Friday, October 28, 2011

THE BEATLES: Worldwide picture sleeves, 1963-1964

This gallery is, by no means, complete. By the very nature of their popularity, nearly every country that was issuing Beatles 45s and EPs issued them in their own unique graphic design, which resulted in an astonishing number of astonishingly beautiful sleeves. Surprisingly, England only issued Beatles picture sleeves with EP releases; it was not until the release of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that the fab four saw a single picture sleeve released in the UK.

UK. released 12 July 1963.

UK. released 6 September 1963

Sweden. released August/ September 1963. The picture sleeves were printed (in very small numbers) with different colored backgrounds. This example, in red, is either a first or second run. The back of the sleeves show other 45's that were high in the Swedish charts at the time which helps identify earlier/ later pressings. ALL Scandinavian picture sleeves are rare, as very few were printed.

UK. released 1 November 1963

Italy. Late 1963 second pressing.

France. released circa (late) 1963.

Australia. released circa late 1963. Even though they were closely aligned with the UK, Australia released a number of unique Beatles EPs and 45s which were exclusive down under.

USA. Released 26 December 1963; the record that ignited Beatlemania in the USA.

Australia circa early 1964.

USA. Released 30 January 1964, with many label variations.

UK. Released 7 February 1964.

USA. While the Swan 45 "She Loves You b/w I'll Get You" was originally pressed in September 1963, odds are that the picture sleeve wasn't issued until late '63 at the earliest.

Sweden, released in March 1964

USA. Released 23 March 1964. Vee Jay records tried the EP format in the US, which never caught on in the States.

USA. Released 23 March 1964.

France. Released circa early 1964. I believe this to be a first issue, as the blue Odeon label was phased out in 1964 for an orange label. These French EPs have some of the most beautiful covers and always sound GREAT! The mastering on these issues is always excellent.

USA. Released 27 April 1964 with many label variations.

USA. Released May 1964 to little success. The EP was a failure in the 1960's retail environment in the USA.

UK. released 19 June 1964

USA, released 20 July 1964

USA, released 20 July 1964

French. Released circa mid-1964. Fabulous onstage shot of The Beatles, probably taken at the Royal Command Performance in late 1963.

Sweden. Released July 1964.

USA. Released July 1964.

Sweden, released circa summer 1964. Note the Odeon label, which was used for Swedish only single pairings. Swedish singles which match their UK counterparts were released on Parlophone.

Norway. Released circa mid-1964. Note how Norway hung on to the old style red Parlophone label design, which was abandoned in early 1963 in England.

USA, released 24 August 1964.

UK. released 4 November 1964

UK. released 6 November 1964

Sweden, released November 1964.

Norway, released November 1964.

USA, released 23 November 1964.

Sweden, late 1964. Original issues have the red Parlophone issue. This was issued after the transition to a black label which occurred sometime in mid-late 1964.

Portugal. Released sometime in 1964. Portugese EPs are extremely scarce.

Sweden. Released sometime in 1964.

An assortment of French EPs released in 1964. Some of these were also issued with other sleeves and some are very scarce.

Australian 1964 EP releases

Holland, released late 1964.

Probably printed on or around the time in late 1964 when Vee Jay had lost the right to issue and distribute Beatles product.

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