Listen to Paul McCartney’s long-lost 1965 experimental Christmas album
As it is that time of the year, it only seems right to bring out this little Paul McCartney gem.
In 1965, McCartney recorded a Christmas album (of sorts) as a gift to his fellow Beatles bandmates John, George and Ringo. Apparently, there were only three discs created which have all since worn down into extinction. For a little bit more context, this is how author Richie Unterberger described the Christmas record in his book The Unreleased Beatles: Music and Film: “Unforgettable. For years, it had been reported that Paul McCartney recorded an album at home around Christmas 1965 specifically for the other Beatles. Supposedly, it included singing, acting, and sketches, and only three copies were pressed, one each for John, George, and Ringo.”
After years of speculation and rumours, it wasn’t until 1995, while speaking in an interview with Mark Lewisohn, that Paul McCartney confirmed the record in some detail, explaining: “Yes, it’s true. I had two Brenell tape recorders set up at home, on which I made experimental recordings and tape loops, like the ones in ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’ And once I put together something crazy, something left-field, just for the other Beatles, a fun thing which they could play late in the evening. It was just something for the mates, basically.”
McCartney continued: “It was called Unforgettable and it started with Nat ‘King’ Cole singing ‘Unforgettable,’ then I came in over the top as the announcer. ‘Yes, unforgettable, that’s what you are! And today in Unforgettable…’ It was like a magazine program: full of weird interviews, experimental music, tape loops, some tracks I knew the others hadn’t heard, it was just a compilation of odd things. I took the tape to Dick James’s studio and they cut me three acetate discs. Unfortunately, the quality of these discs was such that they wore out as you played them for a couple of weeks, but then they must have worn out. There’s probably a tape somewhere, though.”
In his book, which predates the resurfacing of this audio, Unterberger added: “If it ever turns up, it might be the earliest evidence of the Beatles using home recording equipment for specifically experimental/avant-garde purposes—something that John and Paul did in the last half of the 1960s, though John’s ventures in this field are more widely known than Paul’s.”