Rejected Beatles audition tape appears at auction

Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:47pm EST
 

By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The Beatles audition tape rejected by a record label executive in arguably the biggest blunder in pop history has resurfaced and will go on sale at a London auction next week.

Ted Owen of The Fame Bureau, an auction house specializing in pop memorabilia, said the 10-song tape was recorded on New Year's Day, 1962, at label Decca's studios in north London.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best - who would later be replaced on drums by Ringo Starr - performed up to 15 songs at the session, 10 of which appear on the tape to be sold on November 27.

The band members had been driven from Liverpool to London the night before, and, despite getting lost on the way managed to get to the studios in time for the infamous session paid for by their manager Brian Epstein.

Decca's senior A&R (artists and repertoire) representative Dick Rowe, who later became known as "the man who turned down the Beatles", decided against signing them in favor of Brian Poole & The Tremeloes who also auditioned that day.

"Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein," he is widely quoted as saying.

Rowe did, however, sign the Rolling Stones, who went on to become one of the biggest acts in British rock, and experts dispute whether it was him or a more junior colleague who passed the Beatles over.

There are bootleg versions of the session in existence, but the "safety master", or back-up tape, on offer at auction is unique, Owen said.   Continued...

 
The Beatles' landmark 1966 LP ''Revolver,'' released the same month the band toured America for the last time, was crowned the greatest album of rock 'n' roll in a survey of musicians and critics released on January 4, 2001. The Beatles, shown in an undated photo, dominated the VH1 survey with a total of five albums.