The Beatles

Melvin Records/Overby Productions second release 21 – not to be confused with their 1979 title The New 21 (MMO6), as HOTWACKS did for years – followed soon after their first and was offered in no less than four variations:

In green:

In red / pink:

Tan with a yellow label:

And finally with a smaller copied insert and a blank label, perhaps a copy job by someone else:

In terms of value, the green and red copies have sold for the highest amounts in the $400+ to $700+ regions, with prices all over the place. The tan cover version has recently achieved $55 to $120.


USA: Late 1975, distributed via ‘The Odyssee’ record store in Charleston, SC

Looking at the track list, there are 6.5 repeated tracks compared with their first release (.5 due to “Besame Mucho – Cottonfields” being part of yet another medley here on side 2). If you have any corrections in regards to my guesses which versions are present here, please leave a comment. We can’t rule out that perhaps Overby Productions used their own source tapes and upgrades for these cuts but really: what are the odds?


  • Hippy Hippy Shake – recorded five times for the BBC in ’63 and ’64, however only the off-speed version that appeared on TMOQ’s Outtakes 1 circulated by 1975
  • To Know Her Is To Love Her – most likely their only BBC airing from 1971 Yellow Matter Custard
  • I‘m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) – another track only recorded once for the BBC and also made available via Yellow Matter Custard
  • Some Other Guy – Track 1, side 1 likely taken from CBM’s Some Other Guy album (which I’m unclear about to this day)? Or something else (the original by Ritchie Barrett; the cover by The Big Three)? 
  • Love Of The Loved – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01
  • Lucille – ditto
  • Crying, Waiting, Hoping – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues – prior to the release of Audifön’s Youngblood, the two choices were a poor quality version of the 17 July ’63 version on CBM’s Stockholm or a better quality one on Yellow Matter Custard
  • Sure To Fall (In Love With You) – recorded four times for the BBC, it appeared first in decent quality on Yellow Matter Custard from the 3 September ’63 recording.The three remaining versions were only bootlegged years later.
  • Shout! – from their Around The Beatles TV special, first made available on CBM’s Cinelogue Six double album 

Side 2:

  • Have You Heard The Word – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01
  • Honey Hush – from Nagra rolls recorded on 9 January ’69 that were first bootlegged on CBM’s Sweet Apple Trax Volume 1 (listed there as “Yackety Yack”, aka “Hi Ho Silver”)
  • Commonwealth Song – ditto
  • White Power (Get Off) – ditto
  • Suzy Parker – ditto
  • Besame Mucho; Cottonfields; Everybody’s Rockin’ Tonight; Whole Lotta Shakin’, The Walk – “Besame Mucho” was included in the Let It Be movie soundtrack, “Cottonfields” comes from the Kenny Everett interview pressed in Italy as a promo 7″. The 3rd title may refer to “Good Rockin’ Tonight”, again from 9 January. Jerry lee Lewis song was only performed once during the Get Back sessions on 3 January by Ringo and Paul on piano and not bootlegged until the CD age, so I’m wondering if this is not a different number. “The Walk”, captured on multi-track on 27 January, goes back to its inclusion on the very first Beatles bootleg Kum Back in January of 1970. 
  • What’s The new Mary Jane – see my comment in Their Greatest Unreleased MM01


Melvin Records/Overby Productions was started by Beatles fan Eddie Fennell with more than just a little help from Fred Arnold. Thanks to a well written and researched article about Fred’s life, a lot is known about him and selected parts will be used to introduce the label.


“Our family got its first Sears TV set in the middle ’50s. I was about 8 or 9 years old. I enjoyed “Oh, Susannah”, “Leave It to Beaver” and “I Love Lucy”.

The first music I was exposed to was church. Nothing happened. Second was seeing a variety show in the late ’50s and hearing “One Eyed, One Horn Flying Purple People Eater”. Still nothing. Chubby Checker on “American Bandstand” doing the “Twist”. I went out and bought a hula hoop. My first movie was “My Friend Flicka”. I would go over to my best friend’s house and his big brother would play Beach Boys records. I didn’t care about them, nor those Motown songs.

High school started. I got my first transistor radio just in time to hear that President Kennedy had been killed. Most friends and neighbors didn’t seem to mind, but I was very depressed.

At school, during lunch on Feb. 7, 1964, I heard “I Want to Hold Your Hand” on my radio. I was so excited. Some friends and I were talking about how good the song was during the broadcast, and we almost missed the name of the artists, The Beatles. The DJ also said that they would be on the “Ed Sullivan Show” that very Sunday.

Sunday night, I was glued to the TV, watching the show. The adults in the house couldn’t figure out what was going on. I didn’t know either, but after the show, I went to my room, missing “Bonanza” probably for the first time since it came on the air.

The next morning, I took my entire earthly savings, went to the Piggly Wiggly supermarket next to my high school and bought “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Twist and Shout” at 77 cents each. I saved my lunch money and bought Beatles bubble gum after school. And my Beatles collection hasn’t stopped since.”
–Fred Arnold
(The writer later bought and sold Beatles records at The Prism, a store he owned in Charleston, S.C.)

This piece of Beatles nostalgia solicited from “heavy hitters” in the world of Beatles collecting in the USA, appeared in Beatlefan #2, February 1979. Although, seeing the Beatles on live television for the first time had a similar ‘love at first sight’ effect on many teenagers, the effect was more pronounced in some than in others.  “He acted like they were a gift from heaven,” his sister Linda remembered of that night, in Arnold’s words , “They are all gods really, at least to me.”

“The next morning, Arnold sold all of his belongings and began a Beatles collection that would grow to become one of the largest of its kind in the world.”

To some of us, the Beatles are more than just a group whose music you like, they can be an anchor to lives thrown into turmoil and trauma. Fred was born in 1948 to a mother who worked as a circus sideshow attraction, appearing as an albino couple together with her brother. Baby Fred also carried the albino gene and was severely vision impaired on top of this. He and his younger sister had to live with their grandparents after their mother started to manifest violent symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and began harming the children.

Fast forward to 1970 and Fred was the owner of a record store in Charleston, SC called The Odyssey. “For a time, he kept a “Beatles Museum” in a room in the back of the store, but worried the ceiling would leak and destroy his prized collection, so he moved much of his rare material into an adjoining warehouse. Rather than live in apartments, for much of his career Arnold preferred to live in his stores — typically in a back room, where he’d stash his money in the microwave.” One day, Beatles fan and journalist Eddie Fennell walked by and saw two Beatles LP’s in the window he had never seen before. He decided to investigate and enter the store and found in the owner one of the most eccentric figures he’d ever meet. “Just one-of-a-kind,” Fennell laughed. “A real unique guy.”

Fred with Yoko in the 1980’s

“In 1975, Fennell profiled Arnold for the Post & Courier, as an embodiment of the continued existence of “Beatlemania” in the wake of the group’s demise. Arnold’s pride (and obsessive compulsion) leapt off the page. “I have 234 different Beatles albums from 17 countries,” Arnold told him. “Along with several hundred 45s, two Beatles lunch boxes, a Beatles game, a can of Beatles Talc, two Beatles pillows, a Beatles bank and many Beatles films, posters, books, coins, bracelets, shirts, mobiles, ticket stubs, tapes of recordings not on albums, photos, slides, magazines, dolls, cards, buttons and promotion material.”

“Fennell himself had become drawn to the outer limits of collecting, inspired by afternoons at The Odyssey. With Arnold’s store as his exclusive distributor, he launched a Beatles-centric bootleg record label, Melvin Records, that would go on to gain an enduring cult reputation for its bizarre design aesthetic (many of its records featuring Arnold’s catchphrases in tribute) and consistently impressive archeological discoveries (live sets, phone interviews, demos and other rarities).”

For more insights into the life of the only bootlegger to have met the Fab Four, please visit:


And so, in 1975 their first release numbered MM-01 was proudly offered in the store. The pressing run for their first effort was obviously very limited as copies are extremely hard to locate and command a high price. Supposedly, the copy shown here was sold for the minimum bid of $1,999.75 in April of 2017.

USA: Fall of 1975, distributed via the Odyssey record store in Charleston, South Carolina

Unfortunately, Melvin’s first offering to the world of Beatles’ bootlegs was a complete rehash of previously available material. Side 1 contained mostly BBC recordings and one Decca Audition track.

The only part of the record I was able to listen to was “Lucille”, as the seller had uploaded it as part of the auction. Which versions make up the other tracks (and if there any upgrades here) on the Melvin LP can only be guessed.

  • Lucille – the complete 3 September ’63 recording included here first appeared on TMOQ’s Outtakes 1 in July of 1972
  • I’m Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (Over You) – first released on TMOQ’s Yellow Matter Custard in January of 1972
  • I Just Don’t Understand – see previous entry
  • Love Of The Loved – the lone Decca audition track available prior to the 1977 “Deccagone” 45’s via CBM’s L.S. Bumblebee, where it appeared as an extended edit. A bootleg single released in 1974 (Love Of The Loved / Reunion) provided an unedited upgrade
  • Crying, Waiting, Hoping – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • Hippy Hippy Shake – see Outtakes 1
  • Soldier Of Love – first released on Wizardo’s Rare Beatles/Happy Birthday/Soldier Of Love album (WRMB 345) around mid-1975, which helps date the Melvin album
  • Don’t Ever Change – see Yellow Matter Custard
  • The Honeymoon Song – ditto

Side 2:

  • What’s The New Mary Jane – an incomplete version of RS2 first appeared on CBM’s Mary Jane in 1972, a complete dub followed in July of 1973 on TMOQ’s Spicy Beatles Songs and finally a true stereo version in 1974 on Benbecula’s Live at Shea Stadium 1964
  • Step Inside Love (home demo) – this poor quality off-line recording was taken from DJ Kenny Everett likely playing an acetate on one of his shows and first appeared on CBM’s Abbey Road Revisited in 1973
  • A medley of: Besame Mucho; Cottonfields; When You Walk; Whole Lotta Shakin Goin’ On, Suzy Parker and Those Were The Days – a hodgepodge of mostly Get Back session snippets with John ‘butchering’ “Cottonfields” on the Kenny Everett Show and his short rendition of the Mary Hopkins hit – that replaced “Hey Jude” at number one – taped at the Amsterdam bed-in, thrown in. All previously released as well.
  • Bye Bye Bye- not the Beatles at all but Kenny Everett’s Nice Time TV show, also first released in atrocious off-line quality on CBM’s Abbey Road Revisited as US bootleggers missed the original Deram Records UK single
  • All Together On The Wireless Machine – Paul’s jingle for Kenny Everett, from Where It’s At a radio special about the Magical Mystery Tour double EP, broadcast 25 November 1967, see Abbey Road Revisited as well
  • Have You Heard The Word – by the Fut, first appeared on CBM’s album of the same title and was upgraded in length on Abbey Road Revisited

Usually, one could expect only $20 – $40+ for this title but this copy was different in that it shows a previously unseen insert:

Beatles LS BB alt 3626

Definitely not a fan made insert (except for the stickers), I would say. The label isn’t mentioned but this can also be seen on other inserts of the Contraband “umbrella label group” (for example super tracks 1, BEFORE THEIR TIMECinelogue LET IT BE, LIVE IN VANCOUVER CANADA & LIVE In Melbourne, Australia – July 16, 1964, , Paris SPORTS PALAIS, RARE BEATLES, SWEDEN 1963, Cream – ’67 – ’68, CSNY – Reunion Concert – July 25, 1974, Dylan: BLOOD TAKES and SEVENTY DOLLAR ROBBERY, Harrison: chicago 11 30 74 and EXCERPTS FROM THREE MAJOR CONCERTS, etc.).

Beatles LS BB alt 3626 d

You almost wish to rub your eyes but on July 19, this copy of Melvin Records MM 04 got 19 bids with the high bidder committing to an incredible $4,950.00 – I wonder if this amount actually changed hands in this case.




Link to the actual auction:

Around 1980, the Japan ZAP label appeared, presenting good quality copies of relatively fresh U.S. titles. These are to be distinguished from the Japanese attempts at copying the look of Ken’s Ze Anonym Plattenspieler label insert design a couple of years before via the titles Queen Free In The Park, Deep Purple Never Before and Wishbone Ash Ashes Are Burning.



Beatles Ed Sull S

There are many different vinyl versions of this title. This is the Japanese version described in HOTWACKS as having a “deluxe green/white cover”. The original in the dark cardboard cover with the copied wraparound insert (also marked ZAP-0514) was a copy of Melvin Records’ ED’S REALLY BIG BEATLES BLASTS and released in 1980.


Back of the original used for the Japan version and the rainbow label featured on one side:


Finally, the true original, MM05 from 1977:

Beatles Ed's Really Big Beatles Blast


Beatles – THE ROYAL VARIETY PERFORMANCE 1963  ZAP 1042 (UK-2826)

Beatles TRVP 1963

Beatles TRVP 1963 b 2

Beatles TRVP 1963 lbl a 2

Beatles TRVP 1963 lbl b

Although a Japan only LP release, this is till very much a copy job as it was crafted out of the BY ROYAL COMMAND and TOP OF THE POPS EP’s plus five Deccagone 45’s.

Beatles By Royal Command 2Beatles TotPops EP


Beatles – THE DECCA TAPES  ZAP 1047

Beatles Decca Tapes

Beatles Decca Tapes b

Beatles Decca Tapes J lbl

Deluxe blue cover copy of the Circuit Records US title, originally released December. 1979.



The pink cover version, released ca. 1980

Beatles LFTSHCCompare to the original version from 1979, brought to you by the Tobe Milo folks:

Beatles LftSamHoustonC

Beatles LFTSHC bBeatles LftSamHoustonC b

Beatles LFTSHC lbl 1Beatles LFTSHC lbl 2

Beatles Houston 65Onstage at the Sam Houston Colosseum. Few images convey the madness of a Beatles performance and that “in the eye of a hurricane” felling JPG&R must have felt better than this one


Beatles – Studio Sessions 1 ZAP 1061 and Studio Sessions 2 ZAP 1062

Copy of the 1973 Contraband LP’s, which were itself copied from TMOQ’s OUTAKES 1 + 2 (first released in July of 1972). CBM elected to move TMOQ’s opening track “Do You Want To Know A Secret” from the A 1 to the A 6 position. 

Beatles Studio Sessions ZAP 1061

Beatles Studio Sessions ZAP 1062Beatles Studio Sessions ZAP 1062 lbl A

First time a JASRAC logo (Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers) makes an appearance, elevating these releases to an almost official status, indicating that copyright fees may have been paid. Were they really or was this just a hoax? Released ca. 1980. The person behind the sadly recently taken offline niigata1116/Beatles/boot pages stated they had bought their copy in 1985.





John Lennon – IMAGINATION LIVE  ZAP – 1064

Lennon J Imagination ZAP 1064Lennon J Imagination ZAP 1064 bLennon J Imagination ZAP 1064 label

A straight copy of the TMOQ release TELECASTS dressed up as an official release.

Lennon Telecasts t.l.

Lennon Telecasts 2


Beatles – COMPLETE CHRISTMAS COLLECTION 1963 to 1969  ZAP – 1065

Beatles CCC Zap 1065Beatles CCC Zap 1065 b

Another straight copy of an old TMOQ title but this time copying the cover design as well. Uses an insert, not a deluxe printed cover for the authentic bootleg feeling.

Beatles Complete Christmas Coll 2


Beatles – SHEA STADIUM  ZAP – 1071

Beatles Shea Stadium ZAP 1071 II Beatles Shea Stadium ZAP 1071 bBeatles Shea Stadium ZAP 1071 lbl



Most of these were released in 1981 in the wake of John Lennon’s murder when the demand for musical mementos spilled over into the bootleg realm.

The typesetting on several of these covers was done using a simple typewriter, giving these a rather improvised and unfinished feel, as far as the artwork is concerned. Almost all copy previously released titles by Wizardo, TKRWM, Melvin, Audifon, CBM and Hoffman Avenue Records but do not hide this fact. There were also two new creations.


Lennon Angel B O t OLennon Angel B O t O bLennon Angel B O t O detailLennon Angel B O t O detail 2




Beatles Live Paris Olympia SheaBeatles Live Paris Olympia Shea b

Disc 1 is a copy of Contraband’s LIVE PARIS OLYMPIA (correctly dated on the back cover, just getting the venue still wrong).

Beatles Live Paris Olympia first

Disc 2 presented what was then the most complete video sourced version of the Shea Stadium concert, including four tracks by the opening acts in excellent mono quality.

Beatles Live Paris Olympia Shea det


Matrix: 63 A 1 M * 63 B 1 M * 63 C 1 M * 63 D 1 M (machine stamped)

Beatles PGTH YBeatles PGTB b1Beatles PGTB b1aBeatles PGTB b1b

Sides 1 + 2 combined the newly upgraded material just made available on the 1980 EP FOUR BY THE BEATLES (L-1453)

Beatles FourbtB EP

with nine other BBC tracks to form a new creation. Disc two was a straight copy of Audifon’s YOUNGBLOOD.


Beatles EOADream 20 X 4Beatles EOADream 20 X 4 b

Stylistically fitting right in: A Japanese copy of INDIAN ROPETRICK and 20 X 4 with an outtake from the photo session that 20 X 4 used. HOTWACKS states the cover is blue & white. Blank white labels.

Matrix · IRT 614 A / B J1 / TBF 615 J1 A / B  (handwritten)


I spotted this on eBay being offered as a genuine promo for over $1,000 (!) showing that this was one successful pirate job. Some bootleg knowledge or at least research can be useful. Originally released in 1979 and 1980 by “Richard” (as he is called in Heylin’s book) who wanted to make a “real record” and disliked bootlegs with their shoddy slip sheets. His entrepreneurial spirit also extended to some of the tracks as he created ‘frankenstein’ versions that never before existed (like a mono “Penny Lane”with the extra trumpet ending and the long intro + extra bar version of “I Am The Walrus”).

Beatles Casual Coll It

Beatles Casual Coll It b

Beatles Casual Coll It det



JL FlowerJL Flower b

Beatles Madrid 65 cover

To be released in the near future thanks to the copyright expiring after 50 years:

A limited edition 220 gram vinyl album plus CD with same content and a book containing 50 photographs of the Beatles in concert and in their hotel, by photographer Francisco Barahona. The name of the label is Cocodrilo Records. Those not able or willing to buy this package can listen to the recording online for free.
Track list::
Twist and Shout (Medley-Russell)
She’s a Woman (Lennon-McCartney)
I’m a Loser (Lennon-McCartney)
Can’t Buy Me Love (Lennon-McCartney)
Baby’s in Black (Lennon-McCartney)
I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney)
A Hard Day’s Night (Lennon-McCartney)
Everybody’s Tryin’ to Be My Baby (Perkins)
Rock and Roll Music (Berry)
I Feel Fine (Lennon-McCartney)
Ticket to Ride (Lennon-McCartney)
Long Tall Sally (Johnson-Penniman-Blackwell)

The recording made by José Luis Alvarez is supposedly in good quality.

Link to the vinyl (+ CD) edition

[Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with the site selling the product nor do I get any commission]

Beatles Madrid r2r

The master tape, recorded on a Grundig reel-to-reel on 2 channels with four AKG microphones, and mixed live. Brian Epstein had given his permission and a signed contract still exists.


The story behind the recording:

Brian Epstein liked to take trips to Spain, we remember the trip he invited John Lennon to in April of 1963. In April of 1965 on another trip to Spain, Brian met Alvarez, who worked for the Spanish music publication FONORAMA.

One topic that came up was the relatively low number of record sales by the Beatles in Spain. A number of 3,800 is usually mentioned but was this for a certain/the latest release or the total amount of all records sold by the Beatles. Now the latter would be hard to believe, considering how many titles had already been released by Spring of 1965: Four LP’s, up to 16 EP’s and five singles.

The way Alvarez tells it, Brian even felt that the band was not as popular in Spain as in other European countries and there was no point in visiting Spain on the upcoming short European tour. Apparently, there were all of 2,000 record players in Spain at that time, explaining the suppressed sales figures but that these record players were put to good use at local street parties and the Beatles were definitely very popular, Alvarez emphasized. In the end, Brian could be persuaded to include Madrid and Barcelona in the tour schedule.

Beatles 65 sales

Beatles sales figures for Southern European countries mentioned in this 1965 Canadian newspaper article.

There is just one problem here: A contract exists that shows that Brian agreed to those two concerts in early February of that year:

Beatles Spain 65 contractBeatles Spain 65 contract 2In the end it must have come down to a promoter guaranteeing a certain fee and less about sales figures.

Fotografía de archivo (julio 1965) del cartel anunciador del concierto que ofrecieron The Beatles en la Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas de Madrid, hace 40 años. Vertical.

Hand painted concert ad

Beatles Madrid ad 2Beatles Madrid poster

jose-luis-alvarez BeatlesAlvarez (wearing a tie) with Paul and John in Madrid.

Beatles Madrid 2John, public persona face firmly in place

Beatles Spain 65Beatles Madrid 65 2


531 Beatles THE E.M.I. OUTTAKES
532 Paul McCartney in scotland
533 Beatles RENAISSANCE MINSTRELS volume 1
534 Beatles Cinelogue: LET IT BE
536 Led Zeppelin ON STAGE IN EUROPE 1975
537 Deep Purple LIVE IN LONDON
538 Deep Purple PERKS AND TIT



Beatles EMI Outtakes JL 531EMI Outtakes lblCopied World Records label above.

Original U.S. ZAP Records label below (the fake track list never changed):

Harrison Clapton Dead Stick lbl


JL 532: PAUL McCARTNEY – in scotland


Wings Live i Scotl JLWings LiScot lblCopy vs. original Wizardo label

Beatles Orig. Audition Tape ca 1962 lbl

For more information regarding the original release, click here.



Beatle Renaissance M v 1Beatle Renaissance M v 1 lbl





Beatles Cinelogue 1 J 534

Beatles Cinelogue I fake dragon

Above: The JL copy of a King Kong label

Below: An original version:

beatles Cinelogue I real dragon

For more information regarding the original release, click here.




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Led Zep JL 536

For more information regarding the original release, click here.



JL 537: Deep Purple – LIVE IN LONDON

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JL 538: Deep Purple – PERKS AND TIT

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