Up for Auction: Biggest Mistake in Music History
Beatles' demo tape hitting the block
By Kate Seamons, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2012 8:41 AM CST
Updated Nov 25, 2012 12:55 PM CST
In this Aug. 13, 1965 file photo The Beatles, with John Lennon, George Harrison,Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, from left to right stand at the airport in London.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – It's been called one of the biggest mistakes in music history: The Beatles auditioned for record label Decca on New Year's Day 1962 ... and the label passed on the band, signing a group called the Tremeloes instead. Now the demo tape recorded during the band's audition has resurfaced, and will go up for auction in London on Tuesday. The AFP reports that bootlegs of the tape exist, but few people have actually heard the "crystal clear" original, which features 10 covers and is hitting the block at an asking price of $48,000.

Absent from the recording is Ringo Starr (Pete Best was the drummer at the time), and the recording features the band's original name: the "Silver Beatles." The group ultimately signed with EMI, while Decca went on to have the wisdom to nab one big group: the Rolling Stones.

More From Newser
My Take on This Story
To report an error on this story,
notify our editors.
Up for Auction: Biggest Mistake in Music History is...
Show results without voting
You Might Like
Showing 3 of 43 comments
Nov 28, 2012 1:08 AM CST
I have a cd that contains The Beatles Decca Audition tape in perfect sound quality and it has 15 songs on it which is the complete list of songs recorded that day. Where are the missing five songs? Also after hearing it I can say that the main reason they were not signed was that Pete (far from) Best had major problems with his timing. He was all over the place speeding up and slowing down the tempo and the other Beatles were forced to try and keep up with him and it made them sound sloppy. The best advice George Martin initially gave them was to replace Pete best after their EMI audition in June 1962.
Nov 26, 2012 4:13 PM CST
In 1962 the Tremeloes were a better band.
Nov 26, 2012 2:43 AM CST
First of all,this article is factually incorrect. These "tapes" have been released in their entirety on many budget line record labels in the past and not just "bootlegs" as the article states. In fact, Like Dreamers Do, Hello Little Girl, Three Cool Cats and possibly a few others were properly issued by The Beatles on Anthology One. 48k for what ? Do you get the legal right to issue and distribute copies of the tape ? I doubt it ! Honestly, it's not as if this tape is a mind blower with killer tracks. The tracks they cut in Germany (My Bonnie, Cry For A Shadow) for Polydor were of much better quality and had a rock and roll sound. On these tapes it is as if the Beatles wanted to showcase many styles without going too over the top. You get stuff like Three Cool Cats, Like Dreamers Do, Money, The Sheik Of Araby, Besame Mucho and to be honest for the Beatles, this stuff is lackluster and sometimes even downright cornball (such as The Sheik). Not like they came screaming out of the box with "I Saw Her Standing There, She Loves You or I Want To Hold Your Hand".. It's not that surprising that Decca turned them down based on that tape at that particualr time.Don't forget, The Beatles actually took three tries(four if you count My Bonnie) in America before poeple went nuts. They released "Please Please Me, From Me To You and She Loves You" before the big push with Capitol Records on "I Want To Hold Your Hand". All of those songs became hits after the release of IWTHYH but didn't do great numbers before the great promotion push by the record company and then of course the Ed Sullivan Show and the rest is history. Seems like just another attempt to scam a fat cat into buying a sows ear disguised as a silk purse. In fact, who is authenticating whether or not THIS tape is the actual FIRST GENERATION MASTER ? As Mr. Brady once said : "Caveat Emptor" LOL. A sucker is born every minute..