As one of the most desirable pieces of Beatles signed memorabilia, signed album covers are indeed very highly sought after. They are extremely rare, in part because of their size and general lack of portability. Most autograph seekers did not choose to bring them or they simply didn't have them readily available when encountering The Beatles in person. The most common signed Beatles LP covers are those on the British "Parlophone Records" label, namely Please, Please Me and With The Beatles. Both titles came out in 1963, before they conquered the United States and the world and became virtually inaccessible.
While other authentic signed titles do appear on occasion, for the most part, any album that was released after 1964 is extremely difficult to find signed by all four members of The Beatles. Signed LP's are desirable because in a very real sense, it is akin to an artist or artists (in this case The Beatles) signing and acknowledging their work. American "Capitol Records" versions of Beatles albums are among the hardest to find as they signed very little while touring the States in 1964, 1965 and 1966 - especially when compared to 1963, their most prolific signing year.
To date, only about a half dozen U.S. titles have turned up authentically signed by the group. It is of utmost importance that the reader beware of the many forged U.S. signed LP's that have hit the market over the past 10 years, mostly done by American forgers lacking access to the original issue Parlophone covers. All in all, owning an album cover signed by The Beatles is a privilege about which very few can boast and without question, the ultimate in any true fans collecting experience.
SA8. A “With The Beatles” Album Fully Signed By The Band in Mid-1964,
While On Their First World Tour
On November 22, 1963, the same day that President John F.
Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, The Beatles released their second studio
album on Parlophone. Titled "With The
Beatles", the LP featured eight original Beatles compositions (seven from
Lennon-McCartney and one from Harrison) and six covers, including three Motown
numbers. On the day of its release, it went straight to the #1 position on the
album chart, knocking their first LP
"Please Please Me" out of the top spot. The requisite Christmas gift for
British teenagers in 1963, it remained the best-selling album for 21 weeks and
charted for 40 weeks. The LP cover featured Robert Freeman's stark black and
white image of the band appearing in half shadows. Taken on August 22, 1963 at
the Palace Court Hotel in Bournemouth while on their summer tour of England, the
photo was a dramatic departure from those normally seen on pop LP covers and a
sign that this was a band that stood uniquely apart from all others.
The following June, four months after their life altering
first trip to America, the group embarked on what was named
‘The World Tour’, which included stops in Denmark, The Netherlands,
China, New Zealand and Australia. The first half of this tour saw temporary
replacement drummer Jimmie Nicol filling in for Ringo, who had to stay back in
England after being hit with a bout of tonsillitis. Following Ringo’s return
after recuperating in a London hospital, The Beatles were in New Zealand from
June 22nd through 27th of 1964 and while there, they
played concerts in Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin and Christchurch. This New
Zealand Parlophone Records issue “With The Beatles” LP cover has been
autographed beautifully on the back cover by all in blue ballpoint pen, and
these signatures date from mid-1964, precisely when The Beatles were in New
Zealand on The World Tour.
Because of the high-gloss front covers of their British
LPs, autographs were usually relegated to the back cover where the ink would
more easily take to the paper. This LP is no exception. All four signatures are
excellent examples and each is sharp and clear, not obscured in any way. The
cover is impressive in person and it is in great overall condition, having been
nicely-kept over the years.
The Beatles" LPs are quite scarce relative to the much higher number of
autographed "Please Please Me" LPs,
which is the most commonly signed album. Even rarer are LPs signed in 1964, the
first year of their global fame and a time when access to the band was virtually
impossible. Here is a chance to own a beautiful copy of a classic Beatles album,
signed in mid-1964 at the height of Beatlemania…..$50,000
(click image for larger images)
SA7. "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Cover Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles For
American Runaway, November 1, 1964
She's not the runaway who inspired "She's Leaving Home", but 13-year-old
Elizabeth Freedman garnered her own share of international publicity when, on
October 17, 1964, she slipped away at dawn from her Newton, Massachusetts home
and flew to London. Before her overseas adventures were over, she would have a
fortuitous meeting with the Beatles and head back to America with two
fully-signed Beatles LPs.
Elizabeth's love for the Beatles and the Animals prompted her to withdraw $400
from her bank account, secure a passport, obtain a smallpox vaccination and buy
a one-way ticket to London. She left a note at home, saying she was going to see
a movie and instead flew off to Britain. Despite her young age, no one
questioned her along the way. Once she reached her destination, she immersed
herself in the local music and club scene, attending shows by Tommy Steele,
Cilla Black, Cliff Richard, Petula Clark and Long John Baldry. Having recently
attended a concert by the Animals in Boston (where she met Eric Burdon and
another member), Elizabeth hoped to once again meet up with the group, which had
just returned to England. It was also her intention to see the Beatles in
concert, but that seemed unlikely to happen.
In the meantime, Boston police had traced Elizabeth as far as the city's Logan
Airport, where it was discovered that she had flown to England. There the trail
ended. Her widowed, British-born mother, Barbara Freedman, contacted the U.S.
Embassy and Scotland Yard in desperation, asking for their assistance.
Elizabeth's passport photo was sent from the authorities in Washington D.C. to
Scotland Yard, but neither British nor American authorities were able to locate
her. A glimmer of hope appeared when the Embassy soon notified Mrs. Freedman
that they had traced Elizabeth to a London hotel, where she had stayed for two
days after her arrival. Unfortunately, she had disappeared again.
Mrs. Freedman immediately flew to London to begin her own search, starting with
the clubs and coffee bars in the West End.
Enter Beatles producer George Martin. When news of Elizabeth's plight hit the
London papers, Martin made this public promise in print: “When this little girl
is found I promise her I will see she meets The Beatles before she goes home”.
The following day (October 30th), nearly two weeks after her disappearance,
Elizabeth was located at a rooming house in the tough Brixton district in South
London. The London papers had run a description of the missing girl and police
had been tipped off by someone she had met in a club. Mother and daughter were
immediately reunited. The pair stayed in London a few additional days and, while
in England, visited the girl's grandmother, who lived in a town about 70 miles
George Martin’s promise was fulfilled on November 1st when Elizabeth was
escorted into the Beatles' dressing room at the Astoria Theatre in Finsbury
Park. A published account in the November 2nd Daily Express described the
meeting. "So this is the little girl we've been reading about," Ringo quipped.
"I don't think we've been to Boston," George said. Paul replied, "We have.
That's where we had the tea party." The newspaper article reported that after
she ate a hot dog with the Beatles, "Elizabeth saw the show, clutching two
record albums the Beatles had signed." Four days later, Elizabeth and her mother
returned to Boston where she was promptly grounded for a while.
It is a rare instance indeed when a Beatles signed piece comes with such
ironclad provenance, but offered here is one of the two LPs that Elizabeth had
autographed by the group during her backstage visit. This original British
Parlophone Records mono pressing of A Hard Day's Night has been fully-signed by
all four Beatles on the back cover in the same black ballpoint pen. John, Paul
and Ringo have signed at the top above the liner notes and George has signed
below his photo at the bottom. The signatures are large and legible. John and
Paul have also added kisses ("XXX") following their signatures. The LP, which
measures 12" x 12", has very light wear and discoloration on the back, but this
has no bearing on the clarity of the signatures or the overall beauty of this
piece which has remained solely in Elizabeth's possession for almost fifty
The LP is accompanied by copies of several newspaper article clippings (both
British and America) chronicling Elizabeth's escapades, her mother's frantic
search for her and eventually her face-to-face meeting with the boys. As a nice
bonus, Elizabeth's Beatles concert ticket from the night of her meeting with
them is included. Additionally, there are two black & white photos showing
Elizabeth taken at the time of her amazing encounter with the Beatles in their
dressing room. In one, John Lennon is seen holding the very A Hard Day’s Night
album being offered here! He is pictured clutching the album in one hand and the
pen The Beatles used to sign in the other. (Elizabeth recalls Lennon pointing
the pen at the photographer and saying "bang, bang" as if he was shooting him.)
On the same evening, Elizabeth also had all four Beatles sign a copy of the With
The Beatles LP, but gave that album to a friend when she returned home.
Autographed Beatles LPs are among the rarest and most desired of all autographed
Beatles pieces as they represent the music the band created. Certainly, A Hard
Day's Night, the soundtrack album to their first feature film, is the LP that
best exemplifies Beatlemania at its peak. In recognition of the great album that
it is, Britain's Q magazine placed A Hard Day's Night at number five in its list
of the "100 Greatest British Albums Ever". To date, fewer than a dozen A Hard
Day’s Night covers signed by all four of The Beatles have materialized, making
this an exceptionally rare title.
"They were very friendly, sweet, funny and unassuming," Elizabeth writes in the
Letter of Provenance that accompanies the LP. "They were not at all stuck up or
arrogant. I was so dazzled by them...". The girl who ran away from home to meet
the Beatles still has her memories, but now you can own the well-preserved
evidence of her meeting with the four most famous rock musicians of all time.
Don't miss this opportunity to acquire an investment-grade artifact with a
well-documented back-story that gives it an impeccable pedigree….. $60,000
(click image for complete details)
SI23. "A Hard Day's Night" UK LP Flat Fully-Signed By All Four Beatles On Day Of
Release, July 10, 1964
On July 6, 1964, the Beatles attended the Royal World
Premiere of their first feature film, A Hard Day's Night, at the London
Pavilion in Piccadilly Circus. Four days later, on the afternoon of July 10th,
they boarded a flight at London's Heathrow Airport for their triumphant return
home to Liverpool for the Northern Premiere of the film. They arrived in late
afternoon at Speke Airport to the screams of 3,000 fans. A brief press
conference was held, followed by a police-escorted drive to the city centre
along a route lined with an estimated 200,000 people, roughly a fourth of the
entire population of Liverpool. The motorcade arrived at the Town Hall at a
little before 7pm, where 20,000 fans gathered in the streets outside. Here, they
were given a civic reception hosted by The Lord Mayor, Alderman Louis Caplan,
and attended by 714 city officials, friends and family members. During the
celebration, the group stepped out onto the balcony of the Hall and waved to the
throngs milling in the street below. At 9pm, they left in an Austin Princess
limousine for the Odeon Cinema, where the Liverpool charity premiere showing of
A Hard Day's Night took place. At 1:30am, after the premiere, a
limousine ride back to Speke Airport and another round of civic ceremonies, they
took a return flight to London.
July 10th is noted not only for the Beatles' Liverpool
homecoming for the ‘Northern Premiere’, but also it is the release date of their
third studio album, sharing the same name as the movie - A Hard Day's Night,
the first side of which contained seven songs from the film's soundtrack. If
ever there was a high spot in those early days of global success, this was it.
As the four most recognized faces on the planet, the boys were brimming with
confidence over their recording career and the accolades they'd received for the
film. On that very morning of the album’s release, before leaving Heathrow
Airport for Liverpool, they signed for their attending flight stewardesses
cardboard front cover ‘flats’ of the new album. These flats (which measure 12” x
12”) were actually the factory pressed cardboard printed front covers of the
A Hard Day’s Night LP, before being fully constructed into album
covers…..after which a thick, heavy laminate was applied to the front cover.
The accompanying photo shows Paul McCartney preparing to
board the British Eagle airlines flight for Liverpool. The two stewardesses
shown to the right of Paul are each clutching their newly-autographed A Hard
Day’s Night covers. The attendant on the right far is holding the very one
that is being offered here. An enlargement of the cover seen in the photo is
provided for closer inspection of the location of the signatures and the
positioning of the individual letters, making for proof-positive photo
Because the British albums had thick glossy laminated front
covers, the Beatles found it difficult, if not impossible, to sign the fronts
because the ballpoint pens of the day would not take to the glossy surface. The
vast majority of fully-signed British LPs (any title, unless it was a ‘gatefold
album’) were signed on the un-laminated back cover, often on top of the liner
notes — and those few that they attempted to sign on the front have signatures
that are generally incomplete, due to pen skips. This flat, however, was signed
on the un-laminated front cover graphics – with 20 headshots of The Beatles -
making it a far more desirable and rare presentation piece.
As of this writing, there are no known A Hard Day's
Night Parlophone UK LP covers signed by all four Beatles on the front, and
less than ten known examples fully-signed on the back. On this classic cover
(featuring four rows of five head shots, set up as though they were frames from
a movie), each Beatle has signed beautifully in black ballpoint pen on the row
where his respective image appears.
Consider, too, the supreme rarity of having photographic
provenance for any signed Beatles piece. Instances where visual proof of
authenticity is available in the form of photographic evidence simply never
happens, making the photo verification for this signed LP flat all the more
astonishing. You can't ask for better provenance for a Beatles signed piece than
having that piece appear in a photo with one or more of the Beatles!
Adding to the rarity of this piece is the fact that 90% of
authentic Beatles autograph sets were signed in 1963 when the band members were
still reasonably accessible to their fans. Items signed once they had achieved
global fame are relatively few in number because they were generally
sequestered, inaccessible and unapproachable.
In excellent overall condition, the piece has been
expensively framed to museum archival standards. Here is a
chance to own the instantly recognizable front cover of a classic and important
Beatles album, signed on the day of release and at a time when The Beatles were
on top of the world, celebrating their first film — successful, young,
exuberant, creatively prolific and with so much more to achieve…..$65,000
TO SEE NEWSREEL FOOTAGE FROM THAT DAY
CLICK HERE TO VIEW.
(click image for complete details)
SA6. "A Hard Day's Night" LP Cover Signed Beautifully By The Beatles in 1964
Shortly after their triumphant visit to America in February of 1964, The
Beatles returned home to England with a big challenge in front of them — and
they delivered in a big way. They immediately began recording their third album,
to be titled “A Hard Day’s Night” (although one of the album tracks, “Can’t Buy
Me Love”, was recorded in France just before their trip to the U.S.). The album
also served as the soundtrack to their first feature film, a critically
acclaimed semi-autobiographical ‘day in the life’ of The Beatles also called “A
Hard Day’s Night”. In addition to the title track and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, the
LP contained such classics as “I Should Have Known Better”, “If I Fell” and “And
I Love Her”, and was clearly the band’s best effort to date. Upbeat, exciting
and energetic, it was the embodiment of ‘Beatlemania’, the fan frenzy that had
exploded worldwide by the time the recording sessions took place. The
synergistic effect created by featuring most of the album’s songs in the movie
gave these great compositions even more impact. The songs included on this album
are nothing short of spectacular, with the first 7 songs (Side One) appearing in
All four have autographed the back cover on this LP jacket beautifully in blue
ballpoint pen, with John Lennon signing directly over the Side Two song titles,
and Paul McCartney signing to the left of thick block capital letters stating
“THE BEATLES”. George Harrison and Ringo Starr have signed below and above their
respective images. This particular cover was the first prize in a contest held
by Wathes, a store located in Liverpool, and in fact writing in another hand
indicates that it was ‘PRESENTED BY WATHES’ to the winner. This well preserved
album cover is in excellent condition, having been well kept over the years.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is the first U.K. issue Beatles album to feature
photographs of the band members, with four individual headshots taken during the
filming of the movie - and these images dramatically heighten the visual appeal
of this signed Beatles treasure…..$45,000
(click images to view larger)
SA4. A “Please Please Me” Album Cover Autographed By The Beatles In The
Fall Of 1963
"Please Please Me", a seminal album in early ‘60s British rock, was
rush-released on March 22, 1963, barely a month after it was recorded by The
Beatles in a marathon one day recording session at Abbey Road Studios (then
known as EMI Studios). With eight Lennon & McCartney originals, and the balance
taken from a pool of songs which were written by other artists that The Beatles
performed in their live show repertoire, this album thrust The Beatles into the
national spotlight in Great Britain. It was a fabulous launch into the foray of
Long Playing Records and it immediately exploded onto the British charts and
went to Number 1 where it remained for 30 weeks, until it was replaced at the
top spot by the band’s follow up album, “With The Beatles”.
This early issue U.K. Parlophone Records “Please Please Me” LP cover has been
autographed beautifully in blue ballpoint pen by all four members. Although no
further information regarding the signing of this album was available, the
signatures date from The Fall of 1963, and these are excellent representative
examples from the period.
The cover is in overall good condition, and as it will be 50 years old in just a
few months, it shows some signs of ageing. The initials G.V.T. are written in
the upper left hand corner of the back cover, and there are small areas of paper
loss in the upper and lower left hand corners. The upper right hand corner of
the front of the cover has peeled back a little. These minor detractions can be
repaired by an experienced paper restoration expert, if so desired.
"Please Please Me" was released in the Spring of 1963, when the Beatles were
still accessible and approachable. However, with each passing month it became
increasingly more difficult to come face to face with them. By the end of the
year it was next to impossible, as their phenomenal success put considerable
distance between the group and their fans. Because of this brief window of
accessibility in 1963, there are more "Please Please Me" signed covers in
existence than any other title by the band. Still, they rarely come up for sale
and most are firmly rooted in collections worldwide and are seldom seen on the
market. This is a nicely signed, vintage signed copy of The Beatles’ debut album
— the one that started it all for the most influential band in the history of
(click images to view larger)
SI8. A “Twist and Shout” Extended Play Record Sleeve Signed By The Beatles
On July 12, 1963, The Beatles released their first EP (extended play) record in Great Britain on Parlophone Records, entitled “Twist and Shout”. The songs included on this 4 song record were all taken off of their debut album “Please Please Me” and they were: “Twist and Shout”, “A Taste of Honey” (both cover versions written by other artists) and “Do You Want to Know A Secret” and “There’s A Place” (both Lennon & McCartney originals). Even though the songs were available on the album, the “Twist and Shout” EP sold more than 800,000 copies in Great Britain, a remarkable feat at the time for an extended play record. Upon release, the record promptly reached #1 in the U.K. charts – and stayed there for 21 weeks! It also remained in the EP charts for a record 64 weeks.
The front of the “Twist and Shout” EP sleeve features a Dezo Hoffmann photo of The Beatles in a jumping mid-air pose, hovering above a decrepit wall. John Lennon’s vocal performance on the song “Twist and Shout” was nothing short of magnificent. It is a raucous dynamic rocker, and to this day it ranks among the finest examples of a Rock & Roll vocal in the history of British music. John was only able to record one take (because it took a toll on his vocal cords), which was left for last in the one day marathon recording session on February 11, 1963 that resulted in almost the entire “Please Please Me” album. Many agree that the Beatles’ version of “Twist and Shout” is the definitive version, rather than the original done by the Isley Brothers.
All four have signed the reverse side of this original pressing EP record sleeve beautifully in dark blue ballpoint pen. The signatures date from within one month and a half of the time of release – so the EP was very current when The Beatles signed it. The sleeve is in excellent condition, having been well kept very the years. The original record is included, and it is in VG condition. Beatles signed EP’s are incredibly rare - many more times so than signed LP covers. In fact, to date there have been less than 10 authentically signed Beatles EP covers known to surface, which puts them in the realm of ultra-scarce.....$30,000
(click images to view larger)
SA3. A “White Album” Signed By John Lennon
And Paul McCartney
In November 1968, The Beatles released their ninth UK album — their first on the newly-created Apple label. The double LP, simply titled “The Beatles”, was housed in a plain white cover and quickly gained notoriety as the “White Album”. It contained 30 new songs, most written earlier that year in Rishikesh, India while the group was studying transcendental meditation under the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The eclectic style of the music contained on the “White Album” took the listener on an unexpected aural journey. From hard rock to reggae, acoustic ballads to avant-garde, chamber music to country and even touches of 1930’s dance hall, blues and bluegrass music, this landmark release touted nearly every musical genre known at the time. Many critics and aficionados consider it to be their best work and it is indeed a fan favorite, ranking tenth on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
Here is an American Apple issue “White Album” LP cover signed on the right-hand side of the open gatefold in the mid-1970s by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. John has used a red felt pen to sign, and the result is an unusually large signature that measures 5¾” long. This autograph bears a strong resemblance to those signed in May of 1975 when he was a special guest host at the WFIL Helping Hands Marathon in Philadelphia. Paul McCartney has signed in black ballpoint pen. His signature, which measures just under 5” long, dates from the mid-1970s, either 1975 or 1976. Any “White Album” signed by John Lennon in any form is incredibly scarce and, to date, only one known example signed by all four members of The Beatles has surfaced. Today, it is worth over $100,000. The album offered here, signed by the songwriting juggernaut of John Lennon and Paul McCartney — arguably the greatest of all time and the composing team responsible for 25 of the 30 songs on the “White Album” — is the first ever to date which has been signed only by Lennon & McCartney.....$20,000
(click image to view larger)
SA2. The Nicest Signed "Please Please Me" LP Cover In Existence, With Impeccable Provenance
Throughout 1963, The Beatles’ popularity began to grow beyond Merseyside as they gained national attention across Britain. The slowly-building hype culminated on October 13th with their appearance on the television show “Sunday Night At The London Palladium”, a show that clearly set the stage for what was to come. As legend has it, the next day the mainstream media began using the term “Beatlemania” to describe the fan frenzy that accompanied every Beatles appearance.
Just two-and-a-half weeks later, on November 1, 1963, the group embarked on an Autumn tour, their fourth package tour around Britain in ten months. The schedule was grueling - 34 towns, with two “houses” per night and barely a night off. There was only an occasional break, one taking place just 3 dates into the tour when they made their now-legendary appearance at the Royal Variety Show. Their 10th stop was in Plymouth on November 13th, where they played two performances at the ABC Cinema. These shows were almost canceled because Paul McCartney came down with a case of gastric flu just the day before. In fact, their show at Portsmouth the previous evening had to be canceled for that very reason. The Plymouth shows seemed likely to follow suit. However, on the day of the Plymouth gigs, the group was interviewed by Stuart Hutchison for a television show called “Move Over, Dad!”. Hutchison began the conversation by asking Paul how he was doing after his reported “collapse”. Paul assured him that he hadn’t collapsed, but did confirm that he’d had “a bit of flu” but was now feeling fine.
As the band relaxed in the chilly confines of their cold dressing room that evening just prior to one of the Plymouth shows, Paul came down with a case of the “shivers”. Hoping to prevent a possible relapse, a sound engineer working the venue that night came to Paul’s rescue. Ted Sparrow of Lipson, a country suburb of Plymouth, hurried home to pick up an “electric fire” (space heater) that would nicely warm up the room for the recovering Beatle bassist. While he was home, he wisely remembered to grab his “Please Please Me” LP. It was his only choice of LPs as the band’s second album “With The Beatles” wasn't due to be released for another nine days (on November 22nd).
After returning to the dressing room with heater and album in hand, Sparrow asked the boys if they would sign his LP. Naturally, they obliged him. They flipped it over and, right on top of the liner notes, boldly signed their names using a nice, thick black marker. The resulting signatures were not only very pronounced but unusually large. Better yet, they were as beautifully written as one would hope them to be — classic textbook examples of The Beatles’ autographs.
Presented here is that same album signed 47 years ago on that crisp fall evening in Plymouth. This is one of the finest examples of Beatles signatures from that era and certainly among signed albums. It was customary for the group to sign the reverse side of their LP's as the glossy front covers were difficult to sign with the ballpoint pens of the day. The provenance for this piece is impeccable and comes with Ted Sparrow’s story as told in a lengthy July 1995 article published in the Plymouth Evening Herald detailing the memories of those who saw The Beatles perform in the town on that fall ‘63 tour. Mr. Sparrow has been photographed for the article, showing him holding his prized LP in one hand and what he claims is the program from that same evening. It must be noted that although the photo caption states to be the program from that 1963 show, it is not. More than likely, Mr. Sparrow also attended the Plymouth show the following fall as the pictured program is from the Beatles-Mary Wells tour from October 1964. This LP was unquestionably autographed by The Beatles in November 1963, as the signatures date precisely from that period. It was signed nine days before the release of their “With The Beatles” LP, which was issued the very day that President Kennedy was gunned down an ocean away in Dallas, Texas. Within three months, The Beatles would conquer the civilized world.
This autographed album cover comes with a handwritten letter from Ted Sparrow recounting the day he obtained the signatures, as well as the original vinyl record. Fully-signed Beatles LP's are very difficult to obtain now, and this particular one features the nicest and boldest set of authentic signatures ever found on one of their albums. The signatures couldn't be more perfect, with every letter of each name present. The album cover is in excellent condition, having been well preserved by Mr. Sparrow over the years. A stunning full set on their iconic first album, this is by far the nicest example of "Please Please Me" signed by The Beatles to surface to date.....$60,000
(click image to view larger)
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