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Why was Capitol allowed to release Beatles records in early 1964 if Vee Jay had the rights?
24 May 2013
11.52pm
tinmanic
New York, NY
St Peters Church
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6 March 2013
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Here's a question I have. Why was Capitol allowed to release Beatles records in early 1964 if Vee Jay had the rights? I thought that legally, since Capitol had passed on EMI's offer, Vee Jay was granted the rights. I know that eventually Capitol sued Vee Jay and in late 1964 Vee Jay gave up its rights. But before then, why was Capitol legally allowed to distribute the Beatles in the US? Or, was it not legally allowed to do so and it just threw its weight around?

I'm genuinely curious. And I don't have access to Bruce Spizer's books. :) So if anyone has insight, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!

25 May 2013
12.54am
Ron Nasty
Floating downstream in the suburbs...
Apple rooftop
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17 December 2012
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The early US contracts were done on the basis of individual releases, and obligations related to those releases. Capitol, being owned by EMI, always had the rights to release The Beatles. However, if Capitol passed on releasing something, which they did up until the I Want To Hold Your Hand single, they were free to shop around for release. Hence, the rights to early releases going to Vee Jay, Swan and Tollie. They gained limited, and conditional, rights to release material that Capitol had passed on.

Swan only had the rights to the She Loves You single, Tollie – I think – were sub-licensed by Vee-Jay, but basically Vee-Jay had the rights to everything prior to the I Want To Hold Your Hand single and the With The Beatles album. The lawsuit, if you look into it, is actually quite interesting, in that Capitol was the defendant, not the claimant.

It revolved around their use of I Saw Her Standing There on the b-side of I Want To Hold Your Hand (replacing This Boy), and its inclusion on Meet The Beatles! It was a song that Capitol did not have the rights to, and was a case that – in the short term – they lost, and had to pay damages to Vee Jay over.

However, because of financial muscle, and the lack of on Vee Jay's part, the settlement drastically reduced Vee Jay's rights, and was partially responsible for Vee Jay knocking out the songs they had the rights to in every variation they could think of during 1964, and Capitol doing the same when they got the rights in 1965 (The Early Beatles plus a whole slew of singles).

I hope this helps your understanding.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
25 May 2013
3.04am
SatanHimself
Hades-on-Leith
Candlestick Park
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16 August 2012
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Damn, that's a genuine hard-core fully informed answer!  Kudos.  

You're why I love this place.  This site is the last word on long-term fans welcoming new people into the Beatles fold.

E is for 'Ergent'.
25 May 2013
3.59am
tinmanic
New York, NY
St Peters Church
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6 March 2013
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Wow, mja6758. Thanks for the fascinating answer!

Are the documents related to the lawsuit(s) available online? I just did a search and can't seem to find them. (I'm actually a former lawyer and it would be interesting to read them.)

25 May 2013
10.35am
Ron Nasty
Floating downstream in the suburbs...
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I'm afraid I've not seen the documentation, my account of what happened is based on my memory of things I have read over the years.

There were other lawsuits involved in the situation, other than the one I referred to. Those mainly came from EMI, and resulted from Vee-Jay's inability to meet royalty payments. The irony of The Beatles success for Vee-Jay was that, ultimately, it destroyed the label. Despite selling over two-and-a-million records by them in 1964, the label did not have the financial stability to meet all the demands that level of success demanded.

Lawsuits did not only come from The Beatles direction, but also the two artists that Vee-Jay connected them to – Frank Ifield and The Four Seasons. Within two years they had to file for bankruptcy.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
25 May 2013
3.02pm
tinmanic
New York, NY
St Peters Church
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6 March 2013
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Thanks.

I did some googling and found more info in free online excerpts of Dave Marsh's book, The Beatles' Second Album.

26 May 2013
5.11am
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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mja6758 said (The Early Beatles plus a whole slew of singles).

I'm a bit of a Billboard record-charts geek, and for years I found it inexplicable that The Early Beatles only made it as high as #43 on the pop albums chart, when every one of the dozen-or-so Beatles albums Capitol released between 1964-66 hit #2 or higher. Eventually I learned that all of its material had already been released on Vee-Jay's Introducing The Beatles, which I never even knew existed, and which itself peaked at #2. Then it made sense.

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
26 May 2013
5.32am
Ron Nasty
Floating downstream in the suburbs...
Apple rooftop
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And you can't forget, while less successful, Vee-Jay also knocked out Jolly What! The Beatles and Frank Ifield on Stage, The Beatles vs. The Four Season and Songs, Stories and Pictures of the Fabulous Beatles. All of which used the same material. Most Americans, by the time it got to The Early Beatles, who wanted the material probably had it several times over.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
26 May 2013
9.51am
Von Bontee
A Hole In The Road
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Haha, I used to see a copy of that "Jolly What!" album in the dollar bin at this old used record shop where I spent half my adolescence. (Same bin where I found a barely playable MONO copy of SPLHCB; and man was I a fool for getting rid of that! As well as for not buying the Canadian LPs Beatlemania! With The Beatles and Twist And Shout, which also made appearances in that same bin.)

One day, a tape-op got a tape on backwards, he went to play it, and it was all "Neeeradno-undowarrroom" and it was "Wow! Sounds Indian!" -- Paul McCartney
26 May 2013
6.45pm
Into the Sky with Diamonds
New York
Apple rooftop
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Based on my personal experience, I'd say Von Bontee is correct. After buying Meet the Beatles, I bought Introducing the Beatles (despite the awful cover picture). And yes, by the time The Early Beatles came out, I was going to save my allowance for something else.

mja6758, I can't believe what a treasure trove of knowledge you have tucked away in that mind of yours!

"Into the Sky with Diamonds" (the Beatles and the Race to the Moon – a history)
27 May 2013
6.50pm
fabfouremily
Sitting in an English garden
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That's one of the thing I love about being on here – learning so much off the older and more knowledgeable fans. Thank you all :D

''We're just knocked out. We heard about the sell out. You gotta get an album out, you owe it to the people. We're so happy we can hardly count.''

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