Beatles records are collectible for two principal reasons. First, we’re talking about the Beatles, and anything associated with the Fab Four tends to become collectible before too long. Second, though short-lived compared to, say, the Rolling Stones and other acts from the 1960s, the Beatles were extremely prolific, which means there’s a lot of their stuff to collect.

This is especially true with Beatles records, which were released at various times in the U.S. and U.K. under numerous labels. There were dozens of LPs, scores of 45s, and even a healthy smattering of EPs.

The first U.K. Beatles single was "Love Me Do," which was released on October 5, 1962 by Parlophone. It charted at number 17 in England (two years later, it would hit number one when released in the States). The first versions of the 45 had a red label on the disc, with blue, yellow, purple, and red horizontal stripes on the sleeve. This is the version of "Love Me Do" with Ringo Starr on drums. A black-labeled version of the single was released shortly thereafter with Ringo on tambourine and session musician Andy White on drums.

Other U.K. singles that are fun to collect are the songs (four each) from A Hard Day’s Night and Help! As for the last Beatles single to be released in England when the band was still together? That would be "Let It Be" on March 6, 1970.

In the United States, before Capitol Records signed the band just before their 1964 appearance on Ed Sullivan, Vee-Jay Records was responsible for the release of Beatles music on vinyl, including singles. By all accounts, they did a poor job. One famous typo was on the 1963 45 of "Please Please Me," which included an extra "t" in the band’s name on some of the earliest pressings.

Also collectible are the 45s from the early 1990s, which Capitol produced in multiple colors—green, red, pink, blue, yellow, etc.—with the words "For Jukeboxes Only!" on the label. Most rare are the black discs with "Birthday" on one side and "Taxman" on the other; only 25 to 50 of these black 45s were shipped.

Anomalies like these are what make Beatles 45s such a rich area for collectors. According to Beatles record collector Jesse Barron, there were about 16 different label variations of the 1964 Tollie Records release of "Twist and Shout," all within about six months...

A step up in size from the 45 is the EP, which generally held two songs on a side. Twist and Shout from 1963 was the first EP in England, but Long Tall Sally is almost more interesting since it was the first Beatles EP to feature songs not previously recorded on a Beatles LP. One of those songs was "I Call Your Name," which was famously covered by The Mamas & The Papas in 1966.

Magical Mystery Tour was released as a six-song, double EP in the U.K., but when it was marketed in the U.S., Capitol decided to package it as a 11-song LP. In fact, only three Beatles EPs were issued in the United States during the band’s heyday. The first was called Souvenir of Their Visit to America. Despite the clumsy title, this 1964 Vee-Jay disc sold very well since it was released at the height of U.S. Beatlemania.

Vintage vinyl Beatles LPs offer collectors amazing diversity. Not only are there records from multiple countries, there are also records in different formats. That’s because during the 1960s, a painful (to the ears) transition from mono to stereo took place. In many cases, monaural recording sessions were turned into stereo LPs during post-production, with predictably poor results.

For collectors, some of the "pure" mono recordings of that decade are therefore highly prized. These include all of the U.K. Beatles albums released in mono, from the 1963 Parlophone release of Please Please Me to 1969’s Yellow Submarine (the last U.S. mono Beatles LP was Magical Mystery Tour in 1967).

Other LPs of note include the U.S. version of Rubber Soul without the words "The Beatles" on the record’s label. In the case of A Hard Day’s Night from 1964, the first pressings in mono and stereo featured a typo on one of the song titles ("I Cry Instead" rather than "I’ll Cry Instead"). A subsequent pressing by a company called Monarch corrected the mistake but left off the running times for each song on the record’s label. These LPs are more rare than the originals.

Unquestionably the most infamous Beatles LP was Yesterday and Today with its original cover of the smiling lads sitting around in butcher aprons with pieces of meat and dismembered dolls in their laps and on their shoulders. About 750,000 copies of this cover were printed, but response to the handful of covers sent out as advance copies convinced Capitol to immediately recall them. Some were destroyed but most were pasted over with a rather boring group photo of the Beatles sitting on, and in, a steamer trunk.

Most "butcher" covers on the market today are LPs that have had the replacement "trunk" photo peeled off. The most rare examples, of course, are the LPs with the original "butcher" cover in its original shrink wrap. The best of these are the so-called "Livingston Butchers," which are any of the 24 sealed "butcher" covers that former Capitol Records president Alan Livingston stored in a closet for more than 20 years before releasing them for sale in 1987. In all cases, stereo versions are the rarest of the rare.

Finally, a few Beatles LPs appeal to both Beatles collectors and fans of Psych rock. Covers such as 1966’s Revolver and 1967’s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band certainly fit that bill, but Magical Mystery Tour is also a link to the world of rock music posters, thanks to its cover by renowned poster artist John Van Hamersveld.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]



Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Beatles Please Please Me Lp Uk 1st Press Gold/black Earliest Dick James 1a1m ZmtThe Beatles Stereo White Album Double Lp 1st Press *stunning* CompleteBeatles Get Back Uk Unreleased Rarest Lp + Press Kit + Poster Holy GrailBeatles Original Ticket To Ride Demo 1965 Promo R5265 Classic Near Mint !!Beatles Sgt Pepper 1st Uk Press Stereo + Cutout + Swirl Inner Great ConditionBeatles Original 1st Press Please Please Me Red Label 1963 Near Mint !!Beatles Please Please Me Lp Uk Y&b Press Mono 1966 'sold In Uk' Great ConditionBeatles Abbey Road Lp/vinyl 1st Press Dark Apple Misaligned Sleeve Black InnerThe Beatles Penny Lane Strawberry Fields Forever. Record Store Day 2017 New Rsd.The Beatles Revolver 12" Vinyl Lp Record 1966 G Uk Pressing - U02The Beatles Hard Days Night 12" Vinyl Lp G Uk First Stereo Pressing - U02Beatles Magical Mystery Tour German Lp Dark Apple/horzu Labels Mint *stunning*The Beatles Help 12" Vinyl Lp 1965 G Uk First Mono Pressing - U02The Beatles Sgt Pepper Complete Original 1967 Uk 1st Press Mono Lp Excellent++Badfinger No Dice Stunning Cond Uk 1st Issue Lp 2-u/2-u Apple Sapcor 16 BeatlesThe Beatles - The White Album - Photos Black Inners Poster - No 0074921 - MonoThe Beatles ~ The 1st 4 Original Beatles Albums Job Lot ~ Original 60's PressingJohn Lennon***mind Games***demo***the Beatles***listen To ItThe Beatles Please Please Me Lp Uk 1st Mono Black Gold Label Dick James MusicThe Beatles, 1964 Usa Souvenir Of Their Visit To America 7" Four Track Vj Ep.Beatles Sgt Pepper Uk Lp Earliest 2 Emi Box 'gramophone Co Ltd' Rim *stunning*The Beatles - Nowhere Man 7" Ep - Mono 1965 ParlophoneThe Beatles 1962/66 & 1967/70 12" Vinyl Lp G+ 1970/80s German Pressing - U02The Beatles: The White Album Pcs 7067/8 Con Ex The Hollies - If I Needed Someone - Uk Parlophone Demo Rare Original Beatles 45The Beatles Strawberry Fields Penny Lane Rsd 2017 7" 45 New MintThe Beatles Penny Lane Strawberry Fields Forever. Record Store Day 2017 New Rsd.The Beatles - Love Me Do (original On Red Parlophone Label)The Beatles Strawberry Fields/penny Lane Record Store Day 2017 7" Vinyl New The Beatles * The White Album * Classic 1968 Double Vinyl Album Lp + PosterBeatles - White Album Lp - No 165970The Beatles Nowhere Man Ep Emi/parlophone ExThe Beatles - 5 X Original Vinyl Lp Bundle Conditions Good/fair - Sale Price!!!!Strawberry Fields / Penny Lane - The Beatles 7" Vinyl Rsd 2017 Limited Edtn NewThe Beatles ‎– 'revolver' 12" Vinyl Album Lp. 1966 Uk Second Press. Vg-/vg-The Beatles ' Please Please Me'' Parlophone Label Pmc 1202 Mono LpThe Beatles. Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields 7" Single. Record Store Day Rsd 2017The Beatles Strawberry Fields 7" Rsd Record Store Day 2017 SealedBeatles Get Back BookBeatles I Feel Fine Rare M- Denmark 45 Purple Labels B/w She's A Woman DanishThe Beatles - Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane Rsd 2017The Beatles ' A Hard Day's Night'' Parlophone Label Pmc 1230 Mono 3rd PressingThe Beatles Long Tall Sally Ep 1st PressingHear - Tony Sheridan & The Beatles - My Bonnie - Uk Polydor Rare Great BeatDrew And Dy -"dedicated To Love" - Paul Mccartney / Apple Connection- ListenPaul Mccartney & Wings- Juniors Farm 7" 45rpm. Bside Has No Apple, *plain White*7" The Beatles - Penny Lane Rare Ep BoliviaThe Beatles-1964 Capitol "meet The Beatles" Jukebox Ep W/sleeve-vg/vg+/nm-/rareBeatles "best Of Tobe Milo Productions" Lp Test Pressing - Only Known Copy NmThe Beatles - A Hard Day`s Night - Norway/norwegian Single Record!The Beatles - Long Tall Sally - Norway/norwegian Single Record!Beatles Abbey Road Lp 1st Uk Press 1969 Pristine Misaligned Cover Unplayed Mint112 Lp '60 - '70s Rock / Pop Lot #2 - Beatles, Dylan, M Jackson, Grateful DeadThe Beatles Collection Blue Boxed Set Like New 14 Lps Vinyl Records Rare AlbumsThe Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever Vinyl 7 In. Record Store Day 2017Beatles Yesterday And Today Mono Sealed Cap T2553 Non Butcher CoverBeatles Revolver 【japan Limited Red-vinyl】 Mono Audiophile Lp Obi Insert Nm/nmOriginal Beatles Green Disk Go Case For 45 Record Storage!Huge Lot Of 35 Classic Rock Lps - Beatles Stones Who Doors The Band Eagles EtcThe Beatles White Album Lp Germany Dmm Embossed Numbered Shrink Wrap