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”)

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

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]

317X

317X

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 Please, Please Me Uk 1963 1st Press *gold Label* Mono Lp Dick JamesBeatles White Album Superb Uk Top Load Mono Poster Pics Top Top Rare Mono The Beatles Please Please Me Uk Mono Black Gold Parlophone Lp Pmc1202 1n/1n ClipThe Beatles - White Album: Ex+ Uk 1968 1st *mono* Press Apple Lp & Nems CoverBeatles 1967 Parlophone Lp - Sgt. Peppers Omits Day In The Life & Factory SampleBeatles Please Please Me / Ask Me Why Vee Jay 498 White Label Promo Misspelled TGenesis Uk Mono Lp Decca Lk4990 From Genesis To Revelation Beatles Floyd Rare!The Beatles - Can't Buy Me Love 45rpm With Pic Sleeve Rare 1964 PsThe Beatles - I Want To Hold Your Hand 1963 1st Press Rare Solid Centre 45rpmBeatles " Sgt Pepper "sensational Mint- Uk Mono Orig Insert Fool Inner Top CopyBeatles Sgt Pepper Rare Uk 1st Ever Press Mint Mono Y B Top Audio Ultra Rare~~The Beatles, Paul Mccartney €Beatles " Rubber Soul "superb Uk Mono Lp Nmint Vinyl & Lovely Rare Ej Day SleeveThe Beatles Meet The Beatles Original Lp Still SealedBeatles White Album Stereo Uk 1st Pressing Stereo D/lp Nr Mint Psych Superb!The Beatles Abbey Road Uk Lp 1969 1st Press Misaligned AppleThe Beatles - Please Please Me - Uk 1963 Stereo Yellow/ Black Parlophone LpBeatles 1968 Uk Mono Apple 45 - Hey Jude / Revolution - Blank Side 1 Label !Beatles Please Please Me Black Gold 1st Mono Dick James Grooved Label 1 H StampThe Beatles Yesterday And Today Mono Vinyl Lp Album T 2553 Tested Works Great!The Beatles Les Beatles Odeon Osx 222 French Rare Lennon Mccartney Harrison LpBeatles Please Please Me/ask Me Why 1st Press Red Label 45-r4983 The Beatles / White Album - Double Lp * + Poster & Photo's 1st PressThe Beatles Please Please Me 1963 Uk Mono Lp Ex/ex Parlophone Pmc 1202Beatles " Revolver " Sensational Uk Mono Dr Robert With Rarer Tnr Font The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour Lp Sealed Mfsl Original Master RecordingBeatles Something Come Together Original U.s. Apple Sleeve 45 HearBeatles I Saw Her Standing There/hold Me Tight India 1st Red Label 45-dpe 159The Beatles White Album Apple Pmc 7067 Gatefold Double Four Photos Posters AlbumBeatles Strawberry Fields Forever Capitol 5810 Picture Sleeve With 45 Nice Vg++Beatles 71-74 Uk Parlophone Lp - Sgt. Peppers Lhcb - Rare Emerald Contract PressThe Beatles White Album Lp Uk Mono Apple Top Open 1st PressBeatles Sgt. Pepper Uk 1st Pressing Lp Psych Nr Mint Complete The Beatles Lp 1966 Revolver Y/b Parlophone Mono Pmc606The Beatles - *france* 12 X Lp Box Set *excellent*Beatles " A Hard Day's Night "awesome Top Uk Mono Lp Earliest Chubby Font Mt TaxThe Beatles / Beatles For Sale Lp 1st Press StereoBeatles 71-74 Uk Parlophone Lp - With The Beatles - Rare Emerald Contract Press!The Beatles Collection Blue Box Set Uk 13 Lp's Bc With Insert PosterBeatles 1964 Genuine Version 2 Us Veejay Lp - Introducing The Beatles CrossoverBeatles Lot Of 25 Lps 16 Sealed White Vinyl White Album Mfsl Abbey Pic Disc KumThe Beatles Let It Be Original 1970 Lp Sealed Apple Ar34001 Gatefold Paul Mccartney - Run Devil Run - Rare Uk 12" Vinyl Lp - Parlophone 1999 NmJohn Lennon " Imagine "superb Mega Rare Quad Uk Mint- Lp + Inner Poster & CardThe Beatles "white Album" Stunning Mint Condition Vinyl Double LpThe Beatles "the White Album " Vinyl Lp 1968 First Pressing With Photo,s & No Beatles 14 Plus Grands Succes Lp Odeon Osx 231 1st Press Top Rare Horse Cover ™The Beatles Please Please Me Rare Red Parlophone Beatles Sgt. Pepper Uk Mono 1st Pressing Psych Excellent+ Pmc 7027The Beatles - With The Beatles - Uk Stereo First Pressing Lp On Y/b Parlophone.Beatles With The Beatles Ultra Rare Danish Gold Lbl 1st Mono PressingPaul Mccartney & Wings Maybe I'm Amazed 12" Mono/stereo 45 Rpm Promo Only 1976 The Beatles / Rubber Soul Lp 1st PressMccartney Wings" Wild Life "superb Vinyled Uk Lp Complete With Yellow InnerBeatles~massive 64 Stereo+ Mono Lp Lot~# White~mono Sgt~1st Uk Help~most Vg+..upThe Beatles Abbey Road Original Late 1969 Uk Apple Lp With Her Majesty Title. " Beatles For Sale "sensational Orig Uk Mono Lp In One Of The Best Sleeves EverThe Beatles A Hard Day's Night Original Lp Still SealedThe Beatles Collection - Australia *gold* Edition Cassette Box SetLot 04: (8) Original Beatles, Stones, Beach Boys, Animals & Dylan Empty Ps

Recent News: Beatles Records

Source: Google News

Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts Silver Laughter this weekend
Quad City Times, August 30th

“In '63, he gave us a Beatles record, but we never associated the fact that that was the same band we saw on 'The Ed Sullivan Show,' " Jon said. Fischer co-wrote Reba McEntire's 14th No. 1 country hit, “You Lie,” which spent five months on the country...Read more

Inductees lured to Lakes Region for Hall of Fame weekend
Spencer Daily Reporter, August 28th

East guitar, Dickie Lee guitar, Beach Boys record album, Beatles record album and a guitar pick guard signed by Phil Vassar, John Oates and Neal McCoy. Auctioneer Jim Sonius will also offer books, T-shirts, posters, autographed photos and much more...Read more

OU is about to get "Fancy" and "Rude"
Oaklandpostonline, August 26th

With those two hit singles, Iggy Azalea matched The Beatles' record of having her first two appearances on the Billboard Top 100 debut at numbers one and two in the same week. New Canadian band MAGIC!, has also had huge success in 2014 as their hit ...Read more

Story of Vee-Jay Records spun with irony
Orillia Packet & Times, August 22nd

The first Beatles record issued in the U.S. came out on a label that, a few years earlier, had been just a storefront in Gary, Ind. The company knew so little about the group, it misspelled the name. (SUBMITTED PHOTO) ...Read more

The man who introduced Seattle to the Beatles
KING5.com, August 22nd

A year earlier, O'Day's radio station, KJR, was the first in the country to play a Beatles record. O'Day recalled, "It went up the chart a little ways, but the local distributor for that record company didn't have much power, much clout, and so the...Read more

Hundreds of copies of the Beatles' 'White Album' like you've never seen them ...
CBC.ca, August 15th

There's no doubting it's a great record -- except maybe for "Revolution No. 9." And most people who are even semi-serious music fans probably own one copy of The Beatles' so-called White Album. (Maybe two at most, if the first one's scratched.) Not New ...Read more

New Video Game 'The Playing Beatles Backwards Devil Worship Quiz ...
Classicalite, August 11th

Yes, we've come to terms with this, we can surmise that Robert Johnson sold his soul at the crossroads, Jim Morrison was a satanic shaman and playing a Beatles' record in reverse, obviously, summons Satan himself. Well by the good graces of Lucifer ...Read more

The Beatles at Candlestick in 1966: An oral history from the fans
SFGate (blog), August 10th

So I gave my tickets to a fellow intern and another friend, who went to the concert and bought me a Beatles record album as a thank you (I still have it.) DOMONIC SIGILLO: (I was) born in The City and worked at the 'Stick for many years. The night the...Read more