Volume I

The Beatles & Frank Ifield

Photo of all three known sealed stereo "Ifield" albums.

This album is one of the rarest and most valuable of all Beatles albums ever issued. It was the last album manufactured by Vee Jay Records, before their rights to the Beatles were to expire on Oct. 10, 1964. They had taken their Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage album, of which the cover had a drawing of a British Statesman (referred by collectors as the "old man" cover) and quickly redesigned a new cover, prominently featuring a drawing of the Beatles, for a rush release. This re-issue version hardly made it to record stores, and less than 100 copies are believed to have been pressed.

The FIRST time that a factory sealed copy turned up in the collecting world was in 1976, when Northwest USA collector Mitch McGeary discovered THREE(!) STEREO unopened copies in the basement of a midwest record store (stereo copies of VJ albums are much scarcer than mono copies and typically sell for two or more times the mono price). A fourth copy, opened but still in shrink wrap, was discovered at the same location a few weeks later.

The three sealed copies were individually sold over the next two years, the first copy to Kelsy Crossman of Kent, WA USA for $600, the second to a West Coast collector for $900, and the last one to long time collector Gareth Pawlowski for $1800. Two of the copies had the price stickers removed for some reason, leaving a hole in the shrink wrap on the front covers. To this day, twenty years later and nearly thirty-three years after its initial release, not another single sealed copy has ever turned up. In 1995, one of the three copies sold for $22,000, and into a "permanent" collection (the buyer is unlikely to ever re-sell the album). Another one was last heard of in the New York area with an asking price of $25,000. Amazingly, two of the copies have been in their one-owner collections for more than twenty years. No original sealed MONO copies are known to exist, and no perfect mint copies, mono or stereo, have ever surfaced!

The mono version of the "Ifield" album and label. Click on either photo for enlargement.

This is the more common first version with the "Jolly What!" subtitle and portrait of a British Statesman wearing a Beatle wig. The LP was released February 26, 1964, 46 days after Meet The Beatles. It was issued in both mono and stereo with three different label styles- black label w/colorband and oval logo; with colorband and brackets label; and an all-black label with silver print. Counterfeits of the LP first appeared in the late 1970s, and can easily be identified by their lack of any spine writing, and a black background instead of dark blue or purple like the originals..

Frank Ifield - In the 1960s, and 1980s.

Frank Ifield began recording at age 13 and in six years had 44 records issued in Australia and became the Number One Recording star in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania before he was nineteen. Signed by EMI Records on Columbia shortly after he came to London, Frank zoomed to the top of their most popular recording artists with I Remember You, followed soon afterwards by Lovesick Blues, Nobody's Darling But Mine, Confessin', The Wayward Wind and Waltzing Matilda (now almost his signature tune, so popular was his record of this beloved Australian ditty). From being unknown in 1959, Frank soared to the dizzy heights of stardom in 1962, remaining there for more than three decades. He has issued more than thirty EPs and twenty albums. In a recent interview, he was surprised at hearing that his album "with" the Beatles has been, and still is, among the rarest and most valuable of all albums in the world.

Click on photo for enlargement

An original autographed program from the December 12, 1962 show at the Embassy cinema in Peterborough, England which featured headliner Frank Ifield, and The Beatles. This unusual combination of acts resulted from a phone call by Brian Epstein to Arthur Howes, then the country's biggest tour promoter, offering the Beatles. Mr. Howes agreed to a one night trial for the Beatles to appear with Frank Ifield, and their appearance was an embarassing flop. The audience had come to see Frank, not "four unknowns" from Liverpool. Better days soon followed, as the next day Love Me Do entered the top twenty. Five days later they set off for Hamburg and the Star-Club, where one of the songs they performed was the Frank Ifield hit, I Remember You.

For more on Frank Ifield and the Beatles, visit Bob Howe's page. Bob was Frank's Musical Director in the 1980s.

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