VEE-JAY Label

 
In 1953, Vivian Carter (the "Vee") and her husband, Jimmy Bracken (the "Jay") founded Vee-Jay records in Gary, Indiana. For a time, it was the most successful black-owned record company in the United States.

In 1962, only Frank Ifield and a handful of other British recording artists were getting any air play in the U.S. At the time, Capitol Records, an EMI company, was issuing Ifield material but not promoting it as much as Ifield's manager thought it should be. Ifield's contract was offered to Vee-Jay, a smaller label but aggressive promoter.

Calvin Carter, Vivian's brother and Vee-Jay promoter said, "There was a number one record over in England at the time - It was 'I Remember You' by Frank Ifield. We took the record, and as a throw in, they had a group and asked us if we would take them, too. The group turned out to be the Beatles and we got a five-year contract on the Beatles as a pickup on the Frank Ifield contract."  It may have been Roland Rennie, an English EMI promoter living in New York, who arranged the contract deal with Vee-Jay. Rennie had repeatedly offered Capitol and other record companies a Beatles distributorship but none was interested, probably because no British rock band had ever been successful in the U.S.

Transglobal Music Company was an intermediary used by EMI, Vee-Jay, and other U.S. record companies to sell their records in foreign countries.

In he summer of 1963, the Beatles had taken off in Europe, Australia, and Canada but not in the United States. Oddly, Capitol president Alan Livingston continued to exercise his right of first refusal to a Beatles contract. Simultaneously, Vee-Jay found itself in serious financial trouble (due mostly to mismanagement) and had stopped paying royalties to Transglobal. Transglobal considered its Beatles contract with Vee-Jay legally voided and stopped providing Vee-Jay with master tapes of new Beatles songs. Vee-Jay felt differently since Transglobal was also delinquent paying Vee-Jay royalties for its sales of Beatles and other artists' records in Canada and Italy.

In December 1963, under heavy pressure from EMI, Capitol decided to take a chance with the Beatles. A drawn out legal battle between Capitol and Vee-Jay ensued, each claiming rights to Beatles material. Between legal injunctions, Vee-Jay released a string of Beatle records, many designed to lure the public into believing it was purchasing brand new Beatle material when in fact, it was not.

Calvin Carter remarked, "We were selling so many Beatle records we just couldn't afford to fight for the five-year rights. At that point, we had even got a ten-year moratorium from our creditors on our outstanding bills, that we'd just keep them coming. There was a lot of pressure on us. We sold in one month's time about 2.6 million Beatle singles on Vee Jay and Tollie. Those were fantastic times. And right in the middle of this, we moved from Chicago to California. What a mess, what a mess." 

Vee-Jay released a Beatle EP that alone sold over one million copies. The label's production was subcontracted to six record pressing plants spanning the country, explaining the large number of label variations.

On October 15, 1964, Capitol legally took control of the 14 Beatles songs that Vee-Jay had stretched into five albums, six singles, four reissue singles, and an EP.

Vee-Jay went bankrupt in May 1966 to be later purchased by Randy Wood and Betty Chiapetta, former company executives. The two formed Vee-Jay International and reissued many Vee-Jay LPs, including
Hear the Beatles Tell All.


 
 
LP - COLORBAND WITH OVAL LOGO
Introducing the Beatles (version 1)  LP 1062 (mono) & SR 1062 (stereo)
Introducing the Beatles (version 2)  LP 1062 (mono) & SR 1062 (stereo)
The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage  LP 1085 (mono) & LPS 1085 (stereo)
Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles  VJ 1092 (mono) & VJS 1092 (stereo)
mono
stereo
stereo stereo

 
 
LP - COLORBAND WITH BRACKETS LOGO
Introducing the Beatles (version 1)  LP 1062 (mono) & SR 1062 (stereo)
Introducing the Beatles (version 2)  LP 1062 (mono) & SR 1062 (stereo)
The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage  LP 1085 (mono) & LPS 1085 (stereo)
Hear the Beatles Tell All  PRO-202 (mono)
The Beatles Vs the Four Seasons  DX-30 (mono) & DXS-30 (stereo)
Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles  VJ 1092 (mono) & VJS 1092 (stereo)

The Beatles Vs the Four Seasons album packaged the discs for LP 1062 and SR 1062. This is the typical label style.

mono
stereo
stereo stereo

 
 
LP - SINGLE STYLE LABEL
On these rare variations, the record pressing plant ran out of LP labels and continued production with smaller labels designed for singles.
Oval: Introducing the Beatles (version 1) LP 1062 (mono)
Brackets: Introducing the Beatles (version 2) LP 1062 (mono)

 
 
LP - ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT AND OVAL LOGO
Introducing the Beatles (version 2)  LP 1062 (mono)
Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles  VJ 1092 (mono)

 
 
LP - ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT AND BRACKETS LOGO
Introducing the Beatles (version 2)  LP 1062 (mono)

This is the least common of Vee-Jay's LP label styles. It's the most common among counterfeits.


 
 
LP - ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SLIVER PRINT AND BLOCK LOGO
Introducing the Beatles (version 2)  LP 1062 (mono) & SR 1062 (stereo)
The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage  LP 1085 (mono) & LPS 1085 (stereo)
Songs, Pictures and Stories of the Fabulous Beatles  VJ 1092 (mono) & VJS 1092 (stereo)
mono
stereo

 
 
LP - PROMOTIONAL
Hear the Beatles Tell All  PRO-202 (mono)

Extremely rare.


 
 
COLORBAND WITH OVAL LOGO
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
Please Please Me / Ask Me Why  VJ-498 (mono)
From Me To You / Thank You Girl  VJ-522 (mono)
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)
 
First pressings of VJ-498 misspelled "Beatles."


 
 
COLORBAND WITH BRACKETS LOGO
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
Please Please Me / Ask Me Why  VJ-498 (mono)
From Me To You / Thank You Girl  VJ-522 (mono)
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

 


 
 
ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT AND OVAL LOGO
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

 


 
 
ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT AND "VEE JAY" IN BLOCK LETTERS
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

single
EP

 
 
ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT, BRACKETS LOGO, AND TWO HORIZONTAL LINES
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
From Me To You / Thank You Girl  VJ-522 (mono)
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

 


 
 
SINGLE - ALL BLACK LABEL WITH SILVER PRINT AND BRACKETS LOGO
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

 
 
SINGLE - PURPLE LABEL WITH WHITE PRINT AND BRACKETS LOGO
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)

 
 
SINGLE - ALL BLACK OR ALL YELLOW LABEL WITH BLOCK LOGO
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)

 
 
SINGLE - ALL WHITE LABEL WITH BLOCK LOGO
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)

 
 
SINGLE - PROMOTIONAL
Please Please Me / Ask Me Why  VJ-498 (mono)
From Me To You / Thank You Girl  VJ-522 (mono)
 
 
 
Some copies of VJ-498 misspell Beatles.

 
 
EP AND SINGLE - PROMOTIONAL
EP
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

Single
Ask Me Why / Anna  Special DJ No. 8 (mono)
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Do You Want To Know a Secret / Thank You Girl  VJ-587 (mono)


 
 
EP AND SINGLE SLEEVE - PROMOTIONAL
Please Please Me / From Me To You  VJ-581 (mono)
Souvenir of Their Visit To America  VJ EP 1-903 (mono)

 
 
SLEEVE - GENERIC
Vee-Jay packaged over 200,000 Beatles singles in the Christmas sleeve prior to October 15, 1964, when the companies license to distribute Beatles records expired.

 
 
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