work this morning.

So I went to the local affiliate of the biggest record store chain in Norway. Their online shop says the boxed set is unavailable, but there was still hope that the actual mall stores had managed to get what they had ordered. Approaching the counter, I noticed that one of these boxed sets was put on display at the counter top next to the till. So I went to the clerk and asked for “one of those”, pointing to the boxed set. He went around to look for it, and was informed by another clerk that the one on the counter was the only one they had. They had ordered plenty and had been alotted just the one copy.

My originals (left) and the new editions.

Back home, I’ve opened the boxed set and compared to my original flexis. Seems the sleeves are exactly the correct size, but the 1963 one has a regular single sleeve and not the envelope design of the original.

1963 original.

Looking through the booklet, it was also missing some of the so called «superpix» order forms, as well as the poster from the third Christmas record.


Foldout poster from the 1965 single.

I haven’t yet played the new discs, but I understand that the contents have been mastered from dubs of the originals and safety copy tapes. Freda Kelly supplied the old flexis when the master of the 1970 Christmas LPs was assembled, because the original tapes were long gone already. So it seems, all we are likely to get are needle drops of Freda’s flexis anyway.

Kevin Howlett has written a page in the booklet.


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19 Responses

  1. Judemac says:

    A real rip off, have the Apple LP (Fan Club) & boot CD's.

    • Unknown says:

      Good for you. Lots of people that might want this don't. And since they advertised exactly whats included in the set and I'm guessing you aren't buying a copy, I don't see how anyone can accuse this of being a ripoff.

  2. djJohnny says:

    The Yellow Dog cd sounds GREAT and is cheaper (free) and is all you need. A rip off indeed.

  3. Ole M. Olsen says:

    I reslly don't inderstand the negativity from some fans towards this project. Personally I've been waiting for this for years (decades) – and I own an "original" Dr. Ebbetts Christmas Album.

    I don't suppose anyone will be forving you to buy anything, so that should be all right, I suppose. And I hope the fans who do buy it know what they're gettong so they won't feel ripped off.

  4. wogew says:

    Now available from Amazon UK again, but orders will be fulfilled by Amazon USA.

  5. Unknown says:

    Bad luck, Roger, in not getting your Amazon UK ordered fulfilled. I order mine the same day as your and, luckily for me, has arrived.

    I've had a boot of the Yellow Dog CD for years, not sure why people that's better than having the sleeves, notes and the records pressed officially as part of a beautifully put together set – isn't actually owning aesthetically pleasing versions of Beatle records part of the fun of the Fabs fan?

  6. David Brailsford says:

    Come on fans, let's all be adults here and take personal responsibility for our own purchases.

    IF you don't feel that this item is for you. Don't buy it.

    It is not like long ago reissues that you had to buy to see and hear what you were getting. Because of great sites like this one, you know what it is and what it sounds like. (Thank you, Roger).

    While I think this is a great issue, I didn't buy it. I feel the price is too high. But, I don't complain that a product that I know so much about is a rip-off. It looks like a wonderfully packaged set to me.

  7. Unknown says:

    I'm with Tom. It's a beautiful physical set and worth the purchase for those of us who've wanted this officially released seemingly forever. Let's save our disdain for those of us who just purchased "Band On The Run" on vinyl for the 600th time.

    Small complaint: even though the records were made from copies, it'd still have been nice had Apple (or Calderstone?) included a high res – or any – download of these specific masters. I'm sure there's a fair number of people who purchased this pricey set who don't own the bootlegs, it'd be nice for them to have these as digital files.

    But yeah, it's been a ball to unwrap and play these and hold them in my hands, knowing full well it's a stupidly overpriced luxury purchase. All part of the fandom…

  8. dan says:

    Bought it from Collectors Choice for $58 total 3 weeks ago. Checked today to see when it will ship—BACKORDERED, don't know when it will ship!!!!!

  9. VideoShack says:

    Plenty of stock in Syracuse, NY @ Sound Garden where the retail price is $64.99 (USD).

  10. Old Tiger Press says:

    If fans in the UK are hopeful about getting their orders filled by Amazon US, they might be in for a wait. Amazon Prime isn't doing a good job of getting their US orders out in some places. I live in Austin, TX, they have a distribution center here, and they still have a very sloppy history for late or lost deliveries. That is why I am wishing amazon UK good luck. I ordered the set the day you first posted about it, and I still haven't seen it. I have multiple bootlegs of the material, but of course I am still excited about new Beatles. Christmas without new Beatles isn't Christmas. I'm trying not to read anything about the new box because I haven't seen it yet. While I sat at home with my trust in, the other outlets in Austin sold out of the box. Amazon is pretty bad, but this is also largely the fault of the record company. They need to press more copies. This is not speculation, this is The Beatles! The same thing happened with that RSD version of Penny Lane. We should have more options than settling for a jacked up price on eBay. Thanks for giving us this blog, Roger.

  11. John Drake says:

    It's not so much that it's a rip off (which to me, it is), it's more that I would like to see Apple devote their time to something actually worth having….such as the Shea film that accompanied Ron Howard's live film in the cinema.

  12. Sy_Snootles_Is_Hot says:

    I got my set on Friday and I love it! I don't know how this can be considered a rip off. It's not like it's just another reissue of something we already have tons of copies of; it's something fans have been asking them to release for YEARS. And it's a very attractive set. It was extra nice for me, since the Christmas records were the one thing I never bootlegged; I knew SOMEDAY they would release them, so I always just waited for it. Definitely made it extra fun.

  13. vagma says:

    I have had bootlegs of these recordings for years (CD, red vinyl LP), but I love this set! A nice box, a fine booklet, well made 45s on colored viny with nice and sturdy sleevesl! Fantastic!! Not a ripoff at all, just what I wanted for Christmas. Maybe the release of this set (and the recent Pepper box set) is a sign of a new and better policy from Apple!

    I bought my set at Big Dipper in Oslo – they had recieved 15 sets, and only about 6 were unsold when I bought my set at around 1330 on the day of release. The other vinyl specialist in Oslo, the Garden, had sold out all the sets they had received (I dont know how many sets they got).

  14. Ole M. Olsen says:

    I finally got my copy yesterday. It was everything it promised to be, a great Christmas gift to myself and a release I've been waiting for for a long, long time. The coloured vinyls look great, the covers – as well as the box itself – are nice and sturdy.

    They do indeed sound, as was reported, like "a mix of original tape and the contemporary disc dubs". The sound volume of the 1966 disc was a bit on the low side, otherwise everything sounds fine.

    If anyone has bought this and think they've been ripped off, then they haven't been paying attention. I think every relevant detail about this release was published beforehand, and you can see all physical aspects of the box and records (apart from the backs of the individual sleeves, records and box) in the advertising video. You can even read the booklet there if you desiere. Sure, it's not exactly bargain priced, but… it's Beatles priced. 😉

    If anyone elected to NOT buy this and think it's a rip-off… fine.

    With hopes that this release might be a test-drive for a box set of all the Beatles' original singles, I would like to wish everyone Merry Crimble and a Very New Year!

  15. piper909 says:

    I am also living in Austin, TX, and I got my order (along with the new remastered vinyl Sgt. Pepper) just before Christmas after pre-ordering from the notice on this website. I'm sorry for Old Tiger Press (above), he drew the short straw, I guess.

    I AM confused about the source tapes for the Christmas discs. Mark Lewisohn's "The
    Complete Beatles Chronicle" describes when and how these discs were recorded. The original tapes ought to still be in the Abbey Road archives. Lewisohn seems to indicate he heard them there. What's the full story then, eh?

  16. dan says:

    Got mine Friday! Great deal from Collectors Choice Music, $58!!! And I am sure they made money at that price. Can't believe these are selling now for 4 times that amount!!!???

  17. wogew says:

    Still available from the Canadian Beatles Store, and you don't have to live in Canada to order. Showing up on ebay at inflated prices.

  18. wogew says:

    piper909: Perhaps the tapes Lewisohn listened to were the masters for the Christmas albums, as made by recording Freda Kelly's flexi discs.
    dan: Americans get everything much cheaper than us who live elsewhere, yet you are the ones complaining. Regular price here in Norway for the Christmas boxed sets was 990 NOK which is 120 USD. Same goes for the rest of the world except for the US where it was cheaper. And I have yet to hear Europeans or the Japanese complaining about the price.

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