Beatles audition for George Martin
It is hard to believe now, but The Beatles had been turned down by several major labels before they auditioned for EMI at Abbey Road Studios on June 6 1962. Most famously Decca, who had them in to do a prolonged set on January 1 that year decided that Dagenham ’s finest The Tremeloes were a better bet.
The band had just returned from gigging in Hamburg, where their equipment and instruments had been knocked about, scuffed, and hammered. The four musicians ( Lennon , McCartney , Harrison and Pete Best still at this stage) were not exactly as rather patrician EMI expected either: long-haired, dressed in leather jackets, and with unashamedly thick Liverpool accents, something of a contrast to ex-RAF officer and classically trained George Martin who had organised the audition (in fact he had agreed what amounted to a pre-contract with Brian Epstein a month or so earlier, but it meant nothing until he put his name to it).
For the 7pm audition Martin left the band with Norman Smith and Ron Richards, the former having to sort out a makeshift amp when one brought by the band went phut.
The pre-Fab Four, as it were, played three songs to get things going: Besame Mucho , Will You Love Me Tomorrow, and Open (Your Lovin’ Arms), before recording four songs chosen by Richards.
George Martin thought their own material was weak and that they had not future as song writers, told them off for their scruffy gear, and let them know what was expected of EMI signings. When he asked them if they didn’t like anything George said: “I don’t like your tie!” The ice was broken, the band (except Best who stayed silent) joked and laughed, Martin and Smith were won over, and they were signed, though the writing was soon on the wall for Best. Interestingly Martin, used to the way things had been done until then, was confused to find no leader among them, searching for a focus to the band until he saw them on stage at The Cavern later.
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