The Beatles, Introducing The Beatles, Vee Jay 1062, 1964
Whole books have been written about this album. Their themes deal with questions like: How did a small Mom & Pop Blues label from the South Side of Chicago wind up with a 5 year contract on The Beatles? How did Vee Jay Records manage to screw it all up so quickly? How many counterfeits were made of this record? And, why are there so many variations for this album’s track listing, outer jacket and record label?
I would imagine to find and buy all variations of Vee Jay 1062 would take a decade and thousands of dollars. An online source I just checked listed 16 cover variations and 31 label variations, and that’s just for legitimate copies. It would be nuts to try to figure out variations of fake VJ 1062 records made in the last 53 years. That guide tells me that this is a Version 2 (it includes Please Please Me and Ask Me Why, and not Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You) Mono cover with Please Please Me having a comma between the two Pleases.
The record is a version 2 mono copy, with the simple silver on black label, without a stylized Vee Jay logo or color band. It’s a fairly common combination, but I don’t care. No matter the version, this is a great, fun album to have in any collection. It’s the only album I know that features the songwriting team of “McCartney – Lennon”. And because the Vee Jay engineer didn’t know what to do with Paul’s “One Two Three FOUR!” count-in on the master tape of I Saw Her Standing There, and he apparently didn’t know how to edit very well, the album begins with Paul shouting “FOUR!” While it’s very easy to dismiss this album because all of the music has been reissued time and time again by EMI, I’d still call this record essential. Who cares if you get a fake one for $10!
Cost: $10, $225 Remaining
Madelaine/Sister Adele, Dominique, Diplomat 2303 & 1020, 1963
First of all, who says you can’t buy an Adele record on vinyl for cheap? True, this might not be the first Adele that comes to mind, but still… This was going to be a lesson on label variation, meaning I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw two different labels for the same dopey copy cat album from our friends at Diplomat Records. They’re the schlocky outfit that had a JFK tribute album out in stores within a week of the assassination. Just after that tragedy, with the national mood in a funk similar to the election of Donald Trump, Ed Sullivan dispensed with the usual pop act and featured a film of a Belgian Nun singing some simple Bible themed songs she’d written to children. Well, the record that Nun made was quickly leased to Phillips Records, and both the album and the single of Dominique quickly shot to number one.
Naturally, Diplomat Records needed to grab a hold of that gravy train. They rush released a cheaply recorded version by “Sister Adele” which was somehow “Sung By Madelaine”. Whomever is singing, it’s clear that they sing in French as a second language. Not that I speak French, but I’m familiar enough with the original record to know that Sister Adele isn’t singing the same words. I almost want to study French to solve the mystery, with the hope being that she sings something along the lines of “you fools, you saved Fifty Cents but didn’t get the real record”.
But while I couldn’t believe Diplomat shelled out to print two different covers, the one with the fake nun pretending to sing to some kids out in the woods of New Jersey is actually a Stereo pressing! Why a discount label would even bother with that expense is beyond me, and I can’t find any information about any other Diplomat records coming out in Stereo. Still, I listened to it and sure enough it’s in some kind of Stereo. Madeleine comes out of one speaker and the fake background nuns come out of the other! I’m beginning to realize that I might have just found the Holy Grail of the discount record, pun very much intended.
Cost: $2, $611 Remaining
The Melachrino Strings, Music To Help You Sleep, RCA Victor LPM-1006, 1958
All dolled up and nowhere to go but dreamland. Days of shopping for satin sheets and sexy lingerie, hours of hair and make up time, yet no one will see beyond the few thousand buyers of this record. Unlike last night’s offering from the Melachrino Strings, I really feel that this record may actually achieve what it’s title promises. I can’t imagine putting this on and staying awake for very long.
The back cover won’t help anyone stay awake either. Starting off with a long citation from none other than William Shakespeare, zzz, more poetry and philosophical quotes and proverbs, Zzz, and ending with a passage from Don Quixote, ZZZ, this record really is one big snooze-fest. Wake me up when September ends.
Record-wise, this is really curious. As you might imagine, there’s very little information online about these records, but discogs.com has a listing of albums released by The Melachrino Strings. Although this record’s catalogue number is LPM-1006, one higher than yesterday’s featured record, it came out five years and several albums later. At first I thought there must be a misprint somewhere in the dates, but the labels are really different. It’s not like this was the kind of record that would ever be reissued, so somebody at RCA misnumbered the Moods In Music catalogue. Still, it’s a small point that only a true collector would notice. I’m not going to lose any sleep over it.
Cost: $2, $805 Remaining