The "big two" record clubs of the 1960's belonged to RCA and to Columbia. When Capitol entered the picture with their record club -- in 1958 -- they were fighting an uphill battle. Other smaller record clubs would also emerge, each offering records and tapes at a volume discount, but none would ever succeed in knocking down Columbia or RCA.
Originally, Capitol's own record club pressed their records in Scranton and offered up only Capitol-related releases. Special issues (numbered in the 90000 series) were also pressed for the club at Scranton. Aside from these "club only" releases, the record club products were indistinguishable from the records that Capitol sent to be sold in stores.
Capitol advertised in the popular magazines of the day, including Life and Look, indicating that if you agreed to buy several records, not only would you get them at bargain prices, but also you would automatically be sent a popular record in your chosen genre each month without having to order it. Some people found these "selections of the month" to be useful, while others were annoyed by this practice -- one which Capitol shared with the other record clubs.
The first Beatles-related "special" record to be made by the record club was a five inch flexi disc that advertised the club. Originally packaged in an envelope featuring a photograph of each Beatle, it was the accompanying letter that explained that you could get six albums (in mono or stereo) for free if you joined the club. The flexi itself, made by Eva-Tone, contains an edited version of the Beatles' rendition of "Roll Over Beethoven," which appeared in the USA on the Beatles' Second Album.
|"A Surprise Gift from the Beatles..."||Eva-Tone ???||$400 (record)|
$2500+ (mailer and inserts)
The above record was also (earlier?) issued as a trifold advertising mailer. This time, the mailer itself contained both the record and information together. The contents of the record are the same in either case. The documentation that accompanied the black flexi, above, mentions the Beatles' Second Album, while only Meet the Beatles is mentioned on the trifold card. Either Second Album had not come out when the trifold was issued or it had already proven to be a less popular seller than Meet the Beatles.
|"A Surprise Gift from the Beatles..."||manufacturer unknown||$400 (trifold card, intact)|
$600 (card, intact and center not punched out for playing)
One of the first duties of Capitol's "newest" plant in Jacksonville, Illinois, appears to have been to service the Capitol Record Club. From a certain point on, all "record club" releases in the 90000 series -- which now included the products of other record companies -- were pressed in Jacksonville from lacquers made in New York. In November, 1966, United Artists terminated their exclusive association with the Columbia Record Club and began to allow Capitol to manufacture and distribute their records through the club. By the following month, Capitol was advertising the Hard Day's Night album through the club. As with their other releases, this record was available in both mono and stereo.
|Hard Day's Night||UAL 3366/T 90828||$1000|
Capitol Record Club issue, mono. Issued in November, 1966. The only specially-marked Record Club issue of any Beatles record documented to have been issued in mono. Both label and cover list the record club's catalog number. The cover is folded differently than covers manufactured for UA; these covers have a "4" on the back and were made by the same company that made covers to accompany records pressed at Capitol's factory in Jacksonville, IL.
|Hard Day's Night||UAS 6366/ST 90828||$500|
Capitol Record Club issue, stereo. Issued in November, 1966. Both label and cover list the record club's catalog number. The cover is folded differently than covers manufactured for UA; these covers have a "4" on the back and were made by the same company that made covers to accompany records pressed at Capitol's factory in Jacksonville, IL.
Copies of non-gatefold Capitol albums that were released through the record club from 1969 through 1972 have three "hash marks" at the upper left hand corner of the cover. These are visible from the front (see above) and distinguish the albums from Capitol's regularly issued LP's.
Capitol label releases that were pressed by Decca for Longines and distributed by Longines were first made available in early 1969. The black label, shown above, continued until about July of that year, just after the regular Capitol releases changed to the new green label. The print at the rim of the label states that the records were "Manufactured under license from Capitol..." rather than "Mfd. by Capitol." Album covers were changed also to indicate this. The following Beatles records are known on the black label style:
|Meet the Beatles!||Capitol ST-8-2047||$450|
|Beatles Second Album||Capitol ST-8-2080||$500|
|Something New||Capitol ST-8-2108||$450|
|Beatles VI||Capitol ST-8-2358||$600|
|Help!||Capitol SMAS-8-2386||$450 (catalog number not on cover spine)|
|Rubber Soul||Capitol ST-8-2442||$500 ("New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo" in black on back slick)|
$450 ("New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo" in color on front slick)
|Yesterday...and Today||Capitol ST-8-2553||$500|
|Revolver||Capitol ST-8-2576||$500 (top of front cover has white background with black stripes)|
$450 (top of front cover has black background with white stripes)
NOTE: Because of the slight delay in receiving the stereo mixes of "I'm Only Sleeping," "Doctor Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing," original vinyl pressings of Yesterday...and Today have those songs in rechanneled stereo. They appear in true stereo for the first time on vinyl in the US on the record club release, leading some people to mistakenly believe that "record club issues are superior." In reality, record club releases would typically be of inferior quality later on, to make up for their low sale prices, and the three songs had appeared in true stereo in every tape format.
The additional "8" now indicated a Capitol record. Later, "7" and "5" would also be used. "5" is the additional number that would appear on all Apple records released by the record club.
Shortly after Capitol adopted its green label with "C" logo, so did the record club. On this new label, the licensing statement still indicates that the records were made for Capitol Records. On early copies, the word "STEREO" does not appears in the same type face that had been used on the black-label issue -- with "round" letters like the ones that were being used on regular-issue Capitol albums.
The odd shade of green in the LP shown above seems to have appeared later on -- perhaps early 1971. Most copies have a darker green backdrop.
The entire Beatles' catalog was never available through the record club as distinct releases. Those Beatles-related records that were issued through the Capitol Record Club from July, 1969, through Spring, 1971, were:
|Meet the Beatles!||Capitol ST-8-2047||$150|
|Beatles Second Album||Capitol ST-8-2080||$400|
|Something New||Capitol ST-8-2108||$125|
|Beatles VI||Capitol ST-8-2358||$500|
|Help!||Capitol SMAS-8-2386||$200 (catalog number not on cover spine)|
$250 (catalog number on cover spine)
|Rubber Soul||Capitol ST-8-2442||$100|
|Yesterday...and Today||Capitol ST-8-2553||$250|
NOTE: It is likely that Longines removed Beatles VI from the record club catalog in 1969. It is also believed that The Beatles' Second Album was removed from the catalog early in 1970. These albums are much scarcer on the green label than are their counterparts.
In 1970, the Capitol Record Club released the Polydor LP, In the Beginning (Circa 1960). Once again, the record was pressed at the Jacksonville plant.
|In the Beginning (Circa 1960)||Polydor 24-4504/SKAO 93199||$50|
Finally, the following record club releases are known on the Apple label:
|Post Card (Mary Hopkin)||Apple ST-5-3361||$50|
|Under the Jasmin Tree (Modern Jazz Quartet)||Apple ST-5-3353||$75|
|Space (Modern Jazz Quartet)||Apple STAO-5-3360||$75|
Interestingly, some copies of Abbey Road were manufactured by RCA during that period. The labels remind us of the Decca-made record-club albums put out by Longines. Although these exhibit similar production characteristics, they were not record club issues and were not released through the club.
At some point later in the run -- no earlier than Spring of 1971 and possibly much later, Decca/Longines stopped printing labels with the same font as had been employed on the black-label copies and on the earlier green-label copies. From this point on, the word "STEREO" appears in narrow print, as shown above. These copies are considerably more difficult to find than the earlier ones, although there is usually no value difference.
Capitol's record club never did adopt the red label style of 1971, continuing to use the green label during that transitional period. By about the middle of 1972, Longines was placing their own name on the labels (and in some cases, the covers), indicating that the record club was theirs. Only a few "green label" Capitol Beatles records were issued through the club on this label style:
|Something New||Capitol ST-8-2108||$250|
|Help!||Capitol SMAS-8-2386||$500 (catalog number on cover spine; Longines info on cover)|
|Rubber Soul||Capitol ST-8-2442||$250|
In November, 1972, Capitol changed their label style to an "all orange" label. So too did the record club. By this time, the club was on the wane, though, and only one Beatles record is known on the most recent style:
Still, Revolver was not the last Beatles-related album to be issued by the club. That distinction went to the United Artists album, Live and Let Die, which featured music by Paul McCartney and Wings. The label of this 1973 release indicates that it was manufactured by Longines.
|Live and Let Die||United Artists UA-LA-100-G/SWAO-95120||$50|
Just as the tape formats are generally harder to find than their LP counterparts, so also record club issue cassettes and eight tracks are much scarcer than record club issue LP's, making them quite a find for those who know what they are looking for.
Record club issue eight track tapes were available in two different style white cartridges -- one with straight sides that was sort of off-white and one with indented sides that was a purer shade of white. Record club issue eight tracks were also available in black. Apparently, the off-white tapes came out first, then the black, and finally the intended white tapes, but this has not been confirmed. No distinction in values has yet been given. The eight tracks known from the record club are:
|Revolver||Capitol 8XT-2576/TA 63004||$60|
|Something New||Capitol 8XT-2108/TA 63092||$60|
|Meet the Beatles!||Capitol 8XT-2047/TA 63093||$70|
|Yesterday...and Today||Capitol 8XT-2553/TA 63098||$75|
|Rubber Soul||Capitol 8XT-2442/TA 63099||$60|
A Capitol Record Club issue 8 track also exists for In the Beginning. It is numbered TA 60360.
Of the three formats marketed by the club during the Longines period, the cassette format is easily the most difficult to find. Capitol only introduced cassettes commercially in 1968; therefore, when most of the record club issues were being made, cassette was still an experimental format, selling far fewer copies than either the LP or the 8 track.
|Revolver||Capitol 4XT-2576/CA 63004||$100|
|Something New||Capitol 4XT-2108/CA 63092||exists ??|
|Meet the Beatles!||Capitol 4XT-2047/CA 63093||exists ??|
|Yesterday...and Today||Capitol 4XT-2553/CA 63098||exists ??|
|Rubber Soul||Capitol 4XT-2442/CA 63099||$100|
Due to the scarcity of early cassettes, only Revolver and Rubber Soul have not been verified. All of the tapes are drastically undervalued in the market, in my opinion, compared to their rarity.
After the closure of the Capitol Record Club, Capitol releases would be authorized through Columbia's record club, with the additional prefix of "5". Beach Boys albums are common in that configuration, but Capitol never allowed the Beatles' catalog to be issued through a record club after that point, although some solo post-Apple material was licensed through Columbia and RCA.
© 2002, 2008 Frank Daniels