The Beatles ‎– 1962 The Audition Tapes

Label:
Breakaway ‎– BWY 72
Format:
Vinyl, LP
Country:
Released:
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Tracklist

A1 Three Cool Cats
A2 Crying, Waiting, Hoping
A3 Besame Mucho
A4 Searchin'
A5 The Sheik Of Araby
A6 Money (That's What I Want)
B1 To Know Him Is To Love Him
B2 Take Good Care Of My Baby
B3 Memphis, Tennessee
B4 Sure To Fall (In Love With You)
B5 'Till There Was You
B6 September In The Rain

Companies, etc.

Credits

Notes

Distributed by State 1 Records 2 Kings Road Haslemere, Surrey, England Tel: Haslemere 4001

Made in England 1983 Breakaway Productions Ltd 1983 Breakaway Productions Ltd

Licensed from Ultra Sound Inc.
Design & Artwork Hudson McCleeve

Other Versions (5 of 47) View All

Cat# Artist Title (Format) Label Cat# Country Year
AR 30003, AR 30 003 Silver Beatles* Silver Beatles(LP) All Round Trading, All Round Trading AR 30003, AR 30 003 Denmark 1982 Sell This Version
MDCD 005 The Silver Beatles* The Complete Decca Audition (CD, Unofficial, Ltd, Num) Masterdisc (5) MDCD 005 Japan 1994 Sell This Version
AFELP 1047 The Beatles The Complete Silver Beatles(LP, Unofficial) AFE AFELP 1047 UK 1982 Sell This Version
ORC 12880 The Beatles The Silver Beatles(CD, Unofficial) Not On Label (The Beatles) ORC 12880 Unknown Sell This Version
SOSLP 077 The Beatles The Complete Silver Beatles(LP) SOS Recording SOSLP 077 Sweden Unknown Sell This Version

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William-Lee

William-Lee

December 10, 2012
Liner Notes

The story is a familiar one even today, 20 years AB (After the Beatles). An aspiring, hardup pop group from a musically unfashionable English province trying to make the big time. An audition for a major record company. Brash over-confidence in the group's van travelling down to London. Nervous, uneasy conversation with the important A&R man. Heart flutter at the sight of the red light.

The fastidious after session self-questioning during the long journey home and the seemingly unending wait until news of the dreaded rejection arrives.

With a few rare exceptions, all musicians, be they solo artists, instrumentalists or groups, have at some time gone through this agonizing procedure. The Beatles, a group destined to change the entire course of popular music, whose members influenced (perhaps unwittingly) virtually every aspect of an entire generation, were not one the exceptions.

Early in November 1961 Brian Epstein, the dapper manager of NEMS, a prosperous record store in Liverpool's city centre, had become aware of the Beatles, a local beat combo who regularly played in a nearby club called the Cavern.

Epstein paid a visit to one of the group's lunchtime sessions and was so captivated by what he saw that within a few days he arranged a private meeting and offered to manage them. They were sceptical, and sensing that he needed to pull off a major coup to seal their final approval, Brian promised to use his power as a major North-West record retailer to secure them a recording contract. Word soon found its way to the head of A&R (artists and Repertoire) at Decca in London, that an important company client had a group to audition and, within the week, his young assistant was despatched to the Cavern to see the Beatles in their natural surroundings. Although impressed with their live performance he wanted to see how the group would react in the confines of a recording studio before offering the prized contract.

So it was that on New Year' Eve 1961, the Beatles - John, Paul, George and luckless drummer Pete Best, later to be controversially ousted in favour of Ringo Starr on the eve of the group's success - travelled down from Liverpool to London in an old beat up van, battling against driving snowstorms which caused them to lose their way near Wolverhampton. Their destination: an audition for the mighty Decca organisation, and the big time.

At 11am the next morning, an icy New Year's Day, the Beatles and Brian Epstein, who had journeyed to London to see his boys first step up the ladder to success, arrived at Decca's cold West Hampstead studios and waited.

Back home the Beatles were renowned for their raucous stage act and their relentless pursuit to be different from other local groups. This attitude was perfectly reflected in their musical repertoire, where they would perversely sandwich eccentric rocked up arrangements of old standards like Moonglow, Besame Mucho, Beautiful Dreamer, The Sheik Of Araby and even Falling In Love Again between the staple diet of Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry and Little Richard numbers.

Brian Epstein persuaded the Beatles that they should present to Decca a well balanced MOR selection, equally spotlighting their talent for performing unusual standards, rock, and their own compositions.

Twelve of the tracks nervously laid down that fateful day at Decca are included on this album. A slice of rock'n'roll history, miraculously preserved like a time capsule for over twenty years. Only two of the songs were later recorded for EMO release, John's unusually timid vocal treatment of Barret Strong's 1960 Tamla Motown hit Money (That's What I Want) and Paul's wistful rendition of Till There Was You from the 1957 stage musical The Music Man, which had also been an American top thirty hit for Anita Bryant in 1960.

The remaining ten tracks presented here include two more very apprehensive John Lennon lead vocals: To Know Her Is To Love Her, a 1958 hit for the all-girl group the Teddy Bears (with her's substituted for him's), written by Phil Spector, and an over-reverent version of Chuck Berry's brilliant Memphis, Tennessee. A nervous but little more self-assured Paul; McCartney handles the lead on Besame Mucho, originally a 1943 crooner by Jimmy Dorsey but, more importantly for the Beatles, also a 1960 recording by the Coasters. Paul also takes lead vocals on another Coasters song, the Lieber-Stoller composition Searchin' from 1957; Sure To Fall (In Love With You), a country and western song written and first recorded by Carl Perkins, an idol and enormous influence on the Beatles; and a melodic version of September In The Rain, written by noted film tunesmiths Harry Warren and Al Dubin for the 1937 movie Melody For Two. American jazz singer Dinah Washington had a version of the song in the UK charts in late-1961, no doubt prompting the Beatles cover.

Years after the Beatles split in 1970, George Harrison bemoaned the minor role assigned to him by John and Paul for his own contribution to the group's success. Yet in their formative years he played a key part in their make-up, if not by writing his own material like Lennon and McCartney, then by singing the lead vocals on a good deal of their stage repertoire. Such was the case at the Decca audition where his young, wavering voice (George was not yet 19) was prominent on four songs: Three Cool Cats, another 1959 Coasters song from the prolific pens of Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller, performed with great gusto and exuberance by the Beatles; Crying, Waiting, Hoping, an obscure Buddy Holly B-side from 1959; The Sheik Of Araby, another Beatles crowd pleaser (not arf!) Originally written for the 1940 movie Tin Pan Alley; and Take Good Care Of My Baby, a number one hit on both sides of the Atlantic for Bobby Vee in 1961, written by husband and wife team Gerry Goffin and Carole King, songwriters of great stature in the early sixties.

As is now history, Decca passed up their golden opportunity to sign the Beatles in favour of Brian Poole and The Tremeloes, who hailed from nearby Dagenham in Essex. They weren't the only record company with eggs on their faces within twelve months. The Beatles were also rejected by many other record companies in early 1962, including EMI subsidiaries HMV and Columbia. So they were in good, if not rich, company.

Brian Epstein made one last desperate attempt to persuade Decca to sign the Beatles. In March 1962 he travelled alone to London to plead with the company's hierarchy. Their blunt retort was that guitar groups were on the way out. Epstein walked out in a furious rage grandly proclaiming, as did every manager of the time, that his group would one day be bigger than Elvis Presley...

-- MARK LEWISOHN

Writer/researcher MARK LEWISOHN is the author of Here There and Everywhere: The Beatles on Stage, to be published in 1984. He also has his own regular columns in various Beatles fan magazines, and has assisted a great many authors, newspapers and periodicals, radio and television stations, with his specialist knowledge.