Introducing... The Beatles
|Introducing... The Beatles|
|Studio album by The Beatles|
|Released||10 January 1964 (revised version 10 February 1964)|
|Recorded||11 September and 26 November 1962, 11 and 20 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
|Genre||Rock, rock and roll|
|The Beatles North American chronology|
|Singles from Introducing... The Beatles|
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!. It was the subject of much legal wrangling, but ultimately, Vee-Jay were permitted to sell the album until late 1964, by which time it had sold more than 1.3 million copies.
When the "Please Please Me" single was issued in the United States, Vee-Jay Records signed a licensing agreement with Transglobal, an EMI affiliate that worked to place foreign masters with US record labels, giving it the right of first refusal on Beatles' records for five years. As part of that agreement, 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.
Originally, Vee-Jay considered releasing Please Please Me as it appeared in the United Kingdom. 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. But in keeping with the American norm of a 12-song album, Vee-Jay chose instead to delete "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why" and change the album's title to Introducing... The Beatles. 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" from Vee-Jay's mono and stereo masters. Except for those deletions, 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 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967.
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. But, despite the claims of many older books that Introducing... The Beatles was first released on 22 July 1963, no paper trail exists to suggest that the album was released at any time in 1963.
After a management shake-up at the label, which included the resignation of company president Ewart Abner after he used company funds to cover gambling debts, Vee-Jay cancelled Introducing... The Beatles as well as albums by Frank Ifield, Alma Cogan and a Jewish cantor.
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.
On 14 December 1963, Billboard magazine mentioned that Capitol Records planned an all-out promotional campaign for the Beatles in the United States. On 7 January 1964, Vee-Jay's board of directors met for the first time since that announcement, 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.
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". This cover is known by collectors as the "Ad Back" version and is highly sought-after. 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 (no ellipsis) 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.
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. 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.
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 deleted "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 approximately 10 February 1964.
Because of the initial restraining order, version two of Introducing... The Beatles did not enter the Billboard album charts until three weeks after Meet the Beatles! Once it did, it quickly rose to the number two spot, where it stayed for nine straight weeks. It also peaked at number two in Cash Box, and it got to number one in Record World magazine.
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. 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. 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 licence expired, and all rights would revert to Capitol. 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, true stereo copies are rare.
Twice before its licence expired, Vee-Jay repackaged Introducing... The Beatles. Although neither album contained any new music, both of them made the Billboard album charts.
One of these was Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles (Vee-Jay VJLP(S)-1092), 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. Songs, Pictures and Stories was released either in late July 1964 or 12 October 1964, with the latter the more likely date, because it entered the Billboard album chart on 31 October. It eventually peaked at number 63.
The other one 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. 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.
On 22 March 1965, Capitol issued The Early Beatles, which contained 11 of the 14 tracks that had previously been issued on Vee-Jay. "Misery" and "There's a Place", two songs on Introducing... The Beatles, would not make their Capitol Records LP debut until 1980, on the US version of Rarities.
Introducing... The Beatles has never been officially released on compact disc in America, although imported pirate 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").
It is interesting to note that the song "I Saw Her Standing There", which was first released in the UK on the Please Please Me LP, appeared in the US on both the Vee-Jay album as well as Capitol's Meet The Beatles! LP. These two albums were initially issued almost simultaneously, marking the only time that two different Beatles' albums, each from a different record label, were released at around the same time with one song appearing on both albums. The only difference between the two is Paul's count-off is cut short on the Vee-Jay release by three numbers leaving only "four!" on the intro. Although, 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 a few weeks earlier.
Starting in the late 1960s and continuing through the 1990s, Introducing... The Beatles was frequently counterfeited. These counterfeits can be identified by the cover printing and quality, the label, or the sound quality.
The counterfeits may have some differences from the commercial issue. For example, one common variation has the title of the album and the group's name separated by the center spindle hole, even though all variations legitimately released by Vee-Jay Records have both the title and the group's name above the hole.
On another counterfeit variation, 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.
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, the majority of copies with "stereo" or "stereophonic" printed on the cover are counterfeits.
There are also known fake versions of Songs, Pictures, and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles. 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 add "From Me To You" to side 1 as track 4.
All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.
|1.||"I Saw Her Standing There" (Paul McCartney counting "one, two, three" is omitted; recording starts with "four"))||McCartney||2:50|
|2.||"Misery"||Lennon and McCartney||1:48|
|3.||"Anna (Go to Him)" (Arthur Alexander)||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"||McCartney and Lennon||2:19|
|1.||"P.S. I Love You"||McCartney||2:04|
|2.||"Baby It's You" (Burt Bacharach, Mack David, Barney Williams)||Lennon||2:41|
|3.||"Do You Want to Know a Secret"||Harrison||1:59|
|4.||"A Taste of Honey" (Ric Marlow, Bobby Scott)||McCartney||2:05|
|5.||"There's a Place"||Lennon and McCartney||1:53|
|6.||"Twist and Shout" (Phil Medley, Bert Russell)||Lennon||2:33|
- The Beatles
- George Harrison – lead guitar, vocals
- John Lennon – rhythm guitar, harmonica, vocals
- Paul McCartney – bass guitar, vocals
- Ringo Starr – drums, vocals
- George Martin – producer
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