Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Several times over the years, you have responded to inquiries about the “Introducing the Bealtes” album.

Usually, in the course of comments made, you mention how valuable this LP can be. But you also point out frequently that most of the people who get excited about the prospect of owning a $10,000 to $15,000 album are likely to have a counterfeit copy.

What I would like to see in print from you now is how someone who is not an expert can distinguish a counterfeit from an original.

I think this would be a great service and would satisfy a lot of curious folks — like me.
—Duane Montlake, Shenandoah, Va.

DEAR DUANE: Considering that over two dozen variations of legitimate issues of “Introducing the Beatles” exist, it is amazing that most copies we find have been counterfeited. This tells us how many thousands of fakes are in circulation. There are, however, a few things even a novice can spot, either on the cover or disc, that can untangle the conundrum.

As for the covers:

The printing and artwork on all original issue covers, front and back, is very professional looking, with high quality photos and sharp text. If any of the 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 to be cast on the far right edge of the front cover, which is clearly visible on all originals. If the shadow 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 list “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” among the tracks on the back cover are virtually impossible to find. Two or three may exist in the world, meaning nearly all with those songs shown are fakes.

Now let's turn our attention to the record itself.

Originals have the LP title, “Introducing the Beatles,” and the artist credit, “The Beatles,” on two lines directly above the hole in the middle of the label. Any with the title above the hole, but the artist name below it are counterfeit. We recommend checking this point first, as it offers a quick and reliable means of disc identification.

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.

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

Very rarely does an original cover surface with a counterfeit disc, or vice-versa. Chances are very good that if you determine the cover to be a imitation, whatever is inside is just as worthless.

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 truthful, that line should read: “The First Capitol Album by England's Phenomenal Pop Combo.”

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