The HIT series were the very first Rolling
Stones singles issued in Japan. Up to 1965, these are directly inspired from the UK and US discographies and come into exclusive picture sleeves.
These sleeves actually are inserts - a piece of paper printed on both sides and fold in two - including both Japanese and [approximative!] English lyrics. At the back was pictured a list of recent other singles from the London catalogue, with, in the bottom left corner the year of release of the record, and at the right its retail price in yens.
Records have yellow labels, large hole centers, and were housed
in local London company sleeves [pink until August 1965, blue afterwards].
All these singles were reissued with the same catalogue numbers between 1966 and 1968, some of them revamped into complete new picture sleeves [rarer than originals], also with different backs. Therefore, three main types of labels can be found within these series, the most notable difference lying into the presence and the place of the Full Frequency Range Recordings [FFRR] 'ear' logo.
All records from the HIT series below are rare - if not super rare - except for the originals of the last two numbers which are relatively easy to find.
The first single 'I Wanna Be Your Man' [HIT 323], originally issued in March 1964, is of course one of the rarest.
Its very first print [¥ 330] has a - pink - cover without singles pictures on the back, and a disc with labels of type I. The second issue, from 1966, has the same cover but with a complete different back and new labels of type II with the mention 'London' below catalogue numbers. In 1967, it is reissued again in a complete - red - new cover with a band shot from that year, still type II labels, but without the 'London' mention. The rarest one is the latest issue, in that same 'second' sleeve, but on type III labels.
Note that the flip side track 'Stoned' is spelled correctly in Japan, but all four versions of this single funnily misspell the authors of the A-side 'Lemon, McCarthy! [an error that will be corrected with the reissue of this single in new cover within the TOP series in 1970 - TOP 1510].
Two months later, 'Not Fade Away' [HIT 346] revamped the previous picture in the orange tones and also came out with an initial price tag of '¥ 330'. It was already the last record with labels of type I and is extremely rare. It also was reissued, in 1966 and 1968 with different backs and labels, and a slight different typography for the front cover.
Still on the tracks of the UK singles discography, the unique 'It's All Over Now' [HIT 386] picture sleeve curiously depicts a fanatic crowd supposedly attending a Stones's show. It was reissued with a new colored back as well - but same front - in 1967. Both editions are very scarce.
Perhaps the easiest of these very early Japanese singles to find is the exclusive coupling 'Tell Me' / 'Carol' [HIT 388], although its reissue with a new colored back in 1967 is harder to come by. 'Tell Me' was a huge success in Japan and was later included in many reissues and compilations.
|London HIT series||information|
|#||view||cat.#||date||titles a-side / b-side||PS price / label type|
|34-a||HIT 323||03/64||I Wanna Be Your Man / Stoned||1st PS - ¥ 330 - type I (and II)|
|34-b||HIT 323||1966||I Wanna Be Your Man / Stoned||1st PS - ¥ 370 - type II [LONDON]|
|34-c||HIT 323||1967||I Wanna Be Your Man / Stoned||2nd PS - ¥ 370 - type II|
|34-d||HIT 323||1967||I Wanna Be Your Man / Stoned||2nd PS - ¥ 370 - type III|
|35-a||HIT 346||05/64||Not Fade Away / Little By Little||¥ 330 - type I|
|35-b||HIT 346||1966||Not Fade Away / Little By Little||¥ 370 - front as above - type II|
|35-c||HIT 346||1968||Not Fade Away / Little By Little||¥ 400 - type III|
|36-a||HIT 386||08/64||It's All Over Now / Good Times...||¥ 330 - type II|
|36-b||HIT 386||1967||It's All Over Now / Good Times...||¥ 370 - front as above - type II|
|37-a||HIT 388||09/64||Tell Me / Carol||¥ 330 - type II|
|37-b||HIT 388||1967||Tell Me / Carol||¥ 370 - front as above - type II|
|38-a||HIT 427||01/65||Time Is On My Side / Congrats.||¥ 330 - type II|
|38-b||HIT 427||1967||Time Is On My Side / Congrats.||¥ 370 - front as above - type II|
|39-a||HIT 440||02/65||Little Red Rooster / Off The Hook||1st PS - ¥ 330 - type II|
|39-b||HIT 440||1968||Little Red Rooster / Off The Hook||2nd PS - ¥ 400 - type II or III|
|40-a||HIT 462||03/65||Heart Of Stone / What A Shame||1st PS - ¥ 330 - type II|
|40-b||HIT 462||1968||Heart Of Stone / What A Shame||2nd PS - ¥ 400 - type III|
|41-a||HIT 485||05/65||The Last Time / Play With Fire||1st PS - ¥ 330 - type II|
|41-b||HIT 485||1968||The Last Time / Play With Fire||2nd PS - ¥ 370 - type III|
|41-c||HIT 485||1968||The Last Time / Play With Fire||2nd PS - ¥ 400 - type III|
|42-a||HIT 511||08/65||Satisfaction (2:41) / TUAWCPM||1st PS - ¥ 370 - type II - 2:41|
|42-b||HIT 511||1966||Satisfaction (3:47) / TUAWCPM||2nd PS - ¥ 370 - type II - 3'47|
|42-c||HIT 511||1968||Satisfaction (3:47) / TUAWCPM||2nd PS - ¥ 400 - type III|
|43-a||HIT 568||11/65||Get Off Of My Cloud / I'm Free||promo white labels|
|43-b||HIT 568||11/65||Get Off Of My Cloud / I'm Free||¥ 370 - type II|
|43-c||HIT 568||1968||Get Off Of My Cloud / I'm Free||¥ 400 - type III|
|type I||type II*||type III|
| FFRR logo at left
'45 R.P.M' right
| FFRR logo on top
'45 R.P.M' left
|no FFRR logo
'45 R.P.M' right
In early 1965, the green cover of the Japanese version of the US single 'Time is On My Side' [HIT 427] brought a bit of change among the usual pink-orange-red tones of these series. Again, it was reissued 2 years later with a different back.
'Little Red Rooster' [HIT 440] is another huge rarity, and its second complete different PS is nearly impossible to find. Moreover, its 1970 reissue in a third cover [TOP 1511] is the rarest from the TOP series.
Back covers differences [HIT 427]: original [Left], reissue [Right].
¥330 was the original price for a single in Japan in 1964, rising up to ¥370 by mid-1965 [with HIT 511], and ¥400 in 1968.
A month later, 'Heart Of Stone' [HIT 462] was released the way it was in the US. Its second PS also ranks at the top of Japanese rarities, and it was reissued in 1970 with a new PS [TOP 1513].
The last real rarity of these series is 'The Last Time' [HIT 485], whom much sought-after 1967' second picture sleeve, contrarily to the last two singles reissues, uses a picture unavailable on other singles or EPs [the latter of which may still house the original type II labels record, by the way].
The original edition of 'Satisfaction' [HIT 511] contains the short version [2:41] of the track, backed with 'The Under Assistant...', as in the US. Its - quite common - cover has a light blue London logo on top and a price tag of '370¥'. The reissue on new labels is rarer and contains the 3:47 version, housed into the same cover with a different back, price [400¥] and white London logo on front.
The last single from the HIT series, 'Get Off Of My Cloud' [HIT 568] is coupled with 'I'm Free' as in most countries but England. This single is common in its original version but its reissue is rare and little known. Also, this is the first Japanese single for which white promo labels were made [very rare].
Indeed, a few tracks had been promoted on white labels before, but always combined with other artists [eg: 'Heart Of Stone' c/w the Moody Blues 'Go Now' - or 'Satisfaction' c/w the Nashville Teens 'This Little Bird'] .