The much-maligned Decca Records will forever be known in the annals of rock history as the label that rejected the Beatles — an epic, billion-dollar blunder considered by many to be one of history’s greatest commercial missteps.
And sure, opting for Brian Poole and the Tremeloes ahead of the Fab Four sounds like a gargantuan mistake, but just because hindsight is 20/20, that doesn’t mean that it has good ears. Because if you look closely — and really listen — to a day in the life of the world’s biggest band, you may just decide that it was the Beatles, as much as any Decca exec, who blew their big chance that day.To say the the Liverpudlian band was at a key juncture in late 1961 is an understatement: In the six weeks leading up to their audition at Decca, the Beatles’ somewhat inert fortunes had been handed over to a one-man career accelerator in the form of new manager Brian Epstein. The original Fab Four (Pete Best, not Ringo Starr, was still on drums) had spent much of the past year building up their 10,000 hours by running the gauntlet of the Hamburg club scene. The band that returned from Germany and that Epstein, a local record store owner in Liverpool, first witnessed in November 1961 was a well-oiled rock ‘n’ roll machine.
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