The Beatles – Unforgettable (A.K.A. The McCartney Christmas Album) (His Master’s Choice HMC 011)

Unforgettable (A.K.A. The McCartney Christmas Album)
(His Master’s Choice HMC 011)

SIDE A:  Unforgettable (by Nat King Cole), Someone Ain’t Right (by Peter And Gordon), I Get Around (by The Beach Boys), (Love Is Like A) Heatwave (by Martha And The Vandelas), Don’t Be Cruel (by Elvis Presley), Down Home Girl (by The Rolling Stones), The Holly And The Mustard, Bonfire Night, The Twelve Days Of Christmas (19th October 1965)

SIDE B:  We Can Work It Out (Home demo), The Tales Of Mrs. Tiggywinkle (John reading), We Can Work It Out (20th October 1965; Rough mix, single-tracked vocal), Michelle (Instrumental home demo), Run For Your Life (12th October 1965; Take 5 excerpt), In My Life (18th October 1965; With organ solo), If I Needed Someone (18th October 1965; Alternate mono mix), Improvisation (John Lennon’s Psychedelic Nonsense), The Night Before (Help! 5.1 DVD Extractions), You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (Help! 5.1 DVD Extractions)

CD (76:12):  Dialogue (Paul intro to Unforgettable), Dialogue (John and Ringo chat), Improvisation (John and Ringo skit to old record), Daddy’s Little Sunshine Boy, Improvisation (Ringo and John skit #2), Improvisation (John and Ringo nonsense #1), Improvisation (John and Ringo nonsense #2), Improvisation (John ‘take 88’ nonsense), Improvisation (John and Ringo skit #3), Improvisation (Excerpts from the Unforgettable album), We Can Work It Out (Home demo), The Tales Of Mrs. Tiggywinkle (John reading), Improvisation (John nonsense over Mellotron & Indian music), Improvisation (John mellotron nonsense), Some Other Guy, Improvisation (Sped-up tapes nonsense #1), Improvisation (Sped-up tapes nonsense #2), Michelle (Home demo excerpt), Run For Your Life (12th October 1965; Take 5 excerpt), In My Life (18th October 1965; With organ solo), We Can Work It Out (20th October 1965; Rough mix, single-tracked vocal), If I Needed Someone (18th October 1965; Alternate mono mix), Bonus Tracks: from the 5.1 extractions of the Help! DVD soundtrack:  I Need You, Another Girl, You’re Going To Lose That Girl, Ticket To Ride, Help!, The Night Before, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, I Need You, Another Girl, You’re Going To Lose That Girl, Ticket To Ride, Help!

From the back cover:


In 1995, Paul McCartney was asked the following:
Q: You are rumored to have recorded a special album at home one Christmas in the 1960s, in which you sang, acted and performed sketches, only three copies of which were said to have been pressed – for John, George and Ringo. Is this true?

A: 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 Tomormw 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.
It was called Unforgettable and it started with Nat ‘King’ Cole singing Unforgettable. It was like a magazine programme, 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 Iames’ studio and they cut me three acetate discs. Unfortunately, the quality of these discs was such that they wore out as you played them. I gave them to the fellas and I guess they would have played them for a couple of weeks, but then they must have worn out. There’s probably atape somewhere, though.

Well, here is that tape, recovered from the Lennon archives, and we new proudly present highlights from the infamous album, recorded by Paul McCartney and presented to his fellow Beatles as a Christmas gift all those years ago.

The original tape has been reused by Mr. Lennon (more of that on Side Two), unfortunately erasing parts of the McCartney recording, but leaving enough to give the listener a feel of how the original album would have sounded.

So, what do we have here on Side One of this LP you are new holding in your hands?

Well, it begins with an introduction from Paul (in his best Pirate Radio voice!) over a Mellotron backing, similar in style to some of John’s later gobbledegook tapes. This leads straight into the fist song, Unforgettable, from Nat King Cole, wich is immediately followed by Someone Ain’t Right by Peter and Gordon (from their 1965 Columbia album Hutin’ ‘n’ Lovin’).

After thanking Peter and Gordon, Paul cues up the next song on the show – I Get Around by The Beach Boys – their first UK top ten hit In 1964. Paul then introduces another American group, Martha & The Vandellas, who perform (Love Is Like A) Heatwave, which was surprisingly not a hit In the UK on its release in 1963.

The show then goes back in time for the Old Golden Gasser spot, where Paul brings in Peter Asher to introduce his favourite blast from the past – Don’t Be Cruel by Elvis.

This brings us to the final song for now Down Home Glrl, by The Rolling Stones from their second album, Rolling Stones No.2, (orfwhich John Lennon is quoted of saying: “The album’s great, but I don’t like five minutes numbers.”).

As a special bonus to this LP – and bearing in mind that Unforgettable was meant as a Christmas gift – we present for the final track on this side part of an unissued tape from a session at the Marquee Studio in London on 19 October 1965, where, under the guidance of Tony Barrow, The Beatles made an unsuccessful attempt to record their Fan Club Christmas disc for that year. Featuring John, Paul and Ringo singing such out of copyright classics as The Holly And The Mustard, Bonfire Night and a special Beatle version of The Twelve Days Of Christmas, we are sure you’ll enjoy Side One of this very special record as much as we’ve done melting it!

Side Two of this album features various Beatle rarities, some of which were recorded by John Lennon over the original Unforgettable tape during the later part of 1965 during recording sessions at Abbey Road and also at his home in Weybridge.

Paul had obviously used the tape to record some new song ideas before handing it to John, as well as using it to record the Unforgettable show, and we begin side two with his home demo for We Can Work It Out. Sadly, just 40 seconds into the song, John pressed his record button and recorded himself as he read an over the top extract from a Beatrix Potter story, Tales Of Mrs. Tiggywinkle, but at least we can hear a precious few seconds of this McCartney home demo.

After this, we jump to Abbey Road, and a studio version of We Can Work It Out – a rough mix of the released version, but featuring only a single-tracked vocal from Paul. This mix would appear to come from the original recording session on 20 October 1965 (or very soon thereafter), as The Beatles returnedto Abbey Road on 29 October to record further overdubs as they were not satisied with the first attempts.

Another McCartney home demo follows, abrief instrumental run-through of Michelle, a song that Paul had been working with for some years. With help on the French lyrics from Ivan Vaughan’s wife Jan, and a middle-eight contribution from John Lennon, the finished song would later appear on the Rubber Soul album in December 1965.

Moving back to Abbey Road again, we now hear an extract from Take 5 (with a rough guide vocal) of Run For Your Life – a song that John admitted to writing after stealing a line from Elvis’ Baby, Let’s Play House. This was recorded duringthe first sessions for the Rubber Soul album, on 12 October 1965. Beginning with a short burst of studio noise, George Martin then announces the take number – “Five” – before the familiar intro to the song appears. (We have created a full version of this song by adding in the missing part of the song with some careful editing. The original part of the recording remains intact)

Staying in Abbey Road, we feature two extracts from songs recorded on 18 October 1965 – In My Life and If I Needed Someone.

First up is In My Life, and an alternate organ solo during the instrumental break, presumably recorded by George Martin, and preserved by John on his tape for reference. This version bears no comparison to the vastly superior frnal version, which is simply wonderful.

John also captured on this tape – for reasons that are unclear – part of the George Harrison composition If I Needed Someone, presented here in a different mono mix to the released version. (Again. we have created a complete version by grafting on the missing part of the song front the regular mono mix but leaving the original partial recording intact)

This is followed by the final track. another example of the psychedelic nonsense recorded onto the tape by John Lennon – sounding not unlike some of his later attempts for tracks such as Revolution 9 and the Two Virgins album in 1968. Random sound effects, stray dialogue and weird Mellotron noises abound!

To round off the LP, we have two tracks from the 5.1 extractions of the Help! DVD soundtrack – The Night Before and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away. These two versions allow further scrutiny of the vocal tracks from Paul and John respectively.

Enjoy! Toby Narrow.

The sound quality is uniformly excellent on both the LP and the CD and are worth having for dedicated Beatle collectors. 

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