Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: For roughly 30 years I have owned a copy of “Introducing the Beatles,” which means I know it is an original issue.

I mention this because I have been told I should let an expert, or even an appraiser, inspect my album, because there are many fakes of this in circulation.

Knowing neither an expert nor an appraiser, can you possibly provide some tips that will let me do my own research and assessment?
—Anne Westwood, Lancaster, Pa.

DEAR ANNE: You are not alone this week with regard to this LP, as Jack A. Marshall, of Youngstown, Ohio, asks essentially the same question. “Introducing the Beatles” is, in fact, the most asked about album in the 19-year history of this feature.

Considering that over two dozen variations of legitimate issues of “Introducing the Beatles” exist, it is amazing that most of the copies we see are counterfeits. This is because there are countless thousands of fakes in circulation, many of which did come out as far back as the '60s. Having owned one for 30 years does not guarantee you have an authentic album.

Still, there are things even a novice can spot, either on the cover or disc, that can untangle the conundrum.

The easiest thing to do is examine the record itself. Originals have the LP title, “Introducing the Beatles,” and the artist credit, “The Beatles,” on two lines BOTH OF WHICH are directly above the hole in the middle of the label. Any with the title (“Introducing the Beatles”) above the hole, but the artist (“The Beatles”) below it is a counterfeit. We recommend checking this point first, as it offers a quick and reliable means of disc identification.

Here is an example of how these two lines appear on an original issue. The one pictured is stereo, though the layout is the same for monaural.

The width of the vinyl trail-off — the area of smooth plastic between the last track and outer edge of label — of originals is never greater than one inch. Any exceeding an inch are not authentic.

All printing on original labels is sharp and of high quality. Be suspicious if any of the printing seems sub-standard.

Same goes for the covers. All printing and artwork on originals — front and back — is very professional looking, with high quality photos and sharp text. If any printing seems second-rate, it is very likely a fake.

All original covers are printed on coated (i.e., shiny or glossy) stock. This goes for the paper used on both front and back sides. Any having flat (not shiny) stock are surely counterfeit.

Originals do not have a brown border around the front cover, nor do they have a yellow tint. Any that do are bogus.

The photography studio lighting created a shadow of George Harrison that can be seen on the far right edge of the front cover. This shadow is clearly visible on all originals. If it is missing, the cover is not legit.

Originals do not have any tiny colored dots (red, blue, and yellow) at top of back cover. Any with the dots visible are phony. Stereo originals have the word “Stereophonic” on front at the top. Any with just “Stereo” are fraudulent.

Stereo originals that include “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” among the tracks are virtually impossible to find. Only a few are known to exist, and their value is about $20,000. Logically, then, any stereo LPs listing those two songs are almost certain to be fakes.

Nearly all stereo originals have “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why” instead of “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You.”

Very rarely does an original cover surface with a counterfeit disc, or vice-versa. Chances are very good that a fake cover contains a fake disc.

IZ ZAT SO? Since the appropriately titled “Introducing the Beatles” (Vee Jay 1062) is the band's first album issued in the United States, it may confuse some to see “The First Album by England's Phenomenal Pop Combo,” boldly stated across the top of “Meet the Beatles” (Capitol 2047).

To be honest, that statement should read: “The First Capitol Album by England's Phenomenal Pop Combo.”

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