Amazingly, in early 1963, most American teenagers couldn't tell you who The Beatles were. One year later, they would bring a musical revolution to America. In 1961 and 1962 The Beatles had grown in popularity in Britain through performances at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. They had also gained considerable experience playing clubs in Hamburg, Germany. They had auditioned for some U.S. labels, but were turned down (notably by Decca). But eventually they were signed to Capitol, but not until after the smaller Vee Jay label had received the rights to produce some of their early recordings. As their popularity increased, they were signed to come to the states and perform on the Ed Sullivan show. Not since Elvis Presley's appearance seven years earlier had their been such excitement over a rock and roll performance. Their first single for Capitol, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" wasn't supposed to be released in the states until January but as early copies leaked out to radio stations, Capitol decided to release the single (with "I Saw Her Standing There" on the flip side) on December 26th. On February 1st, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" knocked Bobby Vinton's "There, I've Said It Again" out of the #1 spot. On February 9th they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. Over the next three months, "She Loves You" and "Can't Buy Me Love" would follow the first U.S. Beatle record to #1. Those were all from Capitol records. At the same time, Vee Jay records issued singles of "Please, Please Me," "Twist and Shout," and "Do You Want to Know a Secret," all of which would make it into the top 5.
"Introducing the Beatles" was a hastily put together LP that Vee Jay records released in January of 1964. Originally it included two other Beatles songs, "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" but when threatened with a law suit because they didn't have clear rights to those songs, Vee Jay pulled them and re-released the album. The album was released in several different formats -- primarily differentiated by the back cover. None of the versions contained any "liner notes" typical of albums released at the time -- one indicaton of how desperate Vee Jay was to get the album to market in the wake of the sudden popularity of The Beatles. The record was first pressed in July of 1963 but financial difficulties and legal disputes kept the album from being released until January of 1964. I was like most other sixteen year olds at the time -- I was glued to the television set the night The Beatles first appeared. Shortly afterwards, I bought the single 45's of "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You." Then, I bought "Introducing the Beatles." I was no doubt attracted to the album because it contained "covers" of so many familiar former U.S. hits ("Chains," "Twist and Shout," "Baby It's You."). Recent internet searches led me to discover that "Introducing the Beatles" is the most counterfeited album ever. My copy is a legitimate original and is reportedly worth from $50 to $100. To save money at the time (approximatel $1) I tended to buy "maonaural" versions. Had I bought the stereo version, it would be worth about $500.