April 08, 2019

Looking back at: Introducing the Beatles on VeeJay Records (1964)

Introducing... The Beatles is the first Beatles album released in the United States. Originally scheduled for a July 1963 release, the LP came out on 10 January 1964, on Vee-Jay Records, ten days before Capitol's Meet the Beatles!. The latter album, however, entered the U.S. album chart one week before the former. Consequently, when Meet The Beatles! peaked at No. 1 for eleven consecutive weeks, Introducing...The Beatles stalled at No. 2 where it remained nine consecutive weeks. It was the subject of much legal wrangling, but ultimately, Vee-Jay was permitted to sell the album until late 1964, by which time it had sold more than 1.3 million copies.[2] On 24 July 2014 the album was certified gold and platinum by the RIAA.
Initial non-release[edit]

The Beatles' recording contract that began May 1962 with Parlophone in the United Kingdom gave the parent corporation EMI rights to offer any of the group's recordings to the various labels EMI owned in many countries of the world. However, EMI's United States subsidiary, Capitol Records, declined to release the "Please Please Me" single.[3] Following this, Transglobal, an EMI affiliate that worked to place foreign masters with US record companies, negotiated with several labels before Vee-Jay Records signed a licensing agreement giving it the right of first refusal on Beatles' records for five years.[4] As part of that agreement, even after its singles releases of "Please Please Me" and "From Me to You" failed to chart above No. 116 on the Billboard Hot 100, Vee-Jay planned to release the Please Please Me album in the US, and received copies of the mono and stereo master tapes in late April or early May 1963.[5]

Originally, Vee-Jay considered releasing the Please Please Me LP unaltered, as it appeared in the UK. A surviving acetate made by Universal Recording Corporation of Chicago, probably in May 1963, contains all 14 songs in the same order as on the UK album, with the title still listed as Please Please Me.[6] But in keeping with the American norm of a 12-song album, Vee-Jay chose instead to omit "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" (which had comprised the first single release) and change the album's title to Introducing... The Beatles.[7] Also, the engineer at Universal in Chicago thought that Paul McCartney's count-in at the start of "I Saw Her Standing There" was extraneous rather than intentionally placed there, so he snipped the "one, two, three" (leaving the "four") from Vee-Jay's mono and stereo masters.[8] Except for those omissions, the order and contents of the album were untouched, resulting in a US album that bore the closest resemblance to a British Beatles LP until Revolver in 1966.[9]

Preparations for the LP's release continued in late June and early July 1963, including the manufacturing of masters and metal parts and the printing of 6,000 front covers.[10] But, despite the claims of many older Beatles books and discographies that Introducing... The Beatles was first released on 22 July 1963,[11][12][13] no documentation exists to confirm that the album was released at any time in 1963.[14]

A management shake-up at Vee-Jay, which included the resignation of the label's president Ewart Abner after he used company money to cover gambling debts,[15] resulted in the cancellation of the release of Introducing... The Beatles and albums by Frank Ifield, Alma Cogan and a Jewish cantor.[15]
Version one[edit]

Vee-Jay's financial problems forced it to take care of its most pressing debt first. Because the Beatles and Ifield were low priorities, the label chose not to report royalties on their sales. As a result, Transglobal declared its contract with Vee-Jay null and void on 8 August 1963.[16] The next single, "She Loves You", was licensed by Transglobal to the Swan label of Philadelphia.

On 14 December 1963, Billboard magazine mentioned that Capitol Records planned an all-out promotional campaign for the Beatles in the United States.[17] Following that, the single "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was rush released on 26 December.[18] On 7 January 1964, Vee-Jay's board of directors met for the first time since the single was released, and it discussed the Beatles' material it had in the vault. Desperate for cash, the board decided to release Introducing... The Beatles, even if it meant legal trouble in the future.[17]

Metal parts were already at Vee-Jay's three primary pressing plants, and 6,000 front covers were already printed. But it had no back cover prepared. So, as a stopgap, the label used a back cover slick made from one side of its standard inner sleeve, consisting of full-colour reproductions of the covers of 25 "other fine albums of significant interest".[19] This cover is known by collectors as the "Ad Back" version and is highly sought. A second stopgap back cover was used when the "Ad Back" slicks were exhausted; because it is all-white with no printing at all, it is known by collectors as the "Blank Back" edition and is also very rare. Finally, third editions contain Vee-Jay's official back cover, with Introducing The Beatles near the top and the song titles in two columns underneath. All of these were available on the market within days of the 10 January release date.[19] Also in January, "Please Please Me" was reissued as a single, this time with "From Me to You" as the B-side.[20][21]

But on 16 January 1964, less than a week after Introducing... The Beatles was released, Vee-Jay was served with a restraining order stopping further distribution. Beechwood Music, Inc., Capitol Records' publishing subsidiary, owned the American publishing rights to "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You", and because the two songs had not yet been officially released in the US, Beechwood refused to issue a license for Vee-Jay to release them.[2] Approximately 80,000 copies of Introducing... The Beatles had been released with the two songs on them, with only 2,000 or so in stereo.[2]
Version two[edit]

To circumvent the restraining order, Vee-Jay quickly reconfigured Introducing... The Beatles. It removed "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" and replaced them with the previously omitted "Ask Me Why" and "Please Please Me", though some pressings of the album did not alter the track list. The new versions were prepared in late January and began appearing in stores around 10 February 1964.[2]

Because of the initial restraining order, version two of Introducing... The Beatles did not enter the Billboard charts until three weeks after Capitol's Meet the Beatles! album. Once it did, it quickly rose to the number two spot, where it stayed for nine straight weeks.[22] It also peaked at number two in Cash Box, and it got to number one in Record World magazine.[23] This success inspired a host of other Vee-Jay releases. First came the album Jolly What! England's Greatest Recording Stars: The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage issued on 26 February, containing the Beatles tracks "Please Please Me", "From Me to You", "Ask Me Why" and "Thank You Girl" from the 1963 singles and Introducing..., and other tracks from Frank Ifield.[24] The rereleased single "Please Please Me" rose to number three on the Hot 100, Cash Box and Record World. Soon after, "Twist and Shout" was released 2 March on the subsidiary Tollie label with "There's a Place" as the B-side, and "Do You Want to Know a Secret", with "Thank You Girl" on the B-side, was issued on 23 March. Both singles went up to number two on the Hot 100, with "Twist and Shout" reaching number one on both Cash Box and Record World. Also a Beatles EP titled Souvenir of Their Visit to America was released by Vee-Jay on 23 March, featuring "Misery", "A Taste of Honey", "Ask Me Why", and "Anna".[25]

Even with the replacement of the two Beechwood Music songs, Vee-Jay and Capitol battled in court throughout the early part of 1964. Injunctions against Vee-Jay's album were issued, lifted and restored more than once.[26] Because the album was often pressed quickly between restraining orders, there are almost two dozen different label variations, including mono and stereo copies, manufactured at numerous pressing plants.[27] Finally, on 9 April 1964, the two labels settled. Vee-Jay was granted a license giving it the right to issue the 16 Beatles' songs it controlled, in any way it saw fit, until 15 October 1964. At that time, its license expired, and all rights would revert to Capitol.[28] During the time Introducing... The Beatles was available, it sold approximately 1,300,000 mono copies and approximately 41,000 stereo copies. Because only 3.1 percent of all of the LPs were in stereo,[29] true stereo copies are rare.

After the settlement, the Beechwood songs were issued by Vee-Jay as a single, on 27 April on Tollie. "Love Me Do"/"P.S. I Love You" rose to become the Beatles' fourth number one single on Billboard and their fifth on both Cash Box and Record World.[30][31]
Other versions[edit]

Twice before its license expired, Vee-Jay repackaged Introducing... The Beatles. Although neither album contained any new music, both of them made the Billboard album charts.
VJ 1062 (with photos)[edit]

One of these was Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles (Vee-Jay VJLP(S)-1062), which featured a three-quarters gatefold cover, portrait paintings of the four musicians and the text:

"Look inside. Complete story of their favourite male and female singer, their favourite foods, types of girls, sport, hobby, songs, colours, real name, birthplace, birthdays, height, education, color of hair & eyes."

The inside cover text describes Paul as the "Nut Beatle" or "Beatle Nut", John as "nearsighted" and the "Chief Beatle", George as the "quietest" and the "one with the deadpan face" and Ringo as the "shortest Beatle" who "will send his steak back if it is not blood red". The back sleeve shows outlines of hearts below each Beatle-photo and holds instructions of how to fill the hearts with personal photos.

The record inside the cover did not even contain the new name; it still stated Introducing... The Beatles on the label.[32] Songs, Pictures and Stories was released either in late July 1964[32] or 12 October 1964,[33] with the latter the more likely date, because it entered the Billboard album chart on 31 October.[22] It eventually peaked at number 63.[33]
VJ 1065 (with the Four Seasons)[edit]

The other repackaging was the two-record set The Beatles vs the Four Seasons, which contained copies of Introducing... The Beatles in one pocket of the gatefold cover and Golden Hits of the Four Seasons (VJLP 1065) in the other.[34] This Vee-Jay creation spent three weeks on the Billboard chart in October 1964 and peaked at number 142.

Though Vee-Jay could not manufacture or distribute any Beatles product after 15 October 1964, it took a long time for the records to vanish from retail stores. Both Introducing... The Beatles and Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles remained on the Billboard LP chart until 9 January 1965.[35]
After Vee Jay license expired: The Early Beatles, Rarities[edit]

From the start of Beatlemania in the United States until the October 1964 expiration of its rights to Beatles music, Vee-Jay issued four LP albums, four singles, and an EP out of the 16 tracks it gained from its 1963 license period. On 22 March 1965, Capitol issued The Early Beatles, which contained 11 of the 14 tracks that had previously been issued on Introducing... The Beatles.[36] "Misery" and "There's a Place", two of the other three songs, would not make their Capitol Records LP debut until 1980, on the US version of Rarities. The other Introducing... song was "I Saw Her Standing There", first released in the UK on the Please Please Me LP. The song appeared in the US on both the Vee-Jay album as well as Capitol's Meet The Beatles! LP. These two albums marked the only time that two different Beatles' albums, each from a different record label, were released in the same month with one song appearing on both albums. There is a difference between the two tracks in that Paul's count-off is cut short on the Vee-Jay release by three numbers leaving only "four!" on the intro. Later, in the summer of 1964, Capitol would release Something New in the United States with five songs that had already appeared on the American A Hard Day's Night soundtrack album released by United Artists Records about one month earlier.

Introducing... The Beatles has never been officially released on compact disc in America, although imported second-hand copies have circulated from other countries — in both mono and stereo versions, mostly with the version two line-up (with "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why").[citation needed]

A counterfeit Introducing... The Beatles label with the group's name and album title separated by the centre spindle hole

Starting in the late 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, Introducing... The Beatles was frequently counterfeited.[37] These counterfeits can be identified by the cover printing and quality, the label, or the sound quality.

Counterfeits have some significant differences from the commercial issue. Some of the more common variations include...
Labels with the title of the album and the group's name separated by the center spindle hole (as shown in the photo to the right)[37]
Labels with color bands that are off-center and/or missing the color green (as shown in the photo to the right)
Labels with large white "brackets" (no color band)
Album covers with dark brown borders
Dating from the late 1970s, George Harrison's shadow is not visible on the right side of the cover (However, all legitimate copies of the album and even most counterfeits include his shadow).[38]

Nearly all fakes claim to be in stereo (though the actual sound of the record is often in mono). As legitimate stereo copies of Introducing... The Beatles are rare,[38] the majority of copies with "stereo" or "stereophonic" printed on the cover are counterfeits.[37]

There are also known fake versions of Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles.[37] These counterfeits often omit "Stories" from the album title, since they are circulated without the gatefold cover and the text inside, renaming it Songs and Pictures of the Fabulous Beatles. These versions have 3 songs not on the original album. "From Me To You" (in place of "Anna"), "Love Me Do" (in place of "Ask Me Why") and "P.S I Love You", which opens side 2 rather than "Please Please Me" (The song is rather placed on side 1, track 3).[37]

Track listing
All tracks written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "I Saw Her Standing There" (McCartney counting "one, two, three" is omitted; recording starts with "four") Paul McCartney 2:50
2. "Misery" John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1:48
3. "Anna (Go to Him)" (Arthur Alexander) John Lennon 3:00
4. "Chains" (Gerry Goffin, Carole King) George Harrison 2:25
5. "Boys" (Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell) Ringo Starr 2:28
6. "Love Me Do[a]" Paul McCartney and John Lennon 2:19
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. "P.S. I Love You[b]" Paul McCartney 2:04
2. "Baby It's You" (Burt Bacharach, Mack David, Barney Williams) John Lennon 2:41
3. "Do You Want to Know a Secret" George Harrison 1:59
4. "A Taste of Honey" (Ric Marlow, Bobby Scott) Paul McCartney 2:05
5. "There's a Place" John Lennon and Paul McCartney 1:53
6. "Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Russell) John Lennon 2:33
 Replaced by "Ask Me Why" in February 1964

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Introducing..._The_Beatles

Beatles - Introducing The Beatles (VJ Records)

VJ Records had exclusive distribution rights for the Beatles songs circa 1962 - 1963. After a series of singles were released by VJ and did not catch on, disk jockey's started playing imported copies of British Beatles records. In order to cash in on this rising popularity, VJ assembled this collection of songs. It was the first U.S. Beatles album distributed. VJ later failed to make royalty payments, and lost its distribution rights. Capitol Records (a division of EMI-England) started promoting and distributing Beatles records thereafter.

1. I Saw Her Standing There (Lennon/McCartney) 2:50
RM Take 9 & 12
11 Feb 1963
Used for mono LP & CD "Please Please Me".
Also found on mono US "Introducing The Beatles" (Brennan) but missing the count-in (only the "4" remains). It is not sure if the version found on "Introducing .." is the UK mono mix or the UK stereo mix reduced to mono. According to Brennan (again), if it was a reduction from the stereo mix we would hear the volume dropout on verse 3 that is typical on the UK stereo mix.
Beginning with different count " FOUR ", not " 1, 2, 3, 4! ".
Album version mixed from take 9.

2. Misery (Lennon/McCartney) 1:47
RM Take 16 - US
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Used exclusively on "Introducing The Beatles" US mono LP.
It is usually assumed that this mix is a mono reduction of the regular stereo mix (SS.PPM.02.16.RS) but it's hard to determine.
Mixed by George Martin in 1963 or 1964 in Los Angeles.
Album version mixed from take 11

3. Anna (Go To Him) (Alexander) 2:56
RM Take 3
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Released on
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
Album version mixed from take 3

4. Chains (Goffin/King) 2:21
RM Take 1
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
4 takes were recorded. Take 1 & 4 were complete. Take 2 & 3 were false starts.
All tapes were destroyed. Take 1 was used for the CV.
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
Album version mixed from take 1

5. Boys (Dixon/Farrell) 2:24
RM Take 1
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Only one take was recorded.
Appears on:
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
Album version mixed from take 1

6. Ask Me Why (Lennon/McCartney) 2:24
RM Take 6 - UK/US LP
26 Nov 1962
The Beatles
Recorded in 6 takes.
LP mono mix. Issued in UK on "Please Please Me" mono LP & CD and the EP "All My Loving".
Issued in USA on "Introducing The Beatles" mono LP (second version).
Released on:
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing second issue 1963, Vee Jay VJ 581 single 1964.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987, EMI single 1988.
Album version mixed from take 6

7. Please Please Me (Lennon/McCartney) 2:00
RM Take Unknown
26 Nov 1962
The Beatles
Mono mix based on unknown takes (possibly takes 16, 17 & 18).
UK: Parlophone R4983 single 1963, Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJ 498 single 1963, Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing second issue 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987, EMI single 1988, EMI CDP 7 97036 2 The Beatles 1962-1966 1993.
Album version mixed from take ?

8. Baby It's You (David/Bacharach/Williams) 2:36
RM Take 5
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Released on "Please Please Me" UK mono LP and on "Introducing The Beatles" (both versions) US mono LP.
Recorded in 3 takes + 3 overdubs takes of celeste and piano (George Martin only). The piano overdub was never used while one of the celeste overdubs combined with take 3 became take 5.
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
Album version mixed from take 3

9. Do You Want To Know A Secret (Lennon/McCartney) 1:55
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Album version mixed from take 8

10. A Taste Of Honey (Marlow/Scott) 2:02
RM1 Take 7 - UK/US
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Regular mono mix: take 7 RM1.
Released on
UK: Parlophone PMC 1202 Please Please Me 1963.
US: Vee Jay VJLP 1062 Introducing 1963.
CD: EMI CDP 7 46435 2 Please Please Me 1987.
Album version mixed from take 7

11. There's A Place (Lennon/McCartney) 1:49
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Album version mixed from take 13

12. Twist And Shout (Russell/Medley) 2:32
11 Feb 1963
The Beatles
Album version mixed from take 2 


There are also bootleg copies available printed on CD. Below are examples:

You can listen to the entire album here:


More info available here:

April 06, 2019

Introducing the Beatles - VJ Records - 01-10-1964 - Original vs Bootlegs

Introducing the Beatles - VJ Records - 01-10-1964

Perhaps the most distinctive component in the history of Beatles records is the album Introducing the Beatles (Vee Jay VJLP/SR-1062). This eccentric LP is distinctive on many fronts, not the least of which is that its dozen tracks have proliferated into over two dozen subsequent albums and singles.

This summer 1963 product of Chicago's Vee Jay label competed heartily in the marketplace, right along with the big boys over at Capitol. As a small, independent company with a big hit record on their hands, Vee Jay and their vendors worked around the clock to meet the enormous demand for this LP. For the last few months of '63, this was the only Beatles album available for purchase in American shops. Although a huge seller, its sales life was cut very short by the courts, when, in early 1965, the rights to all of the Beatles recordings were turned over to Capitol/EMI.

Not surprisingly, most of the world's rare and valuable records, including Introducing the Beatles, have been counterfeited -numerous times and in a myriad of variations. It is probably the most counterfeited record in history, and deserving of consideration for a gold or platinum award in the category: Rock Album Most Frequently Faked.

With so many different bogus copies floating around, perhaps we should begin by giving a precise description of the original album. Knowing how to spot an original is one of the best weapons against getting stuck with a pretender.

The first issue covers were manufactured in both Chicago and St. Louis. All original covers have a glossy coated paper stock, both front and back. Approximately 90% of all Introducing the Beatles covers were produced at these plants. If either the front or the back cover is flat -lacking gloss -it is a counterfeit.

In late 1964, when Vee Jay relocated their offices to Santa Monica, California, a small number of original covers were then made on the west coast. These have less of a gloss on the back cover; however, they do have some shine and are clearly not a flat stock.

Although color shades do vary on originals, the printing of the photo and text is always very sharp and clear. Any with poor quality printing are probably counterfeits. All legitimate covers are made using varying shades of gray or tan cardboard, with the printed front and back slicks bonded on them. All original covers we have seen have a 1/4" overlap of cardboard at the top and bottom of the inside cover. This check can only be made by viewing the inside of the cover at the top and at the bottom. On most fakes, these overlaps are either much larger than 1/4", or there is no flap at all. The California plant made a small quantity of original monaural covers that have no flap at all, but they still have the glossy back cover slick as well as high quality printing. Also, these come with an authentic disc inside, yet another way to help determine originality.

A few counterfeits do have covers with high quality printing, but their overall construction and/or disc quality are noticeably imperfect.

While it is very helpful to have a known original on hand for comparison, few folks have that luxury. When this is not possible, use the following checklist to make a determination regarding authenticity.

Some of the more common characteristics found on COUNTERFEIT COVERS:

Covers with a brown border around the front cover photo are fakes.
Covers with a bright yellow tint and the word "STEREO" printed in black at the upper left are fakes.
Covers without George Harrison's shadow-visible to his right of where he stands, near the edge are fakes.
Covers with red, blue, and yellow dots, unmistakable under the top of the back cover, are fakes. The dots are used by the printers during the printing process. On originals, the dots are in a different area and are not normally visible. (This fake is of particular importance due to the high quality of the front cover photo. For that reason, this cover has fooled many a collector. Look for the dots! Fake covers are almost always accompanied by a fake disc.)
Covers for the stereo issue that list Love Me Do and P. S. I Love You, among the two columns of tracks on the back, are almost always fakes. Only a couple of authentic copies of these versions are known to exist.
Covers having a flat paper stock on the back side slick are fakes.
Some of the more common characteristics found on COUNTERFEIT DISCS:

Any labels with flat textured rainbow/colorband labels are fakes.
Labels that have "THE BEATLES" and "INTRODUCING The BEATLES" separated by the center hole are fakes.
If the width of the vinyl trail-off -the gap between the end of the last track and the edge of the label is greater than one inch, you have a fake.
Any copy with black labels that do not have the rainbow colorband, that are printed on glossy paper stock, are fakes.
Copies with rainbow/colorband labels that have faint print and/or weak color brightness and a lack of clarity are fakes.
Some of the more common characteristics found on ORIGINAL COVERS:

Covers-front and back-must have slicks that are either glossy or semi-glossy.
Printing on covers must be of high quality and professional looking.
Back cover lists contents in two columns
Stereo copies must meet one of the following conditions:
Back cover pictures 25 color photos of other Vee Jay albums.
This copy is commonly known as the "Ad Back" cover.
Back cover is totally blank; a completely white slick with no print whatsoever.
Some of the more common characteristics found on ORIGINAL DISCS:

Labels have "THE BEATLES" and the title "INTRODUCING THE BEATLES" above the center hole.
Only gloss or semi-gloss rainbow/colorband labels are used on originals.
All original labels have bright, sharp silver print.
The vinyl trail-off -the gap between the end of the last track and the edge of the label usually measures from 7/8" to 1" wide, but never greater.
The rainbow/colorband that circles the perimeter of an original label is of high resolution, with smooth, gradual changes in color.
The vinyl trail-off area on over 90% of all originals has one or more of the following mechanical Stampings:
1. The term "AudioMatrix."
2 The letters "MR" inside of a circle.
3. The letters "APP" in italics. Among originals, only those made in Santa Monica lack machine Stampings. Regardless, these still have the aforementioned bright silver print and glossy labels. To date, we have never seen a counterfeit copy with machine stamping in the trail-off area.
We have never found a counterfeit with the word "STEREO" printed on the label.
Any copy with "STEREO" printed on the label is more than likely an original.
All originals with black labels that do not have the rainbow colorband are printed on a flat-not glossy-paper stock.
Any item under scrutiny must measure up in all the above areas of originality testing. If either the cover, disc or label fails even one criterion of the test, then it is likely from that secluded, middle Eastern country: Itsa Fakka!


Collectors' Corner: How to value ‘Introducing The Beatles’May 22, 2008
by Bruce Spizer
One of the most dreaded e-mails a Beatles dealer or expert can receive goes something like this: “I just got my mom’s copy of Introducing The Beatles that she purchased back when she was a kid. What’s it worth?”

Of course, there is no simple way to answer such a question. Before determining the value, you might have to go through a dozen or more questions. Information, prices and images of Introducing The Beatles are spread over four pages in Perry Cox & Frank Daniels’ “Price Guide for the Beatles American Records.”

First, you must determine whether or not the record is counterfeit. Does “The Beatles” appear above or below the center hole on the label? If the group’s name is below the center hole, the record is a fake, most likely pressed in the ’70s. There are other things about these records that indicate they were not pressed in 1964, such as improper trail-off area markings and thin vinyl. But, there is no need to go any further once you determine that “The Beatles” is below the center hole.

Because some counterfeits have the group’s name above the center hole, additional questions need to be asked before you conclude that the record is legitimate. If the label has a colorband, does it contain the color green? If the colorband is missing the color green and has a jagged line between red and purple, the record is a fake. If the label is black without a colorband, does it have a large white VJ brackets logo? If yes, the record is a fake.

If the record is fake, chances are the cover is too. But, because covers and discs can get mixed up over the years, one should also test the cover. Does the cover have a blurry image of the group? If yes, then the cover is a fake, probably from the ’60s. Does the cover have a brown border ? If yes, then the cover is bogus.

Unfortunately, most counterfeit covers closely resemble the real thing. This is particularly true of stereo Version One covers that have the song titles “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” on the back. Legitimate Version One stereo column back covers are extremely rare. There are two tests to spot the bogus covers.
The “flap test” requires inspection of the inside of the cardboard jacket. Does the cover have either no flaps, ½” flaps at the top and bottom or a ¼” flap only at the bottom? If so, the cover is a fake. Legitimate Version One stereo covers have a ¼” flap at both the top and the bottom.

The flap test is not an absolute rule for all covers. Legitimate Version One mono covers without flaps have been found with the later Version One mono pressings with the brackets logo (more on that later). In addition, there are some legitimate Version Two mono covers with no flaps.

The “Honey test” requires the inspection of the back cover. Many counterfeit covers have back slicks with the same imperfections. The most noticeable flaw appears in the word HONEY in the song “A Taste Of Honey.” Are the letters H and the E missing ink in their upper left parts? If so, the cover is a fake. If not, the cover may or may not be legitimate. While the “Honey test” does not always work, it is often useful in weeding out albums still in the shrink wrap.

If you get past all of the above and determine that both the album cover and the record are legitimate, then you move on to the next group of questions.

First, you should determine if the album is the rarer first configuration or the later second configuration. Does the album contain the songs “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” or the songs “Ask Me Why” and “Please Please Me?” If it contains “Please Please Me” rather than “Love Me Do,” it is the more common Version Two package.

Of course, there is always the possibility of a Version One record being paired with a version two cover, or vice-versa, but let’s assume for now that you have a Version Two cover and record. The next big question is whether the record is the mono or much rarer stereo version.

Does the word “STEREO” appear on the label? If not, the record is, for collecting purposes, mono even if you have a mislabeled disc that actually plays stereo. If mono, we next need to determine the type of label, for this also affects value.

Does the label have a colorband? If yes, we still are not done! Does the label have an oval Vee-Jay logo or a brackets VJ logo at the top? If it is the rarer oval logo, we can at last get a preliminary value. Assuming you have a basic cover without any value enhancements (more on that later), we can value the album after determining condition. So, what is the condition of the record and cover? If both are near mint (NM), the value is $400. Very good (VG) is valued at $100 and good (G) is valued at $40.
If the mono colorband label has a brackets logo at the top, we still have one more question. Is the label the normal size or is it a smaller 45-size label? If it is the normal size, you have the most common label variation of the album. While there are five different type-setting variations for this label, they are all valued at the same amount: NM at $250; VG at $50; and G at $15. If it has the 45-size label, the values increase to: NM at $350; VG at $60; and G at $25. If the label does not have a colorband, it is the rarer all-black label with silver print.

As expected, we still have more questions to ask. What appears at the top in silver? If it is the letters “VJ” with “VEE-JAY RECORDS” typed below, the album is valued: NM at $300; VG at $75; and G at $30. If it is the oval logo, the album is valued: NM at $600; VG at $150; and G at $60. If it is a small brackets logo, congratulations! The album is valued: NM at $2,000; VG at $500; and G at $200. But before you get too excited, remember not to confuse this rare variation with the counterfeit label that has a large white brackets logo.

There is one more mono black label with small silver bracket logo oddity to discuss. There are some records with this label that list “Love Me Do” and/or “P.S. I Love You” on the labels but actually play both “Ask Me Why” and “Please Please Me.” If both labels list the Version One songs, the value is: NM at $4,000; VG at $2,000; and G at $500. If you have a transition disc where only one of the labels lists the Version One song, the value is: NM at $3,000; VG at $1,250; and G at $350.

And now, let’s return to the cover. We can enhance the value of the album if the cover has certain special qualities. Is there a comma in the song title “Please, Please Me”? If there is no comma, you have the rarer version and can add another $200 if the cover is NM. Does the cover have a sticker promoting “Twist And Shout” and “Please, Please Me?” If so, add $150. Do you have a stereo cover with a “MONO” sticker? If so, add $400. Do you have a cover where the Version Two back cover slick was pasted over a Version One slick? If so, add $600. Do you have a cover with “DJ COPY NOT FOR SALE” stamped in red? If so, add $450.

Well, now that we’re through the mono Version One discs, let’s turn to the rarer stereo version. Does the label have a colorband? If yes, is it a regular-sized label with a brackets logo or a 45-sized label with an oval logo? If it is, the regular-sized brackets logo label, it is valued: NM at $1,500; VG at $375; and G at $150.

There are five different confirmed typesetting variations to look for. If it is the 45-size oval logo label, it is valued: NM at $1,800; VG at $450; and G at $180. If the label does not have the colorband and is all black with silver text, it is valued: NM at $1,250; VG at $315; and G at $125. There are two confirmed variations of this label.

And yes, there are cover enhancements for the stereo album as well. Does the cover have a sticker promoting “Twist And Shout” and “Please, Please Me?” If so, add $200. Is the cover a converted mono cover lacking the STEREOPHONIC banner at the top but with a sticker or other marking to indicate that the cover contains a stereo record? If yes, you can add between $200 to $700 depending on the stereo designation: $200 for a white rectangular sticker with STEREOPHONIC in black; $400 for a gold foil sticker with STEREO written vertically three times in black; $500 for either an oval or rectangular gold foil sticker with STEREO written horizontally; and $700 for a black machine stamped STEREOPHONIC embossing.
If you are lucky enough to have the rarer Version One album, there are still many questions to ask. Is the album the mono or stereo? If mono, the key consideration in determining value is the cover, so we’ll run through that first.

What is on the back cover? If the back cover has color images of 25 Vee-Jay albums, you most likely have a legitimate Ad-Back. It should be paired with a disc having an oval logo on its standard size colorband label. There are three label type-setting variations. This highly desirable package is valued: NM at $4,000; VG at $1,000; and G at $400.

If the back cover is a blank semi-gloss white slick, you have a blank back. It should also be paired with a
disc having an oval logo on its standard size colorband label. Mono blank backs are valued: NM at $2,500; VG at $625; and $250.

If the back cover has the song titles listed in two columns, you have the more common Column Back (or Titles on Back) version. To determine value, we must also examine the record inside the jacket. Does the label have a colorband with an oval logo? If yes, is it a standard-size label? If yes, it is valued: NM at $1,000; VG at $250; and G at $100.

If the label is a 45-size label, it is valued: NM at $1,200; VG at $300; and G at $120. If the label has a brackets logo, it is a later pressing. But in this case, it is worth more, because fewer Version One discs were pressed with Vee-Jay’s new brackets logo. It is valued: NM at $1,500; VG at $375; and G at $150.

If you have a stereo Version One album, you have one of the rarest of all Beatles albums. The label will have a colorband and an oval logo with the word STEREO at either the top, left or right part of the label. As was the case with the mono Version One albums, the cover determines value.

What is on the back cover? If it is the 25 Vee-Jay album covers, you have one of the cornerstones of Beatles record collecting, a stereo Ad-Back. It is valued: NM at $12,000; VG at $3,500; and G at $1,200. If the back cover is blank, it is valued: NM at $10,000; VG at $2,500; and G at $1,000. If it has the song titles on the back in two columns, it is valued: NM at $14,000; VG at $3,500; and G at $1,400.

Some cautionary words are needed regarding the Version One stereo covers. As discussed at the very beginning of this article, most counterfeit covers mimic the Version One stereo column back cover.
Be sure the cover is not counterfeit based upon the tests detailed above. Also, one should be on the lookout for altered Ad-Back covers. A legitimate Ad-Back cover should have “Printed in U.S.A.” located towards the lower left side of the front cover. If it does not have this designation, the cover has been altered by having its original back slick replaced with an Ad-Back slick removed from a Betty Everett album. If the borders of the slick are not smooth, you can be sure that someone has glued on the Ad-Back slick. So, more than 2,000 words later, we have finally gone through the valuation process of an Introducing The Beatles album. Now you can see why I cringe every time I get an e-mail from someone asking me what his or her copy of the album is worth. The next time that happens, I’ll refer the person to this Goldmine article!

[Note: All of the prices in this article are from the “Price Guide for the Beatles American Records” (Sixth Edition) by Perry Cox & Frank Daniels, available through the publisher in standard, slipcase and collector’s editions at www.beatle.net.]

Click here to check out the latest price guides from Goldmine

More info available here: