Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Beatles Decca Audtion

 "I hope he kicks himself to death!" -John Lennon


New Years Eve 1961 The Beatles; featuring John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Pete Best, and their road manager and friend Neil Aspinall were driving from Liverpool to London (getting lost in the midlands) in hopes to pass an audition with Decca records on the following day (1 January, 1962).




"Brian put in a lot of time getting us off the ground. He believed in us from the start."- George Harrison

The idea of the audition came across when Beatles manager, Brian Epstein met with Mike Smith, from Decca, who had seen The Beatles preform at The Cavern Club on 13 December, 1961.

"...We were all excited: it was Decca. He'd met this Mike Smith guy and we were to go down there. So we went down and we did all these numbers; terrified and nervous, you can heart it...we virtually recorded our Cavern stage show, with a few omissions- around twenty songs."- John Lennon
The Beatles arrived for their first time in London on New Years Day and headed to Decca studios where they set up their amps and started recording their demo. The group preformed fifteen songs at this audition (three of their originals, which are in bold)  and what is the believed set list is as followed;
(L-R) George Harrison, Pete Best, Paul McCartney, John Lennon
  •  Like Dreamers Do
  • Money (That's What I Want)
  • Till There Was You
  • The Sheik of Araby
  • To Know Her Is to Love Her
  • Take Good Care of My Baby
  • Memphis, Tennessee
  • Sure To Fall (In Love With You)
  • Hello Little Girl
  • Three Cool Cats
  • Crying, Waiting, Hoping
  • Love Of  The Loved
  • September in The Rain
  • Besame Mucho
  • Searchin'
 They each picked numbers that they wanted to preform, George for example was a fan of Joe Brown and sang Brown's rock 'n' roll version of "The Sheik of Araby". Paul choose to sing "September Rain".

The audition lasted a few hours and the group found themselves broke and looking for a place to go. Neil Aspinall remembers it as,

"... We went to Shaftesbury Avenue and around there; amazing things to buy. The bootshop Anello and Davide was on one corner, then Cecil Gee, the clothes store. We went into a club up by St. Giles Circus. We didn't stay long because it was boring. Some of the women had an after-eight shadow. We were starving and went into a restaurant. All that we could afford was the soup so they threw us out and we went into Soho and got something there. London was all very exciting and new."
 While waiting to hear from Decca the band found themselves in Anello and Davide's bootshop which created what later became known as 'Beatles Boots'.
 "We went back and we waited and waited, and then found out that they hadn't accepted it; we really thought that was it then, that was the end."- John Lennon
Brian Epstein
 Decca decided to pick another group, Brian Poole and the Tremeoloes. Paul McCartney does now admit that he can see why they didn't get in. Saying that when he listens to the tape now they weren't good but they did play interesting and original things. John Lennon on the other hand says that he wouldn't of turned The Beatles down. Saying that many people weren't playing like they were playing and that the record was OK, it was just a demo and they weren't trying to be all polished. He wanted Decca to recognize their potential and that they should of been accepted.
"As for Deccas response, we didn't hear anything for ages, though Brian kept bugging them to find out; and in the end they turned us down, the funny thing is that it was by someone from one of those 'Dum de dum' bands, Tony Meehan, a drummer who had become big-time as the A&R man for Decca. there's a famous story that Brian Epstein was trying to get him to say whether he liked us, whether we'd got the job or not. He replied, ' I'm a busy many, Mr. Epstein,' and he was just a kid."- George Harrison
Dick Rowe, head of Decca recalls the experience as,
"I told Mike he'd have to decide between them. It was up to him - The Beatles or Brian Poole and the Tremeoloes. He said, 'They're both good, but one's a local group, the other comes from Liverpool.' We decided it was better to take the local group. We could work with them more easily and stay closer in touch as they came from Dagenham."
It's even said that Brian didn't take the rejection easy, he kept trying and making trips to talk to Decca, even saying he'd by 3,000 copies if they produced a Beatles record. David Rowe says he never heard that offer and if he did he would of considered the offer and maybe The Beatles would of recorded with Decca. Decca did however sign The Rolling Stones in George Harrison's recommendation.

"'It's too bluesy,' or 'It's too much like rock 'n' roll and that's all over now', they used to keep telling us. Even in Hamburg when we audition for these German companies they would tell us. Even in Hamburg when we auditioned for these stuff, because they all thought rock was dead; but they were wrong." -John Lennon

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