Monday, January 7, 2013

Connecting Two Bands of Merry Men

January, 1963
Dick James back in the day

It's time for another important behind the scenes character to enter the story.  In those far off days, songs after being written were given to a "publisher" whose role was to find a suitable artist to record it and then to promote (plug) the record.  The Beatles first song, "Love Me Do", was published by an arm of  the EMI recording empire and Brian Epstein had not been overwhelmed by their efforts in its behalf.  When he made his dissatisfaction known to George Martin, Mr Martin made some suggestions for alternatives.  One of those alternatives was Dick James.

George Martin had met Dick James in 1958 when Dick was a performer and had made a recording with him to be the theme music for a British TV serial, The Adventures of Robin Hood.  (In the US, we saw the show in syndication, so you may remember the song.  It's very corny, but hey, this was the '50s.)

By now, tired of the endless peregrinations required of a professional singer, Dick has turned his hand to music publishing.  And that is how he comes to meet with Brian and how he comes to hear a demo of "Please, Please Me".  He immediately understands the enormous potential of this song by a relatively unknown group and enthusiastically offers to publish it.  Brian is impressed with his attitude and agrees that if Mr James can make this song number one on the UK charts, he will become the Beatles music publisher.  Dick calls a friend who books talent for a teenager focused TV show called "Thank Your Lucky Stars", and convinces him to book an appearance of the group.  On such friendly foundations, fortunes are built.

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