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    

The Beatles Lp "yesterday & Today" Butcher Cover Pro Peel Job W Coa & Recall LtrThe Beatles - White Album Pcs 7068 Uk 2lp 1st Press 1968 + Poster & PhotosBeatles White Album Low Number 9436 Sleeve And Inners Only No RecordsBarn Attic Find Massive Job Lot The Beatles Singles Collection 45s Singles BoxBeatles " Sgt Pepper .. "mega Rare Uk Fourth Proof Sleeve Variant With Insert Beatles " White Album "super Looking & Playing Uk Mono Top Open Poster+pics " The Beatles ' Hottest Hits " Mega Rare Danish Eskimo Sleeved Original L@@k Beatles " Rubber Soul "super Uk -1-1 Loud Cut In Rare Ej Day Logo Error Sleeved The Beatles White Album - Milk White Colored Vinyl - Capitol Sebx-11841The Beatles Rubber Soul Lp 1965 Original Australia !! The Beatles 'can't Buy Me Love" 45 Rare Cover Sleeve 5150Beatles " Magical Mystery Tour " Rare Super Usa Mono Export Stickered Lp Beatles Please Please Me 1st Press Uk 45 7 Inch Red Label .ex Vinyl1966 The Beatles Original 3rd State Stereo Butcher CoverBeatles White Album 2xlp Capitol Sebx 11841 White Wax Vg++ Everything NiceThe Beatles Sgt. Peppers... 1967 Uk 1st *stereo* - Outstanding Copy - Near MintThe Beatles White Album.1968mono+0050231 Top Opening Cover+photos+poster+spacers" The Beatles Collection "orig Earliest '76 Uk Box 24 X 45's Inc Insert Unplayed1963 The Beatles 45 Please Please Me / Ask Me Why Vee Jay Vj 498 - Rare Ok ShapeThe Beatles 1970 Uk Odeon Export Press Let It Be Exellent ConditionBeatles " Please Please Me "super Uk Mono Rare No Rec First Published 4th LabelThe Beatles / Related Vinyl Job Lot Lp's As Is For Resale / Boot SaleThe Beatles-white Album-1st Pressing U.k.The Beatles "love Me Do" Orig Uk 1962 Parlophone 7" Red LabelsBeatles - Please Please Me Lp Mono 1n,1nThe Beatles 1966 Uk 1st Press Factory Sample Demo Yesterday E.pThe Beatles-hey Jude-sealed-apple-1970Beatles Love Me Do. Original 1962 Red Label 7inch 45 Very Clean Copy.. Ex +Beatles - Rubber Soul Lp MonoBeatles White Album Uk Orig Low 11765 Rare Stickered Stereo No Emi & CompleteBeatles John Lennon Large Box Set 8 Lps Pizza Box German Germany Mint Unplayed!!Beatles "love Me Do" Beautiful Red Label 1st Press With Near Mint Nems Shop BagThe Beatles - Yesterday And Today 3rd State Lp Very Presentable Butcher Cover!!!The Beatles Lot Of 7 Vinyl Records. Including The Christmas Album Marcia Griffiths - Don't Let Me Down - Harry J Pre (rare 7 ) Beatles CoverThe Beatles - Please Please Me - Rare Oz Black & Gold Mono / LpBeatles/ringo Starr Snookeroo/oo-wee Apple Demo Uk R6004Beatles - George Harrison "wonderwall Music" Original Uk Apple MonoBeatles Original 1978 U.s. ' White Album ' On White Vinyl Near Mint Complete! Beatles 1968 Uk Ist Press Mono """""""""" White Album Lp"white Album" By The Beatles (1968) Vinyl Double LpBeatles Lp Help! Famous Shell Edition Original Swedish Press. 1979 Nm Condition!The Beatles - Abbey Road -very Rare Original Japan Dark Red Vinyl Lp -obieBeatles - With The Beatles Original Mono Pmc 1206, 1n,1n LpBeatles - Double White Album Original Uk 1968 Stereo Apple Pcs 7067/8 No.0167836Beatles - Last Live Show - Lp -trade Mark Of Quality Tmoq - Green VinylThe Beatles-ticket To Ride/yes It Is-vinyl 45 W/ Near Mint Picture SleeveBeatles White Album Apple White Wax Gatefold 2xlp Nm UkBeatles Lp Help! Famous Shell Edition Original Dutch Press. 1979 Nm Condition!The Beatles:yellow Submarine,1969,apple,yex 3/1,stereoThe Beatles Let It Be Lp Australia Excondition !!Beatles Collection Of AlbumsThe Beatles:rubber Soul,1965,parlophone,stereo,yex 2/2The Beatles White Album (pmc 7067, Mono, Top, 0097129, Xex 709-1) Vg-Beatles - Help Lp Mono 2,2Beatles Beatles For Sale 1964 Uk Stereo 1st Pressing 12" Lp Excellent ConThe Beatles Abbey Road 1969 Uk Press 749-2/750-1 Apple Records Pcs 7088The Beatles Please Please Me 1st Uk 1963 1n/1n Large Mono Decca Contract VinylBeatles Love Me Do. Uk 1st 1962 Red Label Pressing No Migb .excellent Copy The Beatles White Album Uk 1st Press Stereo Vinyl Album No Emi Text Top Loader

Recent News: Beatles Records

Source: Google News

Surprise Miley Cyrus album 'Dead Petz' a time-traveling acid drop made for the ...
The State Press, August 31st

“Dooo It!” starts off the album (morbidly titled “Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz”) with a lit marijuana chorus sung in the form of a melody that fits on a Beatles record, if there wasn't a booming trap beat holding down the bottom end of it. It sounds...Read more

Yes marches on, after death of band's co-founder
The San Diego Union-Tribune, August 29th

And somebody I knew, who worked at Apple (The Beatles' record label), gave him my number.” Faster than you can say “Imagine” or “Instant Karma” (two classic Lennon recordings that both feature White), the drummer received an invitation in September ...Read more

Lee Child reads 'anything'
Boston Globe, August 29th

It's the nearest thing you can get to that old feeling of when a new Beatles' record was coming out. BOOKS: What were the first series you read? CHILD: The British author Enid Blyton wrote the kids' series “The Famous Five” and “The Secret Seven,” but...Read more

The Beatles' first record contract up for auction, August 19th

The Beatles' first recording contract is set to go on sale at auction in September. The document was signed by the band in Hamburg, Germany in 1961. John Lennon signed as JW Lennon and Paul McCartney signed his full name James Paul McCartney...Read more

Beatles first record contract up for auction in New York
amNY, August 18th

The first recording contract ever signed by The Beatles - during their early days in Hamburg, Germany - is expected to fetch about $150,000 when it goes up for auction in New York next month, the company handing the sale said on Tuesday. The contract ...Read more

The Beatles played Shea 50 years ago. Can it be?
The Journal News |, August 13th

The first was someone mentioning that The Beatles' record-breaking concert at Shea Stadium took place 50 years ago, Aug. 15, 1965. I remember that concert. I was young — extremely young, may I say — when it took place, but I remember the hysteria and ...Read more

Pepper pot shots: which classic albums do you love to hate?
The Guardian, August 6th

He's not the first artist to assassinate the Beatles record. In 2007, Billy Childish told the Guardian of his hatred for the album, a piece of music, he believes, that “signalled the death of rock'n'roll”: It sounds like it took six months to shit out...Read more

50 Years Ago: The Beatles Record 'Yesterday'
Ultimate Classic Rock, June 14th

The Beatles' “Yesterday” was one of the earliest signs of their rapid growth and maturity, and has since become one of their most beloved and enduring songs. The string-laden ballad, written by Paul McCartney, was recorded on June 14, 1965. That day...Read more