Introducing…the Beatles

As I mentioned last month, I wrote to the local paper over this wire story about Beatles stamps on a Wednesday. A copy editor from the paper called me Friday, and the paper printed a correction on Saturday. The guy I spoke to for 20 minutes; he must be near my age, because the first album he ever bought was Meet the Beatles. He wondered how I knew all about the Beatles discography. (At some point, I noted that ‘Yesterday’…and Today was comprised of 2 tracks from the British Help album, 4 from the British Rubber Soul album, 3 from the not yet released British Revolver album, plus the two-sided single.) I probably said, “I don’t know; it’s a sickness.”

That could have been the end of the story. Guess not. Friday evening, I got THIS e-mail from the copy editor:
I just wanted to get back to you about the people item you e-mailed us about. Thanks for letting us know about it. The string of briefs was written by The Associated Press, so, on Thursday, I called them in New York to try to track down any complaints on this item. So far, they say, yours is the first comment. They wanted to research the story further and contacted the London bureau — who actually – because of the time difference, AP says they haven’t gotten any clear answers on a possible clarification. When they do come up with something, I’d like to run a correction on both points of your e-mail.

In the meantime, can you recommend a good source to check this information? An authoritative history? An accurate discography? The official Beatles site starts with the Capital catalog, so that’s not much help. I want to research this in case The AP falls through.

Thanks again for letting us know about this.

Well, even though he did find what he needed, this e-mail sent me on a quest. When, exactly, DID Introducing the Beatles come out?

The source the copy editor found was the Beatles discography, a generally useful tool. But it says that Introducing the Beatles came out on January 10, 1964. This simply can’t be right, can it? The Wikipedia listing says January 6, 1964. But I looked here and here and here and here, and they all say July 1963, which makes much more sense.

So, I looked at what I consider the authoritative source, Joel Whitburn’s Top Pop Albums 1955-1996, put out by Record Research, a VERY definitive source and authorized by Billboard, which says:
“Vee-Jay released above title in July 1963 and included ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘P.S. I Love You’ which were replaced in 1964 with ‘Please Please Me’ and ‘Ask Me Why’; original release is valued at $6,000-$8,000.”
Those incorrect sources undoubtedly picked up on a re-release date.

The successor Whitburn book, covering 1955-2001, also says July 1963. What I noted, however, is that the NEWEST book, covering up to 2005, and now called The Billboard Albums, doesn’t give a release date at all, only that Introducing…the Beatles first charted on February 8, 1964, a week after Meet the Beatles. This means I need to hold on to at least one of the older books. As I’ve described before about the Brooks and Marsh television book, I HATE having to hold on to an old reference book because the new one has gotten rid of important information, but that’s what happened here. AGAIN.

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