DEAR JERRY: You have written about how Vee-Jay first issued the “Introducing the Beatles” album with certain songs, then quickly replaced some tunes with others.
What I don't know is why they did this. Was there a conflict of some sort, or was it strictly a marketing decision?
Todd Westerman, Gettysburg, Pa.
DEAR TODD: It's all about conflicts and lawsuits, an endless stream of which Capitol Records brought against Vee-Jay in early 1964.
Entire books exist documenting Vee-Jay's trials and tribulations with regard to Beatles history, though answering your question will not require nearly as much ink.
The fuss revolved around Vee-Jay's inclusion on the LP of just two tracks: “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”
It seems Ardmore & Beechwood, the U.K. music publisher holding rights to those songs, did not license these two tunes to Vee-Jay.
By the time official notification of Ardmore & Beechwood's complaint and eventual cease production order arrived at Vee-Jay, in Chicago, several thousand copies of “Introducing the Beatles” already existed.
To avoid further discord, subsequent copies replaced “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” with two songs of no concern to Ardmore & Beechwood: “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why.”
All of this happened in the summer of 1963; however, one year later Vee-Jay, and their Tollie imprint, did win the right to release “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” (Tollie 9008) as a single.
The result of that effort would be the fourth No. 1 hit for the Beatles in the U.S.
Despite the success of the single, a profit no doubt shared by Ardmore & Beechwood, the order forbidding the use of those two cuts on an album puzzlingly remained in force.
The courts allowed Vee-Jay to continue releasing and repackaging their masters for several months with the understanding that Capitol would take control of all Beatles recordings by mid-October, which they did.
Several years after Vee-Jay dropped out of the picture, someone manufactured tens of thousands of bogus “Introducing the Beatles” LPs, making it the most counterfeited record album in history.
Whether or not anyone with a connection to Vee-Jay assisted in this operation is not known, though the exceptionally high quality of the fakes far superior than is typical from the average counterfeiter at least raises the question of who may have been the source.
Thankfully, there are several reliable indicators, on both covers and discs, that make authentication possible.
For the scoop on this, visit: rarebeatles.com/photospg/introvj.htm
DEAR JERRY: I know Motown is one of the hottest labels in the 1960s, but I recently read an amazing fact.
According to the story, Motown once claimed one-half of the nation's Top 10 hits.
What are the specific songs and the date of this impressive accomplishment?
Douglas Winthrop, Rochester, Wash.
DEAR DOUGLAS: The exceptional event, which happened the week ending January 4, 1969, is slightly more remarkable than stated in the story you read.
It could have been worded that five of the Top 7 hits that week came from the Motown Corporation!
Here they are, along with that week's ranking:
1. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (Marvin Gaye).
2. “For Once in My Life” (Stevie Wonder).
3. “I'm Gonna Make You Love Me” (Diana Ross & the Supremes with the Temptations).
6. “Cloud Nine” (Temptations).
7. “Love Child” (Diana Ross & the Supremes).
For the record, the non-Motown releases occupying the other Top 10 spots are:
4. “Soulful Strut” (Young-Holt Unlimited).
5. “Wichita Lineman” (Glen Campbell).
8. “Stormy” (Classics IV).
9. “Who's Making Love” (Johnnie Taylor).
10. “Hooked on a Feeling” (B.J. Thomas).
IZ ZAT SO? The Beatles hold several chart and sales records, but there is a little-known sidebar to their accomplishments one not likely to ever be equaled:
Between January 1, 1964 and June 1, the Beatles charted 17 songs, issued on SIX different labels:
1. Capitol: “I Want to Hold Your Hand;” “I Saw Her Standing There;” “Can't Buy Me Love;” “You Can't Do That.”
2. Capitol of Canada: “Roll Over Beethoven;” “All My Loving.”
3. Vee-Jay: “Please Please Me;” “From Me to You;” “Do You Want to Know a Secret; “Thank You Girl.”
4. Tollie: “Twist and Shout;” “There's a Place;” “Love Me Do;” “P.S. I Love You.”
5. MGM: “My Bonnie (Lies Over the Ocean);” “Why.”
6. Swan: “She Loves You.”