Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Busy Brian

December 13, 1961

Even though Brian Epstein hasn't yet formalized a relationship with the Beatles, he has been working on getting them a recording contract.  (We have to assume he had decided to sign them, against Allen William's advice to "not touch them with a barge pole").  Brian uses his considerable clout as an important record retailer to contact Tony Barrow, who writes a column in the Liverpool Echo newspaper and also coincidentally holds a position writing sleeve notes for Decca Records in London.  Mr Barrow sees the wisdom in giving one of Decca's bigger customers the benefit of  the doubt concerning this "wild hair" band of his.  He arranges with Dick Rowe, head of Decca A and R, to send an assistant, named Mike Smith, up to Liverpool to listen to the band in the their home club, the Cavern.  His arrival causes quite a stir in the club  It is a feather in Brian Epstein's cap and no doubt impresses the Beatles in a big way.  But this is the beginning of THE biggest missed opportunity in the history of show business.

In a parallel development, Motown Records, the Detroit label, achieves it's first number one hit in the USA.  The song is "Please Mr Postman" by the Marvelettes and will be covered by the Beatles. (Just listen to those backing vocals.)  A major source of inspiration for the Beatles is developing fast.

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