In October of 1961 in Canada, a "girl group" The Marvelettes issued a record called " Please Mr. Postman" and that would be one of the two American songs covered by The Beatles on Side 1 of their very first Canadian album "Beatlemania! With The Beatles" (Capitol T-6051); these were respectively track 6 "Till There Was You" and track 7 "Please Mister Postman".
"Till There Was You" was lifted by Paul McCartney from a British Capitol single by Peggy Lee (UK Capitol 45-CL 15184) which had been issued in England in 1960 on the purple Capitol label:
The song was not issued on a 45 RPM single in Canada or the USA by Capitol but it was included on a Canadian Capitol Lp by Peggy Lee called "Latin ala Lee!" (Capitol T 1290). It was the third track on side 1. The album was issued by Capitol of Canada in early 1960. Well worth seeking out Peggy`s version.
The second song to be covered on Side 1 of T-6051 by The Beatles was "Please Mr. Postman". The first single to be issued by The Marvelettes in the USA was "Please Mr. Postman / So Long Baby" (Tamla T 54046) on August 21st., 1961. This A side would prove to be their biggest hit. In England, the 45 was issued by Fontana (Philips) as Fontana H355 "Please Mr. Postman / So Long Baby" (December 1961). In Canada, the disc was pressed by London Records Of Canada as TM.7003 and featured the standard London blue background label with the Tamla logo stamped in silver print. The Canadian pressing was probably issued in late October of 1961 as the early Tamla releases in Canada appeared to lag the US issue dates by about 6 weeks. For example, their next release in Canada was TM.7008 and this was issued in Canada in February 1962, about 6 weeks after the US release date of December 1961.
Promotional copies of the "Postman" single were sent to radio stations across Canada and these copies featured a red and white sticker on the A side with the text "DEMONSTRATION RECORD NOT FOR SALE". The record was listed as a new entry on the weekly CHUM Chart in Toronto in November 1961 but failed to secure a position in the top 50 (Source: "The CHUM Chart Book", Ron Hall, Stardust, 1990). Airplay of the single would have been limited. The "Motown" sound was just catching on in Canada and it would be a few more months before things would change ... in September 1962 The Marvelettes would hit pay-dirt with "Beechwood 4-5789" and Mary Wells also would see chart action with "You Beat Me To The Punch". The Contours' "Do You Love Me" would chart the following month.
Very early Tamla releases such as "Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong from 1959 (Tamla 54027) did not see a Canadian release.
London Records Of Canada released the very first record by a Motown artist in Canada on its own M.17000 series in early 1961. This release may predate the three Canadian 45 releases by The Miracles and Mary Wells on REO (Quality).
In early 1961, REO (Quality Records) issued these selected Tamla and Motown records in Canada:
REO 8532X The Miracles "Shop Around / Who's Lovin You" (Tamla T 54034)
REO 8540X Mary Wells "Bye Bye Baby / Please Forgive Me" (Motown 1003)
REO 8566X The Miracles " Ain't It Baby / Only One I Love" (Tamla T 54036)
It was standard practice back in the late 1950s and early 1960s for the major Canadian labels like Quality and London to license regional US hits for release in Canada. For example, London Records of Canada issued the Beach Boys "Surfin / Luau" 45 (US Candix 301 January 1962) as London M.17224 and also Dick Dale's "Surf Beat / Peppermint Man" (US Deltone 5020 November 1962) as London M.17275. Quality issued hits by Chuck Berry, Del Shannon, Freddy Cannon, etc. The best source for this information is David Whatmough's excellent book covering Canadian 45 RPM and 78 RPM records from 1940 through 1990.
While Quality had issued these three early Motown "hit" 45s on REO in early 1961, London had yet to sign a deal an exclusive deal with Motown which they would later do in the summer of 1961. Later London releases of Motown 45s in Canada (eg post the three REO 45s) would use the Motown numbering as shown in the Canadian London blue label listing below.
Debbie Dean was actually the first "white" female artist to record for Motown in Detroit so it is interesting that Motown would have chosen this 45 as their first 45 release for the Canadian teen market.45 London M.17157 Debbie Dean A New Girl / Don't Let Him Shop Around (Motown M 1007)
Starting in mid 1961, the early Tamla (London Records) blue label releases in Canada were as follows:
TM.7001 The Miracles "Broken Hearted / Mighty Good Lovin'" (Tamla 54044)
TM.7002 Mary Wells "I Don't Want To Take A Chance / I'm So Sorry" (Motown M 1011 May 1960)
TM.7003 The Marvelettes "Please Mr. Postman / So Long Baby" (Tamla T 54046)
TM.7004 The Miracles "Everybody's Gotta Pay Some Dues / I Can't Believe " (Tamla 54048)
TM.7005 Mary Wells "Come To Me / Strange Love" (Motown 1016)
TM.7006 Bob Kayli "Small Sad Sam / Tie Me Tight" (Tamla 54051)
TM.7007 The Miracles "What's So Good About Goodbye / I've Been Good To You" (Tamla 54053)
TM.7008 The Marvelettes "Twistin' Postman / I Want A Guy" (Tamla T 54054) (February 1962)
TM.7009 Eddie Holland "Jamie / Take A Chance On Me" (Motown 1021)
TM.7010 Mary Wells "The One Who really Loves You / I'm Gonna Stay" (Motown M 1024)
TM.7011 The Marvelettes "Playboy / All The Love I've Got" (Tamla T 54060)
7012 The Miracles "I'll Try Something New / You Never Miss A Good Thing" (Tamla 54059)
7013 Eddie Holland "Cleopatra Took A Chance / What About Me" (Motown 1030)
In mid 1962, Phonodisc began issuing the Tamla and Motown releases in Canada, with a new yellow label format and using the same numbering system as in the US.
G-7005 The Contours "Do You Love Me / Move, Mr. Man" (Gordy G 7005)
G-7012 The Contours "You Better Get In Line / Shake Sherry" (TBD)
T-54065 The Marvelettes "Beechwood 4-5789 / Someday, Someway" (September 1962 in Canada, July 1962 in the US)
M-1032 Mary Wells "You Beat Me To The Punch / Old Love (Let's Try It Again)" (September 1962 in Canada, July 1962 in the US)
Phonodisc would enjoy much greater success with the Motown singles and albums than London Records of Canada, however, for record collectors the early Canadian "blue label" singles are of greater interest as they were produced in small numbers. The "demo" copy of "Please Mr. Postman" on the blue London Records Tamla label is especially hard to find.
The initial credits for the song on the TN.7003 45 list the songwriters as "Dobbins-Garret-Brianbert" and the song's producer is Brianbert. On The Beatles T-6051 album cover, the song is simply credited to "Holland" and there is a story behind the shortening of the songwriting credit for the song.
The song was originally written in a blues style by William Garrett who was a friend of singer Georgia Dobbins. It was then modified by a team that included original Marvelettes singer Georgia Dobbins (who had already left the group), a real-life Detroit postman named Freddie Gorman, Brian Holland (original Motown engineer) and Robert Bateman (another founding engineer at Motown). Robert (aka Bert) Bateman left Motown in 1962 and that explains the short life of the made-up name Brianbert.
On the actual recording, The Marvelettes at this time included Gladys Horton on lead vocal and on background vocals Wanda Young, Georganna Tillman, Juanita Cowart, and Katherine Anderson. Providing the instrumental backup were the Funk Brothers that included Benny Benjamin on drums, James Jamerson on bass, Richard "Popcorn" Wylie on piano, Eddie "Bongo" Brown on percussion. It is also interesting to note that Marvin Gaye played additional drums on this track.
In the summer of 1963, Phonodsic would also issue an Lp called "A Package Of 16 Big Hits" (mono MT 614) which featured "Please Mr. Postman". This time the song credits were as follows:
On the back sleeve - Bateman, Holland, Garrett, Gorman, Dobbins
On the record label - Holland, Garrett, Gorman, Dobbins
It is interesting to note that this Lp featured the very first release in Canada of the "Money" track by Barrett Strong. It was never issued in Canada on 45. The Lp also includes "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" by The Miracles. For my money, this was the best Motown compilation ever and one can appreciate just what The Beatles were tapping into …
Side two of Capitol T-6051 contains four great cover versions by The Beatles; Roll Over Beethoven, You've Really Gotta Hold On Me, Devil In Her Heart, and Money. Only three of these tracks had been released in Canada prior to the Beatles issuing their first Canadian LP on Capitol.
The single "Roll Over Beethoven / Drifting Heart" by Chuck Berry And His Combo was issued in the USA in May 1956 as Chess 1626 on both 78 RPM and 45 RPM disc formats. This was Chuck berry's fourth single for Chess. The previous three singles on Chess were:
Chess 1604 Maybellene / Wee Wee Hours (July 1955)
(Note - this was issued as Quality 1413 on 78 RPM and K 1413 on 45 RPM in Canada)
Chess 1610 Thirty Days / Together We Will Always Be (September 1955)
(Note - this was issued as Quality 1430 on 78 RPM and K 1430 on 45 RPM in Canada)
Chess 1615 No Money Down / Down Bound Train (December 1955)
(Note - this was issued as Quality 1467 on 78 RPM and K 1467 on 45 RPM in Canada)
The following personnel played on the track Roll Over Beethoven which was recorded at Chess Studios in Chicago on April 16th., 1956:
Chuck Berry - guitar, vocal,
Willie Dixon - bass
Johnnie Johnson - piano
Fred Below - drums
The Beethoven single was originally issued in Canada in May 1956 on both 78 RPM and 45 RPM formats on the Quality label. Quality was the Canadian distributor for Chess until Phonodisc took over for Chess distribution in Canada in the early 1960s. The A side Beethoven pre-dated CHUM Toronto's top 50 ... as CHUM did not start it's rock and roll chart until 1957. The 78 issue carried the Quality catalogue number 1503 while the 45 issue carried the catalogue number K 1503.
David Whatmough lists an entry for the 45 in his excellent book"50 Year Directory Of Canadian 45 RPM and 78 RPM Records" (published by the author 2000-2002). To date I have not come across a copy of the original 45 (just the Quality 78) so I am assuming that the 45 was pressed in very small quantities. Perhaps the 78 RPM version was pressed in larger quantities.
The soundtrack LP From The Motion Picture "Rock, Rock, Rock" was the first LP to be issued in the US by Chess in December of 1956. It is also considered to be Chuck Berry's very first LP. In Canada the LP was issued as Quality V-1561 but still used the front slick of the Chess LP 1425. The LP was probably issued in Canada in early 1957 and the liner notes contain a brief summary of the track "Roll Over Beethoven".
The Chess LP "Chuck .. Berry Is On Top" was issued in July 1959. This compilation LP was issued in Canada by Quality (blue label) as V-1641 and features Roll Over Beethoven as track 3 on Side 2.
The complete Canadian Chuck Berry discography is found under the "Non-Capitol Artists" tab in the menu,
otherwise, simply click HERE to access it.
Issued in the US by Tamla in November 1962. The 45 was issued in Canada by Phonodisc as T 54073 in December 1962 or possibly early January 1963. This was followed by the album "The Fabulous Miracles" (Phonodisc Tamla T-238 mono) in March or April 1963. The single was not charted by CHUM but their previous single Mickey's Monkey (Phonodisc Tamla T 54083) was charted by CHUM Toronto and reached number 10 in September 1963.
Somehow a copy of this cool USA 45 on the Brent label (Brent 1033) found its way to Liverpool. Sadly there is no evidence that this disc was issued in Canada Quality Records or London Records. So buyers of the first Beatles album would never have heard this song before. The single that was issued in the USA had "Bad Boy" on the flip side but this was not the same song that was covered on Beatles VI.
One can't help listening to John Lennon singing this song on the Beatlemania ! With The Beatles LP without actually believing that that is exactly what he wants !
The track was initially released on the "Anna" label (Anna 1111) in 1960 and writing credits were "J. Bradford and B. Gordy, Jr.".
"Anna Records was operated by Gwen Gordy, Anna Gordy and Billy 'Roquel' Davis. Gwen and Anna's brother Berry Gordy had just established his Tamla label (soon Motown would follow), and licensed the song to the Anna label in 1960, which was distributed nationwide by Chicago-based Chess Records in order to meet demand; the Tamla record was a resounding success in the Midwest. The song features Strong curtly demanding that money is what he needs, more than anything else. The single became Motown's first hit in June 1960, making it to #2 on the US R&B chart and #23 on the US pop chart." (Source" Wikipedia).
Very early Tamla releases such as "Money (That's What I Want)" by Barrett Strong from 1959 (Tamla 54027) did not see a Canadian release. The Barrett Strong track was first released in Canada on the previously mentioned compilation LP called "A Package Of 16 Big Hits" (mono MT 614) in the summer of 1963. This cool LP also featured "Please Mr. Postman" by The Marvelettes and "You've Really Got A Hold On Me" by The Miracles . "Money" appears as the first track on Side 2 and is credited to "Gordy, Bradford".