By Daily Mail Reporter |
The Beatles’ audition tape that was infamously rejected by a record company boss – because he thought guitar groups were ‘on the way out’ – has been discovered after 50 years.
The fledgling group were also told ‘they had no future in show business’ following the 1962 audition, during which they recorded a ten-track demo tape.
The decision by a Decca Records’ executive still stands as one of the worst judgement calls made in music history.
Hidden gem: The original Beatles audition tape that was rejected by a record company boss has been discovered after 50 years. Within months John, Paul, George and original drummer Pete Best had signed with EMI and went on to become the greatest band of all time.
Now the original safety master tape the group recorded at Decca’s London studios on New Year’s Day 1962 has come to public light for the first time.
It is thought the Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein held on to the tape he had paid to make, and later gave it to an executive associated with EMI.
Get back: The legendary recording was rejected by Decca records in 1962 by music executive Dick Rowe.
He sold it in 2002 to a prolific buyer of music memorabilia, who is now selling it at auction with a pre-sale estimate of £30,000. The recording has never been officially released and the sound quality on it is said to be pristine. At the time of the recording Epstein had visited several record companies with the hope of securing a contract for the Beatles – then called the Silver Beatles.
On New Year’s Eve 1961 the band were driven from Liverpool to London but ended up taking 10 hours to get there as the driver got lost. The following day they were auditioned by Decca producer Tony Meehan.
Big mistake: The Fab Four were swiftly signed up by EMI after Rowe turned them down and they became a global phenomenon. Epstein selected the material and chose ten cover songs the Beatles had previously performed in various clubs.
But the band failed to impress Decca executive Dick Rowe who turned them down, believing ‘guitar groups are on the way out.’ The ten tracks on the 12-inch audio tape include Money (That’s What I Want), Like Dreamers Do, Take Good Care Of My Baby, Three Cool Cats, Love Of The Loved, Memphis and Crying Waiting Hoping.
A handwritten note stuck on the cover for the tape lists the 10 songs and their length.
There is also a photo negative of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best that they took with them to the audition, and would have been used as the album cover had they won the contract.
In order: The track list for the ten songs was recorded in London on New Year’s Day. Ted Owen, of auctioneers the Fame Bureau, which is now selling the tape, said: ‘This has never officially been released. It is totally unique and the sound quality is crystal clear. There are bootlegs of the recording out there but nobody has ever heard the original in its entirety.
‘The tape went to a Capitol Records executive after the Beatles signed with EMI. He sold it to the current owner who was one of the top buyers for Hard Rock Cafe but it was for his own personal collection.’
He added: ‘We have spoken to various experts and this is the best-quality recording of this session there is, given that it is the master copy.
The original crew: From left, John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Pete Best, before Ringo joined the band. ‘The songs on it are all covers from mainly American artists and the Beatles actually sound American in a lot of the songs.
Owen continued, ‘they are copying the American style, the style of artists like Buddy Holly and Chuck Berry. ‘Those were the days of Rock and Roll and everybody who was trying to make a name for themselves were trying to replicate that style.
‘They were hoping that by doing that they would get a record deal. But they were turned down, which is pretty ironic when you look at what happened after. Listening to it now I would say they were as good as anything around at that time and if it was me I would have given them a record deal.
Global fame: The boys from Liverpool, pictured in 1964, went on to become the biggest band of all time.
‘Whoever did say no must have been looking at other bands at the time, such as The Searchers and Freddie and the Dreamers, and didn’t think there was room for the Beatles. ‘EMI took them in the end and the rest is history. After that they were massive.’
Instead of the Beatles, Decca Records signed up the Tremeloes, who auditioned the same day. Decca did later go on to sign the Rolling Stones.
Within weeks after signing with EMI, it was decided to replace drummer Pete Best with Ringo Star. Bill Heckle, the co-owner of The Cavern Club in Liverpool, said: “This was always a big, big deal for Beatles fans. It was a great album. It was the one that failed the audition but it is such a historical document. It is a great reminder forever of what Decca missed out on.”
Back in 1971 I traded a copy of Please Please Me signed by Paul McCartney to get my hands on a bootleg copy of the Decca tape.
‘For any Beatles fan, the Decca audition is very important.’ The tape will be offered for sale at the Fame Bureau auction in London’s Mayfair on November 27th.