Here is the Capitol B-5439 unreleased picture sleeve for Leave My Kitten Alone, which first appeared in January 1985 in very limited quantities (collectors were originally told that only 10 of 85 total existing copies would be available). It was to be the first single from the aborted Sessions album. The sleeves were originally sold for prices above $600.00, until 1994 when 1500+ copies were "found", forcing the price below $100.00. Some suspect that the entire quantity of thousands existed initially, and the sleeves were slowly dispersed in order to keep the price and value/demand high, a not-uncommon practice in the bootleg & collectors world (similar to the Girl sleeve and the pirate Tollie EP). These limited sales went on with the Kitten sleeve for nine years before a large quantity was unleashed on the market.
There has been some debate recently about the authenticity of the sleeve. Someone from Charlotte, North Carolina, has recently sent out letters to several Beatlefans stating that the sleeve is a fake, based on the fact that there are several errors and inconsistencies on the picture sleeve printing. It should be noted that several of the errors listed in the letter (reprinted below) appear on the original internal EMI label copy publishing sheets from England, which explains why some of the errors may have appeared on the Capitol sleeve.
Last year, a major collection was sold that included released, unreleased, and alternate artwork from several Beatle albums and singles. The original Capitol and EMI slicks, proofs and artwork for the aborted Sessions album project were in the collection. The materials were obtained directly from Capitol Records in 1985 after the project was cancelled, and included was a U.K. picture sleeve example of Leave My Kitten Alone, very similar to the U.S. intended release.
It's entirely feasible that the erroneous artwork was never intended to be printed. Our theory is that proofs were run in small numbers by Capitol (with errors), and an inside connection simply took the early artwork to the printer and ran off a few thousand copies, perhaps a deliberate overrun intended just for the collectors market. At $600-$700 each, the incentive would certainly have been there, as proven by the demand and value for the initial copies, and the mega-profits realized by so many "overruns" in the past.
A similar story happened with the Capitol Girl sleeve (sans errors), only they were initially sold for far less. In 1977, four cases of Girl picture sleeves, 16,000 pieces, hit the collectors market when two dealers bought them all from a source at Capitol. They were offered for $40-$50.00 retail and $5-$20.00 wholesale, and slowly worked their way down to $8.00 and have since rebounded to around $20.00. Now twenty years later, they have just about all been sold.
Over the past 25 years, hundreds of different records, sleeves and other products have come to the collectors market via Capitol in quantities beyond what might be normal or reasonable for a release (promos are a classic example). This pattern, along with other expert examination of the sleeve, liner notes, and history by several top collectors, leads us to conclude that at least some sleeves were no doubt printed by Capitol Records, and that the balance of them were printed either by them, a vendor, or someone close to or on the inside.
More information and interesting facts will be forthcoming...Your comments are welcome.
|Here is a reprint of the text that someone from Charlotte, North Carolina (USA) has been circulating on a flyer:|
The overwhelming number of errors and inconsistencies in the Leave My Kitten Alone picture sleeve should convince any collector that the picture sleeve is a forgery...