As the undisputed biggest band of all time, it will come as no surprise that The Beatles were also a Christmas phenomenon during the sixties.
The Beatles are the only act to have four festive chart toppers, including three in a row between 1966, and 1965, as well as achieving the first and second placings in the 1967 Christmas charts.
They also achieved the one-two placing in 1963, with I Want To Hold Your Hand at #1 followed by She Loves You at #2. This was followed by I Feel Fine in ’64, with the double A-side of Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out joining them in 1965.
Two years later, as the band began to settle themselves in their experimental phase, they reached the top again with Hello, Goodbye, as their Magical Mystery Tour EP sat at number two.
Christmas was a big deal to The Beatles, who put out a special Christmas release to members of their fan club between 1963 and 1969. The releases contained skits, and musical numbers, and were a thank you of sorts to the millions who were obsessed by the band during the decade.
Here’s one of those records from 1964 which gives a good impression of what an average release was like.
As part of a bizarre need to make myself adhere to rules, I have only allowed myself one song per musical act in my countdown. This meant choosing Saviour’s Day over Mistletoe and Wine for Cliff Richard, and 2 Become 1 for The Spice Girls over Too Much and Goodbye.
This self imposed rule meant I could only pick one of four possible Beatles number ones in this countdown, so I have gone for their first, the impossibly catchy I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Despite having advance orders of over a million copies when the track was released in November 1963, the song stalled at number two behind She Loves You, which was enjoying a chart renaissance at the time. Two weeks later, the track reached the top spot, where it stayed for five weeks, hanging around in the charts for 21 weeks.
This song was also the first Beatles single to reach the top spot in America, and is in fact their best selling single ever.
When The Beatles split up in 1970, the Christmas feelings didn’t entirely leave the band. John Lennon’s attempt at a Christmas classic was a thoughtful anti-war song which appealed to many:
While Paul McCartney was seized on the synth revolution of the late seventies to create this piece of electronic magic:
Basically I Want To Hold Your Hand is a good song, but it’s Saturday night and I have nothing further to say. How do I write entertainingly about one of the greatest singles of all time from the best band? You’ve heard it all before.
Please return tomorrow when we discuss Band Aid 20 – that’ll be much more enthralling.
Have a picture of Miley Cyrus twerking in a festive style to tide you over until tomorrow’s odyssey.
Catch up with the rest of the playlist here in an easy listening format:
And catch up on the rest of the countdown CLICK HERE