The audition tape that infamously led a Decca exec to declare the Beatles had “no future in show business” has been discovered
By Alex Baker
Ostensibly, record company executives are meant to musically-savvy guys, with their ears to the ground and tuned into whatever is on the way to being the next big thing.
Some of them are, but sadly many of them aren’t. Take Decca Records executive Dick Rowe, the man who famously told the Beatles that they had “no future” in show business and that in 1962 guitar groups were “on their way out.”
Ouch! What on Earth did he think was on its way in at the time?
The safety master tape of that infamous rejected audition has just surfaced for the first time. The Beatles, who at the time still had Pete Best on drums, recorded the demo on New Year’s Day, 1962, after being driven from Liverpool to London the night before. The tape features 10 covers that were in the Beatles’ live set at the time, along with three of their early originals.
Some of the tracks included on the tape are “Three Cool Cats,” “Money,” “Memphis,” and “Crying, Waiting, Hoping.” The Beatles were doing a lot of covers by American artists at the time and according to those who’ve heard the tapes, they were trying to sound American, in the hopes that it would help them land a deal.
After the tapes were rejected by Decca it’s believed late Beatles manager Brian Epstein held onto them and passed them on to someone at Capitol, the label the Beatles did eventually sign with. Now for the first time, the tapes have come to light in public and will be sold at the Farm Bureau auction in London on November 27.
Ted Owen, who works with the Farm Bureau claims the tapes are something “totally unique and that the “sound quality is crystal clear.”
Oh, and don’t feel too bad for Decca Records. It seems they learned their lesson after passing up the Beatles. The next time a shaggy-haired electric guitar driven group came their way they signed them right up. You might have heard of them. They were called the Rolling Stones!
If you’d like to hear a slice of the sound that failed to impress Dick Rowe on the fateful day he decided to pass on the greatest rock and roll band in history, check out this version of “Money,” which is allegedly an outtake from the rejected tapes.