Recently, I purchased a collection of vintage jukebox EPs dating from the mid 60’s to early 70’s. These EPs differ from regular 45s, in that they had small spindle holes and played at 33 1/3 rpm. They would contain four to six tracks from any given artist’s album and were not sold to the general public. Instead, they were only available to jukebox distributors for machines that could play this speed.
While they should not to be confused with commercially released EPs that were mildly popular in the late 50’s/early 60’s, their basic construction is the same. One of the most notable differences is the way they were packaged. Jukebox EPs were issued in one of three distinct jackets. Earlier EPs were either thick cardstock “LP style” or tri-fold paper sleeves. Both would reproduce the original albums cover artwork on the front in full color. The cardstock sleeves would have totally blank back covers (a sure sign of a jukebox EP), while the tri-fold sleeves would open into two sheets of title strips. In the late 60s, less colorful paper envelope style sleeves (black print on colored paper) were introduced. Some of these have different (or altered) artwork than the LPs they were sourced from.
It should come as no surprise that the Beatles have some of the most sought after jukebox EPs. Any issued for their Capitol albums are in high demand (cover, vinyl, title strips/inserts all factor in to the total value). All of the Beatles EPs would have had the thicker “LP style” jackets with blank back covers. Some other sought after artists include the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and even Dean Martin.