I was recently asked by a pal about how to tell the difference between legitimate Beatles releases on Vee Jay Records versus counterfeits. Though this could cover a serious amount of ground, I think just a few main pointers might be useful therefore this is by no means a comprehensive list.
First, Introducing The Beatles or ITB for short. This LP is probably the most widely reproduced (counterfeited) LP of all time. I’ve probably seen this album in about 90% of the used record stores I’ve visited. And about 75% of them were not authentic 1964 pressings. I even remember seeing sealed reproductions, in the late 1970’s and early 80’s, in some big bargain department stores like K-Mart and Master’s. The reasons behind this have been widely speculated about. But that subject is for another time.
1. Any ITB LP that has “The Beatles” printed below the hole for the disc to slide onto the turntable is a counterfeit.
2. Any jacket without ¼ inch flaps on the top and bottom inside seams, (where the LP slips in and out of), is a counterfeit.
3. A copy with the stereophonic banner on the front cover but does not have the word “Stereophonic” or “Stereo” on the LP label is a counterfeit, or does not contain a true stereo disc.
4. Authentic stereo LP’s will say “Stereophonic” or “Stereo” on the LP labels.
5. There appears to be no known counterfeit of “ITB” with a rainbow band logo on the label.
6. No shadow on the front of the jacket. No good.
8. Blurry watch on John’s wrist. Don’t bother. (John wore a watch?!)
9. Brown border on the front cover. Also, no good.
On to “Songs, Pictures & Stories of the Fabulous Beatles.” Like ITB, I’ve seen counterfeits of this all over the place back in the early 1980’s, including in the department stores.
1. Any jacket that omits “Stories” from the jacket cover is a counterfeit.
2. These same jackets which omit “Stories” also do not have the ¾ gatefold. Reproduction.
3. Vee Jay never pressed a separate LP for “Songs, Pictures & Stories of the Fabulous Beatles”. They just stuck surplus stock of “Introducing The Beatles” inside the jacket. See the above tips for the determining the authenticity of the disc.
General Vee Jay stuff to remember:
1. Vee Jay never issued any record in colored vinyl or a picture disc.
2. Original pressings of “Hear The Beatles Tell All” was were not issued in stereo. Copies with the jacket listing STEREO by the top border of the jacket are not original pressings. This was another album that got pretty wide distribution in the 1980’s.
3. No spine printing on the “Beatles & Frank Ifield” album. No good.
Again, I’m not covering everything here. There’s plenty more to go. Feel free to add any in the comments section for discussion.