The Decca audition is the name given to the now-famous audition by The Beatles for Decca Records at their Decca Studios in West Hampstead, London, England, before they reached international stardom. Decca's decision to reject the group is considered to be one of the biggest mistakes in music history.
Manager Brian Epstein made numerous trips to London to visit record companies with the hope of securing a record contract, but was rejected by many, including Columbia, Pye, Philips, and Oriole.
The Beatles were driven down to London by Neil Aspinall on New Year's Eve in 1961, for a Decca audition, but Aspinall lost his way, and the trip took ten hours. They arrived at 10 o'clock at night, and John Lennon said that they arrived "just in time to see the drunks jumping in the Trafalgar Square fountain." On 1 January 1962, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best were auditioned by Decca producer Tony Meehan (ex-drummer of the Shadows) performing a total of fifteen songs in just under one hour. All the material was selected by Epstein, who decided on a selection of covers that the band had performed in various clubs over the years, interspersed with three Lennon/McCartney originals. The Beatles later found out that Epstein had paid Meehan to produce the studio recordings.
Eventually, Decca Records rejected The Beatles, saying that "guitar groups are on the way out", although it has since been suggested that their work that day did not yet reflect their true potential, and the "guitar" comment may have been intended as a polite let down.
Decca instead chose The Tremeloes, who auditioned the same day as The Beatles, were local and would require lower travel expenses.
The Beatles went on to sign with EMI subsidiary Parlophone, after their 'comedy album' producer George Martin heard the Decca demos and decided to meet the band. In 2007, Dr. Ebbetts Sound Systems released a CD version of The Decca Audition.
Source: Studio recording.
Sound Quality: Extremely good mp3 @320kbps.
Genre: The Beatles will do.
Set: Complete studio recording session
- "Like Dreamers Do" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Money (That's What I Want)" (Gordy/Bradford)
- "Till There Was You" (Meredith Wilson)
- "The Sheik of Araby" (Smith/Wheeler/Snyder)
- "To Know Her Is to Love Her" (Phil Spector)
- "Take Good Care of My Baby" (King/Goffin)
- "Memphis, Tennessee" (Chuck Berry)
- "Sure to Fall (In Love with You)" (Cantrell/Claunch/Perkins)
- "Hello Little Girl" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "Three Cool Cats" (Leiber/Stoller)
- "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" (Buddy Holly)
- "Love of the Loved" (Lennon/McCartney)
- "September in the Rain" (Warren/Dubin)
- "Bésame Mucho" (Consuelo Velázquez)
- "Searchin'" (Leiber/Stoller)
John Lennon: guitar, vocals, harmonica
Paul McCartney: bass, vocals
George Harrison: guitar, vocals
Pete Best: drums
Links: Official Site HERE.
Comments: I have sourced a reasonable amount of the information regarding this recording from Wikipedia, and although these recordings have been in circulation for decades, with some 'semi official' releases of the material often minus the Lennon/McCartney material, this is by far the best audio copy of the sessions I have heard, and is complete.
Some of the sessions were also released as a series of bootleg 'promo' singles on coloured vinyl back in 1976, along with full colour picture sleeves on 'Deccagone records'.
Reloaded - 29/May/2015 - download link in comments.