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Collector’s Corner: The Beatles singles on the Oldies label (a subsidiary of Vee-Jay Records)

Happy Nat holds up two of his Oldies 45's issued by Vee-Jay Records. One has a special Christmas/New Year's sleeve and the other is in the standard black sleeve issued on the first copies in 1964.

Happy Nat holds up two of his Oldies 45′s issued by Vee-Jay Records. One has a special Christmas/New Year’s sleeve and the other is in the standard black sleeve issued on the first copies in 1964.

 

This time around in the Collector’s Corner I’m throwing out some details about a series of four Beatles singles issued by Vee-Jay on their Oldies subsidiary label. All of the singles had already seen an earlier release as I’ll describe further below.

Background and general info

It was in the fall of 1963 that Vee-Jay Records established their Oldies line of singles as an outlet to reissue many of their previously released singles. At that time it was more popular to see older hits on album collections but the company reasoned that the price of singles would better fit the budget of the younger age bracket of record buyers. Vee-Jay decided to release their 4 Beatles singles from 1964 on the Oldies label on August 10th, 1964. It may seem a bit strange that four singles that were only released earlier in the same year would already be put on the Oldies label but there was a couple of reasons for this. Sales for these earlier singles was now starting to slow down, but by reissuing them and getting them into the “oldies” section of the stores, they might hope to boost sales and make just a little bit more money on the same music. They did not want to hold off and do this later because their October 15, 1964 deadline was rapidly approaching. Vee-Jay was prohibited from manufacturing or distributing any Beatles records after that date due to the outcome of court proceedings in their case with Capitol Records held earlier in the year. Besides, all of the songs on these 4 discs were recorded in 1962 or early 1963 anyway, so they could in that respect be considered “oldies” in comparison with The Beatles newer recordings available on Capitol Records at the time. So this was just another way that Vee-Jay sought to maximize it’s income using The Beatles’ name.

The 4 Oldies Singles

The four singles issued on August 10th, 1964 were:

1) “Do You Want To Know A Secret” b/w “Thank You Girl” (OL 149): This single was originally issued on Vee-Jay Records on March 23, 1964 as VJ 587.

A-Side of Oldies OL 149, Do You Want To Know A Secret (click to enlarge)

A-side of Oldies OL 149, Do You Want To Know A Secret (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 149, Thank You Girl (click to enlarge)

B-Side of Oldies OL 149, Thank You Girl (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay's first issuance of Do You Want To Know A Secret as a single was on March 23, 1964 as VJ 587 (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay’s first issuance of Do You Want To Know A Secret as a single was on March 23, 1964 as VJ 587 (click to enlarge)

 

2) “Please Please Me” b/w “From Me To You” (OL 150): This single was originally issued on Vee-Jay Records on January 30, 1964 as VJ 581.

A-Side of Oldies OL 150, Please Please Me (click to enlarge)

A-side of Oldies OL 150, Please Please Me (click to enlarge)

B-Side of Oldies OL 150, From Me To You (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 150, From Me To You (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay's first issuance of Please Please Me/From Me To You as a single was on January 30, 1964 as VJ 581 (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay’s first issuance of Please Please Me/From Me To You as a single was on January 30, 1964 as VJ 581 (click to enlarge)

 

3) “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” (OL 151): This single was originally issued on Tollie Records (a subsidiary of Vee-Jay) on April 27, 1964 as T-9008. The version of “Love Me Do” is the Please Please Me LP version with Andy White on drums (and Ringo Starr on tambourine) recorded on September 11, 1962 and not the version recorded on September 4, 1962 with Ringo Starr on drums and issued on the original British Parlophone Records single in 1962.

A-Side of Oldies OL 151, Love Me Do (click to enlarge)

A-side of Oldies OL 151, Love Me Do (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 151, P.S. I Love You (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 151, P.S. I Love You (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay's first issuance of Love Me Do as a single was on their Tollie subsidiary on April 27, 1964 as T-9008 (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay’s first issuance of Love Me Do as a single was on their Tollie subsidiary on April 27, 1964 as T-9008 (click to enlarge)

 

4) “Twist And Shout” b/w “There’s A Place” (Ol 152): This single was originally issued on Tollie Records (a subsidiary of Vee-Jay) on March 2, 1964 as T-9001.

A-Side of Oldies OL 152, Twist And Shout (click to enlarge)

A-side of Oldies OL 152, Twist And Shout (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 152, There's A Place (click to enlarge)

B-side of Oldies OL 152, There’s A Place (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay's first issuance of Twist And Shout as a single was on their Tollie subsidiary on March 2, 1964 as T-9001. This is the b-side, with There's A Place (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay’s first issuance of Twist And Shout as a single was on their Tollie subsidiary on March 2, 1964 as T-9001. This is the b-side, with There’s A Place (click to enlarge)

 

Note: As with all Beatles single releases at the time, mono mixes were used. Vee-Jay did not remix the tracks for the American market as Capitol often did, so these are the same mixes that appear on the U.K. mono releases. All tracks can be found on the Please Please Me LP except “From Me To You” and “Thank You Girl” which would be on the Past Masters 2-CD set (in stereo). In today’s catalog you’ll find the mono versions on the Mono Masters 2-CD set that comes packaged with The Beatles in Mono box set.

Sleeves

Singles issued with the Oldies label were issued with black sleeves. Both the Oldies logo in white and a yellow or gold “45″ appear above the center hole. Across the bottom of the sleeve the phrase “Original Hits By The Original Artists” is printed in yellow or gold in all capital letters. Many of these records that were distributed to stores closer to the October deadline came in a special Beatles Christmas sleeve customized by Vee-Jay during that month. These sleeves have “The Beatles” in large purple print at the top and “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” in red just under that. “And A Happy New Year” appears below that in green. All of the print is in all capitals above the center hole, which is surrounded by the same portraits of the Beatles faces that appears on the picture sleeve for the Vee-Jay “Do You Want To Know A Secret” (VJ 587) single.

 

Standard black sleeve issued with Oldies series singles on Vee-Jay Records (click to enlarge)

Standard black sleeve issued with Oldies series singles on Vee-Jay Records (click to enlarge)

Special Beatles Christmas Sleeve issued in October 1964 for Beatles singles on Vee Jay & Oldies label (click to enlarge)

Special Beatles Christmas Sleeve issued in October 1964 for Beatles singles on Vee-Jay & Oldies label (click to enlarge)

Vee Jay used the same portraits of the Beatles' faces for their Christmas sleeve that was used on the previously issued picture sleeve for their Do You Want To Know A Secret single (click to enlarge)

Vee-Jay used the same portraits of the Beatles’ faces for their Christmas sleeve that was used on the previously issued picture sleeve for their Do You Want To Know A Secret single (click to enlarge)

 

Spotting the fakes

These records have been largely counterfeited. The large stocks of these records in stores serviced by certain distributors throughout the sixties and seventies has led to speculation that these records were pressed well beyond the October 15, 1964 deadline. Whether these pressings were arranged by someone previously associated with Vee-Jay or by counterfeiters remains unknown. It’s possible that surviving stampers were used after 1964 to make unauthorized pressings of the record. Here are some guidelines to help determine if your copy (or copies) are actually from 1964 or confirmed counterfeits:

  1. If their is no dash between the “OL” in the catalog number and the numeric part of the number then it is likely an authentic 1964 pressing (e.g. “OL 149,” not “OL-149″). But this doesn’t mean that if there is a dash, it isn’t a 1964 pressing. If there is a dash, look for the registered trademark symbol (i.e. ‘®’) above the “45″ logo in the two o’clock position of the label. If this symbol is clear, it is likely authentic. If it is only barely visible or blurred, it is very unlikely that it is a true 1964 pressing (see photo below).
  2. The 1964-pressed discs have glossy (not flat) red labels. Flat red labels are not “confirmed” counterfeits but most likely are either counterfeit or unauthorized (i.e. post-Oct. 15, 1964) pressings.
  3. If the labels are pink or blood red with the Oldies logo and “45″ in black print instead of white, they are confirmed counterfeits.
  4. If the discs are made with colored vinyl, they are confirmed counterfeits.
The trademark symbol (encircled R) above the 45 should be clearly defined (visible and not blurry) if it is a true 1964 pressing of an Oldies Vee Jay single.

The trademark symbol (encircled R) above the 45 should be clearly defined (visible and not blurry) if it is a true 1964 pressing of an Oldies Vee-Jay single (click photo to enlarge).

Worth

Authentic 1964 pressings of any of the 4 Vee-Jay Oldies singles (OL 149, OL 150, OL 151 and Ol 152) by The Beatles are worth about $100 in near mint (NM) condition. In very good (VG) condition they are worth between $25 and $40. You can often find these on Ebay for a lower cost but “buyer beware.” Consult the information in “Spotting the fakes” above and ask lots of questions before purchasing. The dealers I’ve listed below are a safer bet for authentic copies of these singles.

Note: The above estimate on worth is based on the Price Guide For The Beatles American Records by Perry Cox & Frank Daniels (2004 edition). Although this reference is some years old now, recent sales have also been researched and show no appreciable change. However, please note that these values can vary based on specific condition of the vinyl and it’s packaging, other physical attributes, immediate demand/availability and many other factors. In other words, this only a guideline. “Near mint” (NM) or “Very Good” (VG) conditions are in line with the standards of Goldmine magazine as defined here. For additional information (or valuations, as I will not estimate any further on value myself) please consult with one of the reputable dealers I’ve listed below.

Final info/acknowledgments

The subject of all photographs of record labels, sleeves, etc., in this article are of actual items within my very own record collection. These items are listed as entries in my online vinyl inventory as linked below:

  1. “Do You Want To Know A Secret” b/w “Thank You Girl” (Oldies 45 OL 149)
  2. “Please Please Me” b/w “From Me To You” (Oldies 45 OL 150)
  3. “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” (Oldies 45 OL 151)
  4. “Twist And Shout” b/w “There’s A Place” (Oldies 45 OL 152)
  5. “Please Please Me” b/w “From Me To You” (Vee-Jay 45 VJ 581)
  6. “Twist And Shout” b/w “There’s A Place” (Tollie 45 T-9001)
  7. “Do You Want To Know A Secret” b/w “Thank You Girl” (Vee-Jay 45 VJ 587)
  8. “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” (Tollie 45 T-9008)
A few dealers in Beatles collectibles

Gary Hein: visit online at www.beatles4me.com
Perry Cox: email to perrydcox@aol.com
Rockaway Records: visit online at www.rockaway.com.

Happy Nat would like to credit the following people and resources for assistance with this article:

  • Songs, Pictures And Stories of the Fabulous Beatles Records on Vee-Jay by Bruce Spizer
  • Way Beyond Compare, The Beatles Recorded Legacy Volume 1 by John C. Winn
  • Price Guide For The Beatles American Records by Perry Cox & Frank Daniels
  • www.discogs.com for Goldmine standards on grading
  • www.mybeatlescollection.com
  • Heather for photography

Please let me hear from you if you have questions, comments, corrections or anything to add. The comments section is right here.


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, Beatles music related to this post:

1) Please Please Me – 2009 remaster of origianl 1963 stereo LP. Contains stereo mixes of 6 of the 8 tracks on the 4 Vee-Jay singles discussed above. The exception is “Love Me Do” included here in the same mono mix as in the Oldies single discussed above. The two tracks not included appear on Past Masters (see next listing). These tracks are “Thank You Girl” and “From Me To You.”

2) Past Masters – 2009 remastered 2-CD set of original 2008 Past Masters (Vols. 1 & 2) compilations. Contains non-LP tracks by The Beatles, including stereo mixes of “Thank You Girl” and “From Me To You.” Also contains the original mono mix of “Love Me Do” with Ringo Starr on drums that was issued on their debut U.K. single on Parlophone. Alternate mixes of these three songs also appear on the singles described above.

3) The Beatles Mono Box Set – 2009 remastered 13-CD set of all U.K. mono albums in The Beatles catalog, including their Please Please Me debut LP and the 2-CD Mono Masters compilation. Between these two CD albums you will have the same mixes of all 8 tracks found on the Vee-Jay/Oldies singles covered in this post.

4) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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3 Comments

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    The minutiae of record collecting. I LOVE IT! Great post! Although I have very little vinyl in my collection (conscious decision to just collect CDs as I could never catch up without a lottery win to the vinyl I want) I totally appreciate what it is and all the variants and the stories behind them. You’d think there would be more uniformity in releases. But apparently with each new record plant, new machines change how things are done in each facility. And of course shady dealings like VeeJay after their contract was up still making records (from what I’ve read) anyway. lol I think this post has raised the bar for future collecting posts. Great job!

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thank you Leo. I take this same approach for the other nine (so far) Collector’s Corner posts all linked here in case you haven’t noticed (I realize you probably have, but just in case). There is so much “shadiness” (to use too kind of a word) out there on Ebay when it comes to Beatles records – I feel like this may help to up the awareness of how a lot out there isn’t what it seems.

      • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

        I have noticed, but it’s great to see the attention to detail. I would avoid Ebay as a source for buying most anything vintage sight unseen, but that’s me. I have considered buying a Japanese version of the Y&T cover just because it’s cheap but I wouldn’t pay more than $30 tops! I have a nice litho of the cover I want and I passes on a $900 mono back in the early 1990s from Gary Heim. It was very good and he peels great! But if anyone is going to delve into Ebay as a source for collectible vinyl, posts like these can do nothing but help them in their quest for the real thing.

        PS- Every time I read posts here, I must go listen to their music. lol What did they put in those recordings that call me back again and again?

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