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The 15 Greatest Songs Of The Beatles, Vee-Jay VJ 1101.

Published February 2nd, 2011

The 15 Greatest Songs Of The Beatles, Vee-Jay VJ 1101, January, 1965. This latest edition of Vee Jay Record associated with the name of The Beatles. But this is not the album Beatles. This album is little known group from Birmingham represented on the album as The Merceyboys which performs songs of The Beatles.
In fact, this English group The Brumbeats from Birmingham. They were originally called The Plazents and their name was derived from Mary Regan’s well known Plaza Ballroom in Old Hill where the band became the resident act. The Plazents were formed in Erdington by drummer Dave Mountney (from the Beachcombers), guitarists Graham Gallery and Roger Hill (both previously with a group called Bobby & The Dominators) while saxophonist Paul Carter came from Northfield. By 1963, The Plazents had enlisted Buddy Ash from Smethwick, formerly of The Eko’s and the Diplomats, as their lead vocalist. The positive response to the Plazents from the Plaza regulars was such that they were signed to a recording contract by Decca Records in July 1963 although it would not be until September before they could go into the studio due to bass guitarist Graham Gallery having a bout with pneumonia. Decca also told the group to get another drummer so Dave Mountney was replaced by Alan Eastwood.
In order to capitalize on the so called “Mersey Beat” mania that was sweeping the country at that time, the term “Brum Beat” was being used by some promoters as a means of advertising West Midlands groups that had recently been signed-up. In light of this, Decca Records decided that The Plazents name should be changed to The Brumbeats prior to the release of their first single. Decca Records chose a great song for the A-side of the Brumbeats first record release that had been composed by the group themselves. The track was called and the recording was done very much in the style of the Mersey Sound while also considered as a potential record for well known singer Billy Fury. The song was actually composed by the Brumbeats singer Buddy Ash (Graham Ashford) who wrote the lyrics with the music composed by bass guitarist Graham Gallery. Despite radio and TV appearances on shows like “Thank Your Lucky Stars” did not manage to become a hit although many copies were sold in Birmingham record shops. As well as providing support for visiting acts, the Brumbeats had often appeared on the same bill as the Beatles whenever they played in the Birmingham area. The Brumbeats similarity in their sound to The Beatles was not lost on Decca Records as they were involved in a project that resulted in the release of a rare 15-track album of Beatles songs as performed by “The Merseyboys” which was really the Brumbeats under a different name. The album was also released in the U.S.A. on the famous Vee-Jay Records label
For collectors, this album is valuable only for its cover for the design which used photographs Dezzo Hoffmann, as well as a very rare – 3000 copies sold only.


VJLP 1101A
First label variation has centered titles and credits with VJ brackets logo and outer rim colorband. Label has the phrase “Saluting Their Return To Amercia” in medium print directly below the brackets logo. Isn’t it ironic that American Record Pressing Co. misspelled “AMERICA” as “AMERCIA” on the label. This label has phrase “& Other Songs” on both sides. The trail off areas to the the disc show that the stampers responsible for pressing this classic got around. Side 1 has the hand etched matrix number 64-4233 and job number 6810. Side 2 has the hand etchet matrix number 64-4234 and job number 6810X. Both sides have machine stamped MR and ARP logos. This record was pressed by ARP with stampers also used by Monarch.

Second label variation has left justified titles and credits with VJ brackets logo and outer rim colorband. The labels to this variation list all of the song titles. The trail off area on Side 1 contains the matrix number 64-4233 and job number 6810. Side 2 has the matrix number 64-4234 and job number 6810X. Both sides have the MR logo. This record was pressed by by Monarch Records.

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