Introducing... The Beatles
Vee-Jay Records had the privilege of releasing the first Beatles album in the United States. It had been planned for July of 1963, but legal tangles with EMI and Capitol records held it up for six months. This came about because EMI had given the Beatles a record deal in the UK, and the British affiliate, Parlophone, was responsible for all of the early Beatles records in the UK. EMI's main US affiliate, Capitol Records, was wary of associating its name with the group, and declined to be the US producer of the Beatles' first singles. Vee-Jay stepped in and distributed Please Please Me instead. They had signed an agreement with the EMI affiliate in the US responsible for foreign masters, under which they had a five-year right of first refusal on the Beatles. Their plan was to release the first UK album (Please Please Me) without changes, but backed away from a 14-track LP. (Twelve tracks was the US standard.) Instead, they removed the two songs on the 45 rpm release (Please Please Me and Ask Me Why) and changed the name of the record to Introducing … The Beatles. Paul's count-in on I Saw Her Standing There was also deleted. Otherwise, the album is the same as its UK counterpart.
The record was prepared in May of 1963 for a July launch. The head of Vee-Jay had siphoned off funds from the company to cover gambling debts, resulting in a postponement of this release as well as several others. Because Vee-Jay did not report royalties on their sales, Transglobal cancelled Vee-Jay's contract in August. Nevertheless, the new management at Vee-Jay decided to go forward with the project in January of 1964. The album covers had been produced, but there was no back cover, so Vee-Jay promoted "other albums of interest" instead. The so-called "Ad-back" version of the first US LP of the Beatles is a prize for collectors.
Just before the release of the album, a Capitol affiliate obtained a restraining order to prevent its sale because Vee-Jay did not have the rights to Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You. At the last minute, Vee-Jay deleted those two tracks and added back the two that had been taken out earlier. The first version sold about 80,000 copies before the legal fight. A second version, with all 14 tracks, sold over 1.3 million copies (all but 40,000 in mono) and rose to number two in the charts.
Vee-Jay and Capitol settled their litigation in April of 1964. Vee-Jay's license to sell the album would expire in October, with all rights returning to Capitol. During this time, Vee-Jay repackaged the record in a couple of different ways, and these albums are considered prizes for collectors. One was Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles. The other was a two-record set with the Four Seasons providing the second disc. Finally, in March of 1965. Capitol reissued the album with only 11 of the original 14 songs. It was called The Early Beatles.
To add to the confusion, this first Beatles LP was also counterfeited widely. Even though the fakes are relatively easy to distinguish, they, too have acquired value for collectors.
|Side A||Lead Vocals||Written by||Length|
|I Saw Her Standing There||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:57|
|Misery||Lennon with McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||1:50|
|Anna (Go to Him)||Lennon||Arthur Alexander||2:57|
|Chains||Harrison||Gerry Goffin, Carole King||2:26|
|Boys||Ringo Starr||Luther Dixon, Wes Farrell||2:27|
|Love Me Do||McCartney & Lennon||Harrison||2:22|
|P.S. I Love You||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:05|
|Baby It's You||Lennon||Mack David, Barney Williams, Burt Bacharach||2:38|
|Do You Want to Know a Secret||Harrison||Lennon/McCartney||1:59|
|A Taste of Honey||McCartney||Bobby Scott, Ric Marlow||2:05|
|There's a Place||Lennon & McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||1:52|
|Twist and Shout||Lennon||Phil Medley, Bert Russell||2:33|