Having returned from Hamburg Germany, taken over the Liverpool music scene, and secured a manager, the next (and obvious) step for the Beatles was to get a recording contract. Brian Epstein began shopping the Beatles for a record deal and got them an audition with Decca Records in London. The audition took place this day 47 years ago.
The Beatles, in an hour, ran through a 15 song set (12 covers, 3 Lennon-McCartney originals), recorded in this order:
- “Like Dreamers Do” (Lennon/McCartney)
- “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” (Lennon-McCartney)
- “Three Cool Cats“
- “Crying, Waiting, Hoping“
- “Love of the Loved” (Lennon-McCartney)
- “September in the Rain“
- “Bésame Mucho“
At that time, Pete Best was the drummer. Ringo wasn’t to join the band for at least another 6 months or so.
The audition was quite good. The full version of it exists and can be found on CD. My copy is about 20 years old and is called Raw Energy. Some of the audition turned up on the Beatles Anthology 1. It really captured the Beatles as they might have sounded in the clubs and dance halls.
Famously, Decca Records executive, Dick Rowe, turned down the Beatles telling Brian Epstein that “guitar groups are on the way out.” Decca signed Brian Poole and the Tremeloes in the Beatles’ place. As laughable as that all seems now, Decca did make up for it by signing (at George Harrison’s urging) the Rolling Stones.
Had the Beatles signed with Decca everything about their careers would’ve been different. As fate were to have it, the Beatles signed with EMI, a class-act record company, and had the benefit of recording with a fantastic musical mind, George Martin. Decca’s loss was really everyone else’s gain.