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Reference Library: Beatles Before Capitol

From: egweimi@aol.com (EgwEimi)
Newsgroups: rec.music.beatles
Subject: Vee Jay & Swan Beatles
Date: 19 Feb 1995 15:38:37 -0500

THE BEATLES B.C. -- Before Capitol

Beatles records in the United States are predominantly found on the Capitol (or Apple) label. But people often post to r.m.b. asking about records, such as Introducing the Beatles, which were released by companies other than Capitol/Apple. In these articles, I will attempt to discuss the history of Beatles recordings in the US which predate their Capitol contract. Known variations of those records will be listed, along with their approximate values. A lot of people have been asking about these records.

The first Beatles record released anywhere was "My Bonnie" and "The Saints," with the Beatles backing Tony Sheridan. This German record (Polydor NH 24-673) was issued in two forms (with a German intro or an English intro) and with a picture sleeve. Tony became popular in Germany through this recording and became known as "Mr. Twist." "My Bonnie" was Tony's first record and his break into the record industry.

As many people on r.m.b. know, the word "Beatles" was considered difficult to interpret by Germans, so Polydor billed the artist as Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers (June 1961). From that point on, Tony's band was known as the Beat Brothers, which caused some confusion to later Beatles fans.

In January of 1962, Beatles manager Brian Epstein began negotiating with Polydor to release "My Bonnie" in England. Because of his negotiations, the UK "My Bonnie" release (Polydor NH 66-833) showed the artist as "Tony Sheridan and the Beatles." The record sold modestly, apparently well enough to consider releasing it in America.

Decca Records in the US was responsible for issuing most of Polydor's Deutche Grammophon series records, of which "My Bonnie" was one. Therefore, it was Decca who released the first Beatles record in the US, credited to Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers (Decca 31382). Actually, the word "released" has to be used loosely. It can be verified that promotional copies were sent out, but since there are so few copies of the commercial single in existence (about a dozen), it is generally believed that these were scrapped in production due to poor airplay of the promo single. This single is the "English intro" version and dates to April, 1962.

My Bonnie/The Saints     Decca 31382              NM value:  $1250
     pink label (promo).  NOTE:  This record has been counterfeited.
     Original copies have the matrix number stamped into the trail-off
     by machine.  All copies with My Bonnie on both sides are fakes.

My Bonnie/The Saints Decca 31382 value: $5000+ black label with "DECCA" at left and rainbow at right. This single can be found with or without print in the rainbow. While rainbow print copies are fewer in number, the overall rarity of the single makes differentiating their values impossible. This record has been counterfeited. Originals must have the rainbow at right and should have the matrix number stamped into the trail-off by machine. All copies with all-black labels are fakes.

Although the Beatles had a (suspicious) top 20 hit in the UK with "Love Me Do," EMI affiliates outside England were reluctant to pick up the single. The US affiliate, Capitol records, declined to issue the single. When it came time for the Beatles second single to be issued, Capitol again passed on their opportunity to issue Beatles records. Vee Jay Records, a Chicago-based record label known mainly for gospel and R&B (and the Four Seasons), picked up the Beatles US contract. Record released Feb 25, 1963.

"Please Please Me"/"Ask Me Why" promo copies were sent out, garnering some airplay. The single was issued (Vee Jay 498). Promo copies and the commercial copies misspelled the group's name "Beattles." The single was available all the way through 1963, and later copies corrected this mistake.

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why        Vee Jay 498
     white label with grey rim.  Label reads "Disc Jockey Advance
     sample" and "NOT FOR SALE."  The Vee Jay logo appears
     in an oval with a treble clef, henceforth called the "oval logo".
     Artist shown as THE BEATTLES                      value: $700-$750

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. Oval logo. Artist shown as THE BEATTLES. On this issue, the authors' credits use up almost as much space as "PLEASE PLEASE ME." value: $700-$800

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. Oval logo. Artist shown as THE BEATTLES. On this issue, the authors' credits are much smaller than the song title "PLEASE PLEASE ME." value: $600-$650

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. Oval logo. Artist shown as THE BEATTLES. On this issue, the record number is shown as # 498 instead of "VJ 498" like the preceding three records. value: $800

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. Oval logo. Artist's name correct. On this issue, the titles are not in bold face. The record number is shown as # 498. The publishers' credits are in all CAPITALS. value: $800-$900

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. Oval logo. Artist shown as THE BEATLES. On this issue, the authors' credits are much smaller than the song title "PLEASE PLEASE ME." value: $600-$700

Please Please Me/Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 black label with color band. The company logo is a set of brackets surrounding the letters VJ and the words "VEE JAY RECORDS." This is called the "brackets logo." The artist's name is correct, and the authors' credits are much smaller than the song title. Issued in late 1963. value: $1000

Unfortunately for Vee Jay, "Please Please Me" failed to chart in the USA. There had been some airplay and spotted sales, but this could not match the #1 status of the single in England. A few months later, the time came to issue the Beatles' third single, "From Me To You," which of course went to #1 in England. In fact, the single was already a hit in England by the time it was issued in America on May 27, 1963. This time, there had been more airplay, and sales prospects were more promising.

From Me to You/Thank You Girl     Vee Jay 522
     white label with grey rim.  Label reads "Disc Jockey Advance
     sample" and "NOT FOR SALE."  Oval label.           value:  $400

From Me to You/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 522 black label with color band. Oval logo. The title is in bold face print. value: $200

From Me to You/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 522 black label with color band. Oval logo. The title is not in bold face print. Note: the O's in the titles are circular on this issue. value: $250

From Me to You/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 522 black label with color band. Brackets logo. The title is in bold face print. These copies are from late 1963. value: $250

From Me to You/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 522 black label with two horizontal silver bars. NO color band. Brackets logo. Issued in late 1963. value: $350-$400

The "From Me to You" single bubbled under the Hot 100, but never quite caught on in America. Still, Vee Jay decided to go ahead and issue the Beatles first album, which had been available since March in the UK. Apparently since "Please Please Me" was NOT a #1 single in the USA, Vee Jay retitled the album Introducing the Beatles. In an unusual move, Vee Jay removed "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" from the album, meaning that none of the songs on the l.p. had been issued previously in the USA. None were available as singles. The album included the songs "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You," which were later to cause Vee Jay some considerable grief, since they were issued before Vee Jay was contracted to release Beatles records. The album was supposedly issued on July 22, 1963. In reality, although copies may have been pressed early on, the album was not released until mid-fall of 1963. The use of the two songs was already in dispute, which may have been the reason that the cover does not list any of the songs.

Introducing the Beatles     VJLP 1062 (mono)
     The back cover to this issue pictures twenty five "other
     fine albums of significant interest" by other Vee Jay artists
     such as Jimmy Reed.  Black label with color band.  Oval logo.
     The front cover has "Printed in U.S.A." in the lower left hand
     corner.  Has "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You."
                                                        value: $1000-$1250

Introducing the Beatles VJSR 1062 (stereo) The back cover to this issue pictures twenty five "other fine albums of significant interest" by other Vee Jay artists such as Jimmy Reed. Black label with color band. Oval logo. The front cover has "Printed in U.S.A." in the lower left hand corner. Has "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You." This is a stereo record and PLAYS IN STEREO. The label reads STEREO either at the top or on the side. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not play in stereo is a fake. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not say stereo on the label is a fake. value: $2500+

Introducing the Beatles VJLP 1062 (mono) The back cover to this issue is glossy white and is blank. It may have been a transitional issue. It has often been called a promotional issue, although there is no print indicating this. Black label with color band. Oval logo. Has "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You." Issued late in 1963. value: $700

Introducing the Beatles VJSR 1062 (stereo) The back cover to this issue is glossy white and is blank. It may have been a transitional issue. It has often been called a promotional issue, although there is no print indicating this. Black label with color band. Oval logo. Has "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You." This is a stereo record and PLAYS IN STEREO. The label reads STEREO either at the top or on the side. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not play in stereo is a fake. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not say stereo on the label is a fake. value: $1500

Introducing the Beatles VJLP 1062 (mono) The back cover to this, the final "original" issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You" are listed and are featured on the album. Black label with color band. Oval logo. Issued in late 1963 or early 1964. value: $150-$175

Introducing the Beatles VJLP 1062 (mono) The back cover to this, the final "original" issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You" are listed and are featured on the album. Black label with color band. Brackets logo. Issued in late 1963 or early 1964. value: $250-$275

THIS ALBUM HAS BEEN RUMORED TO EXIST IN STEREO. MANY COUNTERFEIT COPIES HAVE CIRCULATED OF THIS ALBUM IN STEREO. If there are genuine copies of this album in stereo, they must say STEREO on the label and must play in stereo. The cover must also indicate stereo.

The album, Introducing the Beatles, had also failed to chart, although it had been issued in various ways. It is said that Vee Jay had not paid the copyright on its two singles. This may have been the reason why Vee Jay was not chosen to issue the Beatles fourth single in the US. OR, it may be that Vee Jay chosed to "pass" on the newest Beatles single. For whatever reason, Vee Jay cannot be faulted for not having tried. The fourth Beatles single was sent to the even-smaller Swan label, where it was issued a few weeks after the UK single. Swan Records was best known for Freddy Cannon, whose most well-known hit was "Tallahassee Lassie." For a time, all Swan records carried the words "Don't Drop Out," which were a message to American teens to stay in school. Record issued Sept. 16, 1963.

She Loves You/I'll Get You     Swan 4152
     glossy white label with black print.  An "X" appears on
     the label.  The label reads "PROMOTION COPY NOT
     FOR SALE."  The song title as written is s p r e a d  o u t
     and does NOT appear in quotation marks.  The words
     "Don't Drop Out" do NOT appear on the label.
                                                        value:  $300

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 glossy white label with red print. The song title as written is s p r e a d o u t and does NOT appear in quotation marks. The words "Don't Drop Out" do NOT appear on the label. value: $250-$275

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 flat white label with red print. The song title appears in quotation marks. The words "Don't Drop Out" do NOT appear on the label. value: $275-$300

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 glossy white label with black print. The song title and artist name are in thin capital letters. An 'X' appears on the a-side. The words "PROMOTION COPY" appear on the label. The words "DON'T DROP OUT" also appear on the label. value: $250

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 glossy white label with red print. The song title and artist name are in thin capital letters. The words "DON'T DROP OUT" appear on the label. value: $350-$375

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 glossy white label with blue print. The song title and artist name are in thin capital letters. The words "DON'T DROP OUT" appear on the label. value: $300

The Swan singles have been widely counterfeited. Original copies should have the master number stamped into the trail-off by machine along with the words "MASTERING RECO-ART PHILA." OR the words Virtue Studios should be etched into the trail-off. Any copies with bubbles in the vinyl or with pock marked or blurred labels are fakes.

By the time it came to issue the Beatles fifth single, Capitol was ready for them. The company issued an extensive promotional campaign, allegedly spending $50,000 in the N.Y.C. area alone. "The Beatles are coming" was plastered everywhere, a la Paul Revere's proclamation "The British are coming!" And they came with force. At once, Vee Jay records reissued its Introducing the Beatles album, this time with the more acceptable "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" in the place of "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You." Vee Jay was by no means out of legal trouble, however. The album was reissued on January 17, 1964.

Introducing the Beatles (second issue)  Vee Jay  VJLP-1062 (mono)
     The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns.
     "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured
     on the album.  Black label with color band.  Oval logo.
                                                        value: $175

Introducing the Beatles (second issue) Vee Jay VJSR-1062 (stereo) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. Black label with color band. Oval logo. The cover may indicate "stereo" by means of a banner across the top (part of the cover), or by a sticker added to a mono cover, or by means of machine stamped gold print on the cover. This is a stereo record and PLAYS IN STEREO. The label reads STEREO either at the top or on the side. In addition, the matrix number in the trail-off has an "S" suffix. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not play in stereo is a fake. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not say stereo on the label is a fake. value: $750-$800 white stereo sticker: +$50 sticker reading "stereo stereo stereo" (vertically): +$65 copies with gold stamping by machine: +$75

Introducing the Beatles (second issue) Vee Jay VJLP-1062 (mono) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. Black label with color band. Brackets logo. value: $90

Introducing the Beatles (second issue) Vee Jay VJSR-1062 (stereo) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. Black label with color band. Brackets logo. The cover may indicate "stereo" by means of a banner across the top (part of the cover), or by a sticker added to a mono cover, or by means of machine stamped gold print on the cover. This is a stereo record and PLAYS IN STEREO. The label reads STEREO either at the top or on the side. In addition, the matrix number in the trail-off has an "S" suffix. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not play in stereo is a fake. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not say stereo on the label is a fake. value: $650 (same values for cover stampings)

The album began to sell, becoming a hot item. Vee Jay is said to have run out of its regular labels and to have contracted out for others to press their records using whatever labels they would make. This is not necessarily true, but it is a good explanation of the various single and l.p. variations that came about.

Introducing the Beatles     Vee Jay  VJLP-1062 (mono)
     The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns.
     "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured
     on the album.  All black label.  Logo is simply "VJ" underneath
     which "VEE-JAY RECORDS" is written (in two lines).
                                                        value:  $125

Introducing the Beatles (second issue) Vee Jay VJSR-1062 (stereo) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. All black label. Logo is simply "VJ" underneath which VEE-JAY RECORDS is written (in two lines). The cover may indicate "stereo" by means of a banner across the top (part of the cover), or by a sticker added to a mono cover, or by means of machine stamped gold print on the cover. This is a stereo record and PLAYS IN STEREO. The label reads STEREO either at the side. In addition, the matrix number in the trail-off has an "S" suffix. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not play in stereo is a fake. Any copy claiming to be stereo which does not say stereo on the label is a fake. value: $750

Introducing the Beatles Vee Jay VJLP-1062 (mono) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. All black label. No color band. Oval logo. value: $175

Introducing the Beatles Vee Jay VJLP-1062 (mono) The back cover to this issue lists the song titles in two columns. "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" are listed and are featured on the album. All black label. No color band. Small brackets logo. Any copies with large brackets labels are later fakes. value: $250-$300

The Introducing the Beatles album was faked many times, as early as the late '60's. Many of these fakes claim to be stereo. Many of these fakes have the Love Me Do song title on the back. Some copies have brown borders surrounding the regular cover. NO original has this border. On some fakes, George does not have a shadow on the front cover; he has one on the originals. Some fakes have color band labels which are not well centered. Original color band labels are well-centered.

The album wound up being a hot seller for Vee Jay, being kept from the top spot on the charts by other Beatles records.

At about this time, the "She Loves You" single was given a second pressing by Swan Records. This time, all possible efforts were taken to make the record a hit, including the addition of a picture sleeve.

She Loves You/I'll Get You     Swan 4152
     Flat white label with black print.  Two "X's" appear on the
     A-side of the label.  The label reads "PROMOTION COPY"
     and "NOT FOR SALE."  The song title appears in quotation
     marks.  The words "Don't Drop Out" do NOT appear on
     the label.  The a-side publishing credit appears in 2 lines.
                                                        value:  $300

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 Black label with silver print. The song title appears in quotation marks. "DON'T DROP OUT" appears on the label. The a-side publishing credit appears in 2 lines. value: $25

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 Black label with silver print. The song title appears in quotation marks. The words "Don't Drop Out" do NOT appear on the label. The a-side publishing credit appears in 3 lines. Some of these labels appear dark green. value: $30

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 PICTURE SLEEVE This picture sleeve has been counterfeited. The counter- feit's picture lacks the quality of the original. Also, some counterfeits have perforated edges. Not so with the original. value: $50

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 Black label with silver print. The song title does not appear in quotation marks. The words "DON'T DROP OUT" DO appear on the label. The a-side publishing credit appears in 2 lines, but "(BMI)" alone is the second line. The song titles appear s p r e a d o u t. "Produced by George Martin" appears under "THE BEATLES." value: $40

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 Black label with silver print. The song title appears in quotation marks. "DON'T DROP OUT" appears on the label. The a-side publishing credit appears in 2 lines. "Produced By George Martin" appears at right. value: $40

She Loves You/I'll Get You Swan 4152 Black label with silver print. The song title and artist name are in thin capital letters. The words "DON'T DROP OUT" appear on the label. value: $40

These singles were counterfeited. See the note in part one of this article on distinguishing an original from a fake.

Swan also issued four different varieties of a one- sided promotional single featuring "I'll Get You." These were all white label with black print. The value of each is between $300 and $350 in NM condition.

The reissued Swan single hit number one. Meanwhile, Vee Jay was wishing to reissue its two singles...as 'back to back hits.' They too were not taking any chances. Promotional copes were sent out with a special sleeve, and a picture sleeve featuring the Introducing the Beatles cover photo was prepared for the new single, "Please Please Me"/"From Me to You." The single was issued on Jan 30, 1964.

Please Please Me/From Me to You     Vee Jay 581
     white label with 4 blue crossbars.  Label features two
     brackets logos.  The words "PROMOTION COPY" appear
     twice on the label.                               value: $225-$250

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 Blue and white TITLE SLEEVE for promo record. This is known as "the record that started Beatlemania" sleeve because that line is written across the top of the sleeve. Sleeve advertises the upcoming appearance by the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show. Extremely rare. value:$1200-$1500

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 black label with color band. Oval logo. May have VJ in front of the record number. value: $20

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 PICTURE SLEEVE for commercial copies. Top of sleeve is cut straight. This sleeve has been faked. The photo on many fakes is blurry. value: $200

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 black label with color band. Brackets logo. May have VJ in front of the record number. value: $25

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All black label; no color band. Oval logo. value: $35

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All black label; no color band. Brackets logo. value: $40

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All black label; no color band. Logo is simply "VJ" with the words "VEE-JAY RECORDS" written underneath. value: $40

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All black label; no color band. Label simply reads "VEE JAY" across the top. value: $35

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All black label with 2 silver crossbars. Brackets logo. value: $30

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 Yellow label with black print. Logo is simply "VJ" with the words "VEE-JAY RECORDS" written underneath. value: $40-$50

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 White label with black print. Logo is simply "VJ" with the words "VEE-JAY RECORDS" written underneath. value: $100

Please Please Me/From Me to You Vee Jay 581 All purple label. Brackets logo. value: $150

The new "Please Please Me" single charted in the top 5, kept out of #1 by other Beatles singles.

Vee Jay also thought of another way to capitalize off its two Beatles singles, including them on an album of STUDIO recordings by one of the label's other artists. Frank Ifield is best known for his version of "I Remember You." Since "From Me to You" and "Thank You Girl" had not yet been mixed for stereo, the songs appear in mono on the stereo album. This was the only US appearance of "From Me to You" on an album until 1973. This album was issued on Feb. 26, 1964.

Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage     Vee Jay VJLP 1085 (mono)
     Cover features the drawing of a man with glasses,
     a moustache, and a Beatle haircut.  May be found
     with oval, brackets, or all black "VJ" label styles.
     All three are of equal value.                      value:  $125

Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage Vee Jay VJSR 1085 (stereo) Cover features the drawing of a man with glasses, a moustache, and a Beatle haircut. May be found with oval, brackets, or all black "VJ" label styles. All three are of equal value. This is a stereo album; "Please Please Me," "Ask Me Why," and the Ifield songs should PLAY IN STEREO. Also, the album should say stereo on the label. value: $250

The above two albums are also called "Jolly What!" because these words appear at the top of the front cover. The albums have been counterfeited. All originals should have printing on the spine and should otherwise resemble other Vee Jay albums. The album was reissued with artwork from the "Love Me Do" US picture sleeve. Either this later issue was withdrawn or it did not sell. Both mono and stereo issues are rare.

Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage     Vee Jay VJLP 1085 (mono)
     Cover features a drawing of the four Beatles and lists
     the four Beatles songs featured on the album.  All
     label styles are equally valuable, as with the earlier issue.
                                                        value:  $1250

Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage Vee Jay VJSR 1085 (stereo) Cover features a drawing of the four Beatles and lists the four Beatles songs featured on the album. May be found with oval, brackets, or all black "VJ" label styles. All three are of equal value. This is a stereo album; "Please Please Me," "Ask Me Why," and the Ifield songs should PLAY IN STEREO. Also, the album should say stereo on the label. value: $4000+

While the Ifield/Beatles album was not popular, Vee Jay Records kept right on issuing Beatles singles. On its new "Tollie" subsidiary, Vee Jay issued a chart topper: "Twist and Shout"/"There's a Place." The single came out on Mar 2, 1964. There are at least a dozen label variations of this single, mostly on yellow labels, although an all black style exists. There are five different Tollie logos used on those labels, including one with Tollie in brackets! The most common singles are valued at $25, while the rarest go for $50. No genuine picture sleeve was ever issued for this single. The single has been counterfeited at least two times. The vinyl of the fakes is usually somewhat pocked marked. I refer you to Perry Cox's Beatles Price Guide for more details.

On Mar 23, 1964, Vee Jay issued its next "new" Beatles single: "Do You Want to Know a Secret"/"Thank You Girl," accompanied by a picture sleeve featuring a drawing of the Beatles' heads. This drawing was to be re-used twice.

Do You Want to Know a Secret?/Thank You Girl   Vee Jay 587
     white label with 4 blue crossbars.  Brackets logo appears
     twice.  'PROMOTIONAL COPY' appears twice.
                                                        value:  $200

Do You Want to Know a Secret?/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 587 PICTURE SLEEVE for commercial copies. value: $40-$50

Do You Want to Know a Secret?/Thank You Girl Vee Jay 587 The following label styles are known: black label with color band; oval logo ($25) black label with color band; brackets logo ($20) all black label; oval logo ($40) all black label; brackets logo ($40) all black label; "VJ" with "VEE-JAY RECORDS" under it ($40) all black label; "VEE JAY" at top of label ($35) black label with silver crossbars; brackets logo ($30) yellow label; "VJ" with "VEE-JAY RECORDS" under it ($40-$50)

Vee Jay was having success issuing new l.p.'s and singles, so it tried its hand with an e.p., also very successfully. The e.p. was offered with a potato chip promotion as well; because of this, it was not charted. But this is by far the Beatles' best selling EP in the USA.

Souvenir of Their First Visit to America   Vee Jay VJEP-1-903
     white label with 4 blue crossbars.  Two brackets logos.
     label features 'PROMOTIONAL COPY' twice.  These early
     copies featured all four songs in the same size print.  No
     cover for most promos.                             value:  $225-$250

Souvenir of Their First Visit to America Vee Jay VJEP-1-903 white label with 4 blue crossbars. Two brackets logos. label features 'PROMOTIONAL COPY' twice. Some copies feature "ASK ME WHY" in larger print. There are at least 2 varieties of this promo. No cover for most promos. value: $200

Souvenir of Their First Visit to America Vee Jay VJEP-1-903 promo title sleeve. While most promos were issued without covers and some came in the regular cover (similar to the PS for VJ 587), a few promos were issued a special title sleeve promoting "Ask Me Why." The sleeve calls the EP "the EP that is selling like a single." Fewer than 5 copies are known to exist of this rare item. value: $3000+

Souvenir of Their First Visit to America Vee Jay VJEP-1-903 commercial copies may be found in 6 label styles. The cover is composed of hard cardboard, not paper or posterboard. Copies with the color band label (oval or brackets logo) are worth $75 and $100, respectively. Other label styles are worth about $125-$150.

Next, Vee Jay issued promo copies of an "Ask Me Why"/"Anna" single. No copies were ever commercially released.

Ask Me Why/Anna          Vee Jay "Spec. DJ No. 8"
     white label with 4 blue crossbars.  Two brackets logos on
     label.  Label reads "PROMOTIONAL COPY" twice.
     Fewer than 5 known copies.                         value:  $5500+

Having great success reissuing old material, Vee Jay tried again on April 27th, reissuing "Love Me Do" and "PS I Love You." Although Vee Jay had lawsuits against them, they continued to press new records furiously. And again they had great success: another hit.

Love Me Do/PS I Love You      Tollie 9008
     white label with black print.  Logo is simply the words
     "TOLLIE RECORDS" at the top of the label.  Label reads
     "PROMOTIONAL COPY" and "NOT FOR SALE."  Fake
     promo labels with inferior print are known to exist.
                                                        value:  $200

Love Me Do/PS I Love You Tollie 9008 white label with black print. Logo features Tollie Records in a rectangular box. Label reads "Disc Jockey Advance Sample" and "NOT FOR SALE." value: $250

Love Me Do/PS I Love You Tollie 9008 commercial copies. Can be found in at least 5 varieties, with 3 different logo styles. Each falls in the $25-$40 range.

Love Me Do/PS I Love You Tollie 9008 PICTURE SLEEVE. value: $50

By this time, the Beatles Second Album, featuring both sides of the She Loves You single, was topping the charts. Swan Records' single was selling, and they apparently had the rights to issue the German version of the song, which the Beatles had recorded just before coming to America.

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You     Swan 4182
     white label with black print.  Song title on one line:
     "SIE LIEBT DICH (SHE LOVES YOU)".
     Two "X's" appear on the label.  The words "PROMOTION
     COPY" appear on the label.                         value: $250

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with black print. Subtitle on a second line in smaller print. An "X" appears on the label. The words 'PROMOTIONAL COPY' appear on the label. value: $200

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with black print. Subtitle on a second line. Title and artist name are in thin capital letters. An 'X' appears on the label. The words "PROMOTION COPY" appear on the label. value: $200

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with red print. Song title on one line: "SIE LIEBT DICH (SHE LOVES YOU)". value: $60-$75

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with red print. Subtitle on a second line in smaller print. value: $35-50

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with orange print. Subtitle on a second line in smaller print. value: $60

Sie Liebt Dich/I'll Get You Swan 4182 white label with red print. Subtitle on a second line. Title and artist name are in thin capital letters. value: $50

All "Sie Liebt Dich" singles have DON'T DROP OUT on the label. The single just made it into the top 100, not bad for a foreign language record.

A few months went by without any activity from Vee Jay. In 1964, Vee Jay Records was under fire. They had issued Beatles records, including "Love Me Do" with wild abandon. Capitol Records won a lawsuit against them, but that didn't seem to stop Vee Jay. They were told not to issue any more new Beatles records. So they issued some old ones!

Do You Want to Know a Secret?/Thank You Girl   Oldies 149
Please Please Me/From Me to You                Oldies 150
Love Me Do/PS I Love You                       Oldies 151
Twist and Shout/There's a Place                Oldies 152
     All issued August 10, 1964.  red label with white Oldies logo. 
     Some counterfeits exist with black Oldies logos.  Issued in
     standard black and red "Oldies 45" sleeves.
                                                        value each:  $10

On Aug. 12, 1964, Vee Jay issued an "old" Beatles album, which was a reissue of Introducing the Beatles. This album was moderately successful due to its also being sold at Beatles concerts. Albums with Beatles concert banner stickers on them are worth $40-$50 more. The album cover featured the photo from the "I Want to Hold Your Hand" picture sleeve and the four drawings from the VJ 587 picture sleeve.

Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles
     Vee Jay VJLP 1092 (mono)
     gatefold cover.  Known fakes have no gatefold.  Label styles:
         black label with color band; oval logo.  ($150)
         black label with color band; brackets logo ($75-$120)
         all black label with "VJ" ($100-$125)
         all black label with oval logo ($150-$175)
     All labels bear the original title of the album.

Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles Vee Jay VJLPS 1092 (stereo) gatefold cover. Known fakes have no gatefold. Label styles: black label with color band; oval logo. ($1250+) black label with color band; brackets logo ($1200) all black label with "VJ" ($1250+) All labels bear the original title of the album. Most covers say 'stereo' at the top. If the cover has sticker saying "stereo," add about $50. These records PLAY IN STEREO and say STEREO on the label. Any copies claiming to be stereo which do not pass these tests are fakes.

On Oct. 1, 1964, Vee Jay packaged its Introducing the Beatles album together with The Golden Hits of the Four Seasons. It called the collection "The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons." The front cover featured new drawings of the Beatles and the Four Seasons, plus listings of all the songs. The back cover featured a 'scorecard'. The album was issued with a poster which featured the drawings of the Beatles from the VJ 587 picture sleeve.

Beatles vs. The Four Seasons     Vee Jay   VJDX-30 (mono)
     black labels with color band; brackets logo.  The labels
     list the original titles of the albums.
                                                        value:  $300-$500

Beatles vs. The Four Seasons Vee Jay VJDXS-30 (stereo) black labels with color band; brackets logo. The labels list the original titles of the albums. The cover and the record labels say stereo, and the albums play in stereo. value: $1500

Beatles vs. The Four Seasons poster--value: $150

Vee Jay also issued a promotional album featuring interviews with the Beatles and John Lennon. The album was issued commercially and was quite a success.

Hear the Beatles Tell All     Vee Jay PRO-202
     white label with blue print.  Label reads "Promotional"
     and "Not For Sale."  Only 2 known copies exist.
                                                        value:  $5000+

Hear the Beatles Tell All Vee Jay PRO-202 black label with color band. Brackets logo. value: $125-$150

Note: the above album was faked throughout the 1970's. The fakes generally had larger print than the originals. In 1979, Vee Jay reissued the album in stereo; originals were mono. Vee Jay has also issued a shaped picture disc of the album (1987). This album was Vee Jay's last ditch effort at the Beatles market. It proved to be the only album that Capitol could not control. Capitol quickly countered with:

Beatles Story     Capitol TBO-2222 (mono)
     Two records in fold-open cover.  Interviews.  black
     rainbow label.  No print in color band.  Info stating
     "a subsidiary of Capitol Industries..." does NOT appear
     on the label.                                      value: $75-$85

Beatles Story Capitol STBO-2222 (stereo) Two records in fold-open cover. Interviews. black rainbow label. No print in color band. Info stating "a subsidiary of Capitol Industries..." does NOT appear on the label. value: $60

This was not the last issue of the Vee Jay material in the US. When Capitol finally gained control, they issued:

The Early Beatles     Capitol T-2309 (mono)
     black rainbow label.  No print in color band.  Information
     stating "a subsidiary of Capitol Industries..." does NOT
     appear on the label.                               value:  $50-$60
  
     The mono album does NOT feature the mono versions of
     the songs.  The songs on this album are reduced from
     stereo.

The Early Beatles Capitol ST-2309 (stereo) black rainbow label. No print in color band. Information stating "a subsidiary of Capitol Industries..." does NOT appear on the label. value: $50

This was essentially the Vee Jay album, with "Misery" and "There's a Place" missing. Later in 1965, Capitol issued:

Twist and Shout/There's a Place              Capitol Starline 6061
Love Me Do/PS I Love You                     Capitol Starline 6062
Please Please Me/From Me to You              Capitol Starline 6063
Do You Want to Know a Secret?/Thank You Girl Capitol Starline 6064
     These and two other Starline singles issued in Oct. 1965
     had green swirl labels.  Value of each:  $50-$65
     This was the full set of Oldies singles issued by Vee Jay.

Twenty years later, Capitol reissued "Twist and Shout"/"There's a Place" in stereo, in association with the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off, in which the a-side was featured. The single nearly made it into the top 20.

Twist and Shout/There's a Place   Capitol PB-5624
     white label promo.                                 value: $12

Twist and Shout/There's a Place Capitol B-5624 black rainbow label value: $3 This was reissued on the 'new purple label' in 1987.

Some may mention that I have omitted the MGM release of "My Bonnie." This belongs in a different article, along with the other 2 MGM Beatles/Sheridan songs and the 4 Sheridan/ Beatles songs issued by Atco. The colorful association of the Beatles with Vee Jay is what often confuses the collector/fan. If Beatles fans complain that the EMI affiliates cannibalized the Beatles' records, no one did a better and more successful job at that than Vee Jay. Deprived of their chance for success before Beatlemania, they got every dime out of the Beatles in the year that followed.


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