Apple Records was founded in 1968 as part of the Beatles' Apple Corps project. At this time, the Beatles were contracted to Parlophone in the United Kingdom and Capitol Records in the United States. In a new recording deal, EMI and Capitol agreed to distribute Apple Records until 1975. Apple owned the rights to records by artists they signed, while EMI retained ownership of the Beatles' records, issuing them on the Apple label but with Parlophone R-prefixed catalogue numbers. Apple Records owns the rights to all of the Beatles' videos and movie clips.
Lennon was introduced to Allen Klein through Mick Jagger, as Klein was managing The Rolling Stones at the time. Klein went on to manage Apple. During the 1974 proceedings dissolving the Beatles as an entity, a court ruling decreed that eighty percent of all profits from Beatles albums (as a group) would accrue to Apple Records, and five percent would go to each of the four members. The label consistently made a profit through 1984, mostly through continued issues of old Beatles records, then lost money for several years.
Standard Apple album and single labels displayed a bright green Granny Smith apple. The bright green apple made a high profile reappearance in the late 1980s, when used on all Beatles CDs. This was followed in the 1990s by The Beatles Anthology.
In the United States, all of the Beatles original albums(in U.K. versions), were released on CD on the Parlophone label with no Apple logo. Even the original Apple LPs were released on CD with the Parlophone label. The first Beatle CD to be released was "Abbey Road" on the EMI-Odeon label in Japan during the dawn of the CD in the early 80's. Although this was a legitimate release, it was not authorized by the Beatles, the main EMI company or Apple Corps. As a result, very few were made. It was not until the BBC sessions and the Anthology series that Apple labels started appearing on the CDs. Subsequent releases have either been the familiar Apple label or at least had the Apple logo.
In 2006 the label was again newsworthy, as the long-running dispute between Apple Records' parent company and Apple Inc. went to the High Court (see Apple Corps v Apple Computer). In 2007, the company settled a dispute with EMI over royalties, and announced that long term chief executive Neil Aspinall had retired and been replaced by American music industry executive Jeff Jones. These changes lead to speculation that the Apple Records catalogue ? and most importantly The Beatles discography ? would soon appear on Apple Inc.'s iTunes online music store, and that a remastering and reissue program of The Beatles' CDs might be forthcoming.
How to Collect Beatles LP's
When collecting Beatle LPs, the condition of the vinyl is obviously important however the record's label plays a significant role in determing the overall value of the LP. In fact some labels are so collectible, that the condition of the vinyl is a secondary factor. Below is a quick reference on US and UK Beatle label identification.
The Vee Jay (VJ) Labels
In the beginning, the very first US Beatle LP came out on the VeeJay (VJ) label. VJ entitled the album Introducing The Beatles and is one of the most counterfeited LPs in history. There are many ways to tell the real deals from the counterfeits and the links below will take you to sites that go into great detail on how to tell the difference, but in the end one of the best ways to quickly identify an authentic pressing from a fake is the LP label.
The first three labels below are authentic . There are two key characteristics: 1) "The Beatles" is above the spindle hole, and 2) For the VJ colorband labels, the colors are uniform and include the green color in the band (around the 7 o'clock position). Fakes printed "The Beatles" below the spindle hole (see scan #4 below) and the fake colorband versions (not shown) excluded the green color in the band and in some cases the band was not proportionate all the way around.
Some clever colorband fakes did place "The Beatles" above the spindle hole but the colorband around the label is of poor quality.
1 - VJ Oval - Authentic Label
2 - VJ Bracket - Authentic Label
3 - VJ All Black - Authentic Label
4 - VJ All Black - Typical Fake Label
In general, the VJ "oval" label (top left) is more valuable then the bracket version. The bracket version is more collectible than the black & silver label. The labels above are the mono versions. You will see many counterfeits for sale that claim to be "stereo". Stereo copies of Introducing The Beatles are rare. The mono pressings far out number their stereo counterparts. All true stereo copies have the word "stereo" printed on the label. If a seller claims to be selling a stereo copy and the word "stereo" is not printed on the label, it is a fake stereo copy.
Other characteristics that determine value are the label fonts, whether the text is left aligned or center aligned, etc.
The Capitol Labels
Subsequent to VJ Beatle LPs were pressed on Capitol records. Below are three versions of the famous Capitol colorband label. The first label represents an original pressing. The second, which is commonly known as the "subsidiary" label was pressed in 1968 and the third is the 1983 re-issue where Capitol took a trip down a memory lane and replicated the original colorband label. There are ways to tell the three apart and I will call them out below. For Capitol LPs, record numbers beginning with "T" or "M" were mono recordings. Those beginning with "ST" or "SM" are stereo pressings.
1 - Original Colorband Label
2 - "Subsidiary" 1968 Colorband Label
3 - "Retro" 1983 Colorband Label
The top label (#1 above) is the original colorband label. Along the bottom of the label and above the colorband you will see the print "Mfd by Capitol Records Inc...". The label (#2 above) is the "subsidiary" label which at first glance looks identical to the original label. However, look closely at the rim print at the bottom of the label. This time the print states "Mfd by Capitol Records Inc. A Subsidiary of Capitol Industries..." and the print runs half way around the label. Last is the third iteration of the coloraband label (#3 above). Again it looks very similiar to the original except the rim print is now printed INSIDE the colorband (in both the top and bottom of the band).
In order of value, the original labels are worth the most, then the "subsidiary" label and last the 1983 "retro" version.
There were two other labels Capitol pressed during the Beatle period (i.e., when the band was together). Both are often referred to as the "target" labels due to the design of the Capitol logo at the top of the label. The green target label was pressed for one year in 1969. The red target label came after its green counterpart and technically no Beatle LPs in the US were supposed to be pressed on this label since the Beatle catalog transitioned to the Apple label. Based on my research, any US Capitol pressing on the red target label is very rare. In my years of collecting I have located but one Capitol US Beatle red "target" label and it is Revolver which is shown below.
Needless to say the US Capitol red "targets" are very rare and highly collectible. Capitol in Canada did press on the red label in limited numbers and although not nearly as rare as their US sibling, it is still a hard to find piece of vinyl.
The Apple Labels
Last but certainly not least is the Apple label. This is the label that is most often associated with the Beatles due to its distinctive design. There were three iterations of the Apple label. The one that represents a first or early pressings (either new Beatle records at the time and subsequent re-issues) is the version with the "Capitol" logo along the bottom of the "sliced" (side 2) label. The first Beatle LP to debut on Apple was the White Album. The very first record on Apple was George Harrison's solo LP Wonderwall Music.
1 - US Apple Label
2 - 1st Pressing w/Capitol Logo Along Label Rim
3 - 2nd Iteration "Mfd By Apple Records, Inc" Label.
4 - 3rd Iteration "All Rights..." Label
Note the Capitol logo along the bottom of the label on scan #2. This is your clue as to the vintage of the Apple pressing. Subsequent labels dropped the verbiage and logo and replaced it with "Mfd. By Apple Records Inc." (second iteration - scan #3 above) and then the last label added "All Rights Reserved..." text (third iteration - scan #4 above). Beatle records were pressed on the Apple label from 1968 through 1975.
After Apple was no longer, Capitol re-issued the Beatles catalog on the orange (1975 through 1978), purple (large Capitol dome logo - 1978 through 1983), the retro-colorband (1983 through 1988) and back to the purple label (this time with a small Capitol dome logo (1988 on). The re-issues are normally inexpensive and many are in excellent condition. So if you are not looking to spend a bunch of money and wish to rebuild your Beatle vinyl collection, the re-issue route is a smart way to go.
1 - Orange Label 1975 - 1978
2 - Purple "Large Dome" Label 1978 - 1983
3 - "Retro" Colorband Label 1983 - 1988.
4 - Purple "Small Dome" Label 1988 - RIP
The Albums Covers for the Paul is Dead clues!
Magical Mystery Tour
The Beatles AKA The White album
Let it Be
You wont believe what you hear and see! The Beatles were masters in their music, public relations and taking us into all kinds of musical worlds!