Later issues were pressed on standard black vinyl. While the red vinyl pressings were not intended to be collector’s items, they have become so over time, and red vinyl copies of Beatles albums from Japan always sell for more money than their black vinyl counterparts. Also of interest on Japanese Beatles albums is the paper sash, or “obi” that was originally attached to the cover.
The presence (or absence) of the obi can greatly affect the selling price. While Beatles albums on Vee Jay sold well in 1964, they were all out of print by October of that year, and many of them were treated poorly by their owners. Because of this, it’s quite difficult to find any Beatles album on Vee Jay in collectible condition today.
In addition, Introducing the Beatles has been heavily counterfeited over the years, and may be the most heavily counterfeited record of all time. Most counterfeit copies can be identified by thin vinyl, poor quality printing on the label, and having the name of the band and the title of the album separated by the spindle hole. In addition, most counterfeit copies have stereo covers but have discs that do not say stereo on the label.
” For newer collectors, there are lots of moderately priced items on the market, and one can still put together a good sized collection of Beatles albums without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars.
This album was issued with two different covers, and the second one, which features a drawing of the Beatles (but no Frank Ifield) on the cover, is among the rarest of all Beatles albums. G=1
These letters are derived from the phrase “Gramophone Ltd. ” and the letters may appear individually or in combination with others. Each stamper was usually used to press 300-500 discs, and then it was discarded and replaced with a new one.
The first 300-500 copies of a given title, for instance, would have the letter “G” stamped in the vinyl at the 3 o’clock position. The next 300-500 copies would use a stamper with the letter “R. ” Later pressings might have multiple letters, such as RM, or GRO, which would represent the 24th and 125th stampers, respectively.
Stampers on Parlophone LPs are marked using a stamped letter or series of letters that is generally visible at the 3 o’clock position in the dead wax. A stamper code usually consisted of one, two or three letters, using the table below: One popular title, a recording of the Beatles performing in Japan in 1966, was titled Five Nights in a Judo Arena. The cost to Capitol to fix the cover problem was reportedly more than $250,000, which equates to nearly $2 million today.
In addition to the colored vinyl albums listed above, a few experimental pressings of Beatles albums have turned up on colored vinyl over the years. These were experimental pressings that were not intended for commercial sale: It’s possible to determine whether a particular copy of Beatles albums on Parlophone are early pressings or a later pressing by examining the numbers that are stamped in the area around the record’s label known as the “dead wax” area. These numbers usually indicate the catalog number of the album itself, so that record company employees would know which stampers to use to press a particular record when grabbing them from storage.
Those dead wax numbers also indicate, however, roughly how many records of that title had been pressed before it. Bootleg Beatles Albums Tiny Vee Jay was ovewhelmed by demand for their only Beatles album, and they subsequently contracted pressing of the album to multiple companies, which resulted in dozens of pressing and label variations. Some covers listed song titles, others had blank white covers, and some albums were pressed with smaller labels intended for 45 RPM singles when they ran short.
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The latter version is among the rarest of all American Beatles albums. The title is quite misleading, as the phrase “on stage” suggests that the album was recorded live. The songs were all studio recordings.
They repackaged Introducing the Beatles as Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles by simply putting discs labeled Introducing the Beatles into new covers. They also combined Introducing the Beatles with the album The Golden Hits of the Four Seasons and sold the two record set as a “battle of the bands” package, titled The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons, complete with a poster and a scorecard on the cover.
By the mid-1970s, Congress changed the laws to make such unauthorized pressings illegal. Another label called Savage Records released an album called The Savage Young Beatles that contained much of the same material. This album was a bit unusual in that it included a photo of the Beatles on the cover.
A couple of differences between the way record albums were sold in the UK vs.
Led to significant differences in album titles and content. In Britain, an album often contained up to 14 songs, while in the United States, albums were typically shorter, having 12 songs instead. Beatles albums issued in the 1960s in other countries generally followed the UK format, though a few albums issued in Canada, such as Yesterday and Today, followed the U. In Japan, Beatles albums were issued in both configurations.
We have written a comprehensive article about the Beatles Butcher cover. (opens in a new window)
The record-buying public had demonstrated that they were willing to buy albums in quantities previously unseen in the music industry, so Capitol set out to give the public as many Beatles albums as they were willing to buy. In the meantime, the Beatles put together a string of hits in the UK, and Capitol Records took notice. When the cash-strapped Vee Jay neglected to pay royalties on the singles they’d sold, Parlophone assigned the rights to the American market to Capitol, and a series of lawsuits followed.
As Capitol prepared to release the Beatles second album ( With the Beatles in Britian, and Meet the Beatles in the U. ), Vee Jay decided to release the Please Please Me album after all, and in early January 1964, two different Beatles albums appeared in stores in America, one on Capitol and one on Vee Jay.
As mono albums were more popular than stereo pressings in 1964, Vee Jay pressed approximately 50 mono copies of each title for every stereo copy, making stereo pressings of Introducing the Beatles, Songs Pictures and Stories of the Beatles and The Beatles vs. The Four Seasons much rarer and more expensive today than their mono counterparts. In addition to the authorized releases issued worldwide by Capitol, Parlophone, and Apple, a number of unauthorized, or “bootleg” Beatles albums have been issued by unknown parties over the years.
A few bootleg Beatles albums even included material that wasn’t recorded by the Beatles at all, such as the frequently-included track “Peace of Mind” (also known as “The Candle Burns”), whose source remains unknown, and “Have You Heard the Word”, which was actually a single by a group called The Fut. Another track that often appeared on bootleg Beatles albums was “The L.
Bumble Bee,” which was actually a track by comedians Peter Cook and Dudley Moore that sounded nothing at all like the work of the Beatles. All albums from Meet the Beatles through Magical Mystery Tour were issued in both stereo and mono; mono pressings of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour are relatively rare, as most buyers were purchasing stereo copies at the time of those albums’ release.
An album called Rarities was released in 1980 that included songs that were previously unavailable in LP format.
Release) (March 1965) – This album contained 11 of the 14 tracks recorded for the Please Please Me LP and was essentially Capitol’s version of Introducing the Beatles.
Had decline to the point where Capitol records was no longer pressing them. As a general rule, Beatles albums with earlier stamper numbers tend to sell for more money among collectors than those with higher stamper numbers, with the emphasis on owning a copy of the album that was pressed as close to the original date of release as possible.
While the history of Beatles albums in the UK is pretty straightforward, with all albums being released on the Parlophone label through 1967 and on the Beatles’ own Apple label thereafter, the story of Beatles albums in the United States is a bit more complex. While collectors worldwide are usually the most interested in Beatles albums from the country in which they live, there is also a lot of collector interest in Beatles albums from two countries in particular – Great Britain and the United States. British Beatles albums are of interest because the band hailed from that country, and their records were usually issued in the UK before they were released anywhere else.
Albums issued in Britain by the Beatles, 1963-1967: Share this: The two titles above were also issued as picture discs in Japan. Abbey Road was issued as a picture disc in Holland, with a different cover and artwork from the U. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was issued as a picture disc in Germany, with a different cover from the U. Atco Records released an album titled Ain’t She Sweet, combining a few of these songs along with songs by a band called The Swallows.
MGM Records used a band called The Titans to fill out an album called The Beatles With Tony Sheridan and Guests. Both of these albums were later reissued on subsidiary labels under different titles. No one ever heard of the Titans or the Swallows again.
The content of these bootleg Beatles albums usually fell into two groups – live recordings from 1964-1966 and previously unreleased material. As no authorized live album by the band was available until 1977, bootleg Beatles albums of live material were quite popular in the early 1970s.
Newer releases have included high-quality box sets containing all of their UK albums in stereo and a separate box set containing mono pressings of all of their albums that were originally released in that format. All of these albums are somewhat scarce today and are fairly collectible. They don’t draw the attention of the Parlophone or Capitol releases, but most serious collectors have at least one of the above albums in their collection.
The first of these appeared in 1969 or so, and were recordings of the then-unreleased Let It Be material. Other titles soon followed, initially in plain white covers with rubber-stamped titles on them. Later issues became more elaborate, with either paper title inserts attached to the cover or properly printed covers.
Promotional copies of the album were sent out to the media and radio and the reaction to the cover photo was hostile. So hostile, in fact, that Capitol made the decision to change the cover to a photo of the band sitting around a steamer trunk. The album had been printed at three different pressing plants, and while the plant in Jacksonville, Illinois destroyed all of their copies of the so-called “Butcher cover” in order to print new ones, the plants in Scranton, Pennsylvania and Los Angeles opted to paste the new cover over the existing ones in order to save time and money.
Release had a unique cover that differed from the UK version.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (June 1967) – Same as the UK LP The three albums above have the same title, cover art and track listing as the American albums of the same title, but they have Parlophone labels instead of Capitol labels.
And why not? The Beatles made a lot of great music, and collecting Beatles albums is fun. In the 1960s, the original Beatles albums from Japan, which were pressed on red vinyl, were the only albums by the band issued anywhere in the world using a color of vinyl other than black. In the late 1970s, record companies began issuing albums by a variety of artists on colored vinyl as limited edition items.
These included a number of titles by the Beatles. In addition, American albums usually included songs that had been previously released as singles, while albums sold in Britain did not. As Capitol always tried to ensure that the latest album also contained the latest singles, some songs ended up being removed from the albums to make room for the singles.
Over time, the removed songs added up and with fewer songs per album and extra songs available from singles, Capitol found themselves with enough Beatles songs to issue a number of albums that were unique to the American market. In addition to the Beatles albums above, which were pressed by Parlophone for sale within the UK, the label also pressed a few Beatles albums that were intended to be exported to other countries. These were all rather limited in production and are quite rare today and are highly sought out by collectors.
Yesterday and Today, issued in June 1966, was a collection of tracks from three different UK albums, plus both sides of the “Day Tripper” single. As the album was unique to the American market, Capitol needed artwork for it and contacted the band’s management. The photo they received was an usual image of the members of the band wearing butcher smocks while sitting on a bench.
Scattered about were heads and bodies from toy dolls and pieces of raw meat. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (June 1967) Prior to signing their contract to record for Parlophone in early 1962, the Beatles recorded some songs in Germany as a backup band for British singer Tony Sheridan.
These songs, which included “My Bonnie,” with Sheridan on vocals, and “Ain’t She Sweet,” with John Lennon singing, were licensed by a number of record companies that combined those songs with the work of other, largely unknown bands in order to release a “Beatles” album at the height of Beatlemania in 1964.
The two record set included four 8”x10” photos and a large poster. Issued in the UK in stereo and mono; in the U. Picture Discs and Colored Vinyl Another company called Greatest Records didn’t even bother licensing material; they simply released an album called The Original Greatest Hits, which contained material originally released on Capitol Records. Titles issued on Apple, 1968-1970 Vee Jay also released an album of interviews with the Beatles titled Hear the Beatles Tell All, and this was the one Beatles title that Capitol Records was not able to release themselves, as the album contained no music by the band.
Even though the Beatles broke up in 1970, both Capitol and Parlophone continue to release new albums every few years. These have mostly been compilation albums, starting with the 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 sets released in 1973.
The Four Seasons (2 record set with poster)(October 1964) – This album combined Introducing the Beatles with The Golden Hits of the Four Seasons in a “battle of the bands” concept, which even included a scorecard on the back cover so that buyers could compare the two artists on a song-by-song basis. The Beatles weren’t too happy about this arrangement and when their contract came up for renewal, they insisted that album titles, artwork and content be consistent worldwide. This was the case for all albums from Sgt.
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967 through Let It Be in 1970. R=2 Original “first state” pressings of Yesterday and Today with the Butcher cover photo are quite rare, and sealed copies have sold for as much as $75,000 on the collector market. “Second state” copies, with the trunk cover still attached sell for anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $10,000 or so, depending on condition.
“Third state” issues, which are copies that have had the trunk cover removed, can sell for as little as $50 to as much as $3500, depending on the condition of the cover and the degree of success in removing the trunk cover without damaging the image underneath.
Release) (April 1964This album was actually their third American album, and included deleted tracks from Meet the Beatles, the “She Loves You” single with both UK and US b-sides (“I’ll Get You” and “You Can’t Do That”), and two new songs that had previously been released in the UK on an EP – “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” When the Beatles released their first single, “Love Me Do”, in late 1962, Parlophone’s American counterpart, Capitol Records, passed on the opportunity, as they’d had a poor track record in selling British artists to the American public. A small Chicago-based label, Vee Jay Records, ended up with the rights to the Beatles’ early singles and their first album, which they initially declined to release as the singles by the band they’d released had sold poorly. The Beatles (The White Album) was released on white vinyl in Germany.
In the Netherlands, the Beatles Greatest Hits was released on both gold and purple vinyl. In 1968, the Beatles created their own record label, Apple Records, to be used for their own releases as well as those by other artists signed to the label. Beatles albums released on the Apple label were pressed by Parlophone in Britain and by Capitol in the United States and were identical in title, cover art, and content.
Very few of the original, “first state” covers survived and only a handful were known to have been sold at retail when the album finally hit the stores. The covers that most buyers saw on the album’s day of release were either new covers printed in Illinois or “pasteover” covers from the other two plants. A few enterprising individuals discovered that it was possible, using steam or chemicals, to remove the second cover to reveal the Butcher cover underneath.
The Butcher cover is perhaps the single most sought after of all Beatles albums, and demand remains strong today, despite the fact that they aren’t all that rare. Capitol probably shipped several hundred thousand copies when the album was new, but over time, many of them have been lost or damaged. Keep in mind that Beatles albums in Britain were issued in both mono and stereo through 1969 ( Yellow Submarine) and that both mono and stereo pressings would have their own sequence of stamper numbers.
At the time of the release of Please Please Me in early 1963, mono records outsold their stereo counterparts by a ratio of nearly 100:1, making early stereo pressings quite scarce in comparison with mono copies. This ratio changed through the 1960s, and by 1968, most records sold were in stereo, making mono pressings of later Beatles albums, such as the White Album or Yellow Submarine much harder to find than stereo pressings. Other Foreign Releases of Note These were released in die-cut covers that allowed buyers to see the record, which had the artwork from the cover pressed into the vinyl itself.
M=4 Given that these Beatles albums remained in print for years without obvious changes to the cover or label, how can one know if they’re looking at an early pressing or a later one? Greatest attempted to hide this by not mentioning the words “The Beatles” anywhere on the cover, but the drawing of four heads with Beatle haircuts on the cover made it clear exactly what the buyer could expect to hear. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – gray marbled vinyl
In addition to the titles above, four different Beatles albums were pressed on colored vinyl in 1978 for export to the United States: The Vee Jay release of the Please Please Me album was released as Introducing the Beatles and was rushed to market in such a hurry that the first pressings didn’t even have a listing of the songs on the cover. Instead, the back cover of the album simply had photos of other albums by Vee Jay artists. American Beatles Albums on Vee Jay
Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – clear, green, yellow, blue, purple, orange Most of the unreleased studio material was of very poor quality, as they were usually made from copies of copies of copies of tapes that had been passed around among collectors. In the late 1980s, a series of bootleg albums issued under the title of Ultra Rare Trax became available and offered exceptional sound quality recordings of several hours of previously unreleased material. The quality of this material was so good that it eventually led to the release of the three-volume Anthology series in the mid-1990s.
As this album was the first album by the Beatles issued anywhere, collectors around the world are interested in acquiring copies of Please Please Me on the black and gold label.
Bootleg picture discs include material from the Let It Be sessions and the band’s 1962 audition recordings for Decca. Click here to view our selection of Beatles albums. Beatles Albums on Parlophone Beatles albums issued in Great Britain between 1963 and 1967 were issued on the Parlophone label.
The first issues of the band’s debut album, Please Please Me, were issued using label art that dated to the late 1950s, a label known among collectors as the “black and gold” label. This label art was used for only a month or two before being changed to the “black and yellow” label that Parlophone used throughout the remainder of the 1960s, making first issues of Please Please Me quite rare in comparison to later pressings, particularly in stereo. Beatles Albums on Apple It’s also worth noting that UK Beatles albums are generally harder to find than their American counterparts, as the country is smaller and has fewer buyers.
An original American copy of just about any Beatles album will be easier to find than its British equivalent. Beatles Albums on Other Labels Between 1963 and 1966, Parlophone issued seven albums of new Beatles songs. During that same time period, Capitol issued eleven, along with a two-record set of interviews called The Beatles Story.