A bunch of questions about the Beatles Decca audition

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chris M, Aug 12, 2007.

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  1. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Does anyone know what source Apple used for the Decca tracks? Did they have a tape source or did they work from a bootleg CD? If they had a tape source does anyone think they have the master or just a dub? Anyone have an idea as to why the Decca audition wasn't exploited in the 60's like the Tony Sheridan material? It seems strange that this material didn't surface until the 1977 or so.

    When Brian approached EMI initially did he play them the Decca material or was there some other tape?

    Thanks!
     
  2. paolo

    paolo Forum Resident

    The version on Anthology is probably a digital dub of the master which is still held by Decca (Universal). As far as I can remember, Decca actually tried to release the demo many years later but was blocked from doing so by legal proceedings brought about by Apple.
     
  3. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Wow. So Decca still has the master tape after all these years? I don't mean to doubt you but are you certain that that is the case? If so I wonder if there is any alternate takes, chatter, etc on the master tape..
     
  4. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Can you imagine, band is rejected outright, told "NO COMERCIAL POTENTIAL at this time with these tracks". Then a couple of light years away and they (Decca) are trying to issue those tracks for all their worth.

    I did not hear of this, but it sounds right sure. I'd believe anything at this point.
     
  5. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident

    Brian Epstein had the original tapes in 1960 I believe, but what became of them? Are their whereabouts known? Not sure the legal issues were ever resolved over those copies, and I've heard that most sources have used Bootlegs.

    How did Apple claim ownership of the DECCA tapes btw..... Was it because they were in Epstein's possession?
     
  6. paolo

    paolo Forum Resident

    [Edited due to dodgy memory]

    A hazy memory seems to recall that Decca or Polygram or whomever coughed up the tapes as part of the settlement. For some reason I had originally thought that the copyright was still held by Decca and that Apple had licensed it. I must have been thinking about the Tony Sheridan stuff.

    Apologies for any garden path leading :)

    Blocking a commercial release of material done as part of a recording test has been done many times. I think Bruce Springsteen also managed to do this at some point in the past....
     
  7. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Apple either bought those rights way back, or licensed the material for a 25 year run.
     
  8. Solaris

    Solaris a bullet in flight

    Location:
    New Orleans, LA
    The actual tape went missing from Decca somewhere in the mid-sixties from what a couple of Decca engineers of the time told me. Epstein played George Martin a couple of the acetates he had made from the tape.

    Dick Rowe apparently used to tell people to go listen to the tape after The Beatles got famous. It was a pretty well-known story around the studio.
     
  9. PhilCohen

    PhilCohen Forum Resident

    As for whether there were any outtakes from the Decca Tapes,I met Pete Best at a "Beatles Expo" in Miami in the early 1980's,and asked him whether anything further was recorded.His answer was "No".I got the same answer when I asked whether the song selection in the Decca Tapes was typical of the group's stage repertoire at the time.
     
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  10. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    I notice a couple of things about the Decca tracks on "Anthology 1" as opposed to "unauthorized" sources: (1) The songs tend to have longer fades, and (2) the sound quality is significantly improved. Now who had them all those years, I have no idea...I seem to recall "Love Of The Loved" slipping out on some bootleg in the early 1970s, long before the rest. As far as legal business with Epstein, I remember reading that about the Star Club tapes, but not Decca. (BTW, if I am correct, Universal would not be involved, because the US Decca and UK Decca were completely unrelated companies at the time.)

    Somewhere, I have a 3-LP box set called "The Beatles Historic Sessions," which combines 12 of the Decca tracks (the non-Lennon/McCartney songs) and 30 songs from the Star Club tapes. It has an artist's rendering of the "shadow" photo from "With The Beatles" / "Meet The Beatles" on the cover.

    I find it curious that Decca would have held on to an unused audition tape (1/1/62), but not EMI (6/6/62).
     
  11. action pact

    action pact Music Omnivore

    I know that Epstein had a tape of the audition in his possession because he used it to try and get interest from other labels. Perhaps he purchased the master outright from Decca after the rejection? That would explain Apple's tape source.
     
  12. posieflump

    posieflump New Member

    Location:
    .
    Brian Masters, a former engineer at Decca, once told me that while Decca had no policy for holding onto audition recordings, the engineer who recorded them at the time had retained 7.5ips copies of both auditions, which he would gleefully play to anybody who would listen to show exactly why the Tremeloes were selected over the Beatles. I remember him telling me that Decca could have released any of the Tremeloes' performances from that day, whereas as the Anthology proves, the Beatles' performance was decidedly amateurish.

    The Decca staff were still gossiping at the end of the sixties about how Paul McCartney turned up with an electrically unsafe amp, and how Lennon saw no problem in openly arguing with Brian Epstein. Best was morose, leaving George Harrison to shine as the star of the group. With that in mind, I'd have been glad to have seen them back on their way to Liverpool regardless of their music!

    The Tremeloes tape was last heard of in the custody of Gus Dudgeon, who died a few years ago. It's possible that Dudgeon was the engineer on the session.

    One final thing - according to an internal memo reprinted in Lewisohn, Epstein played the Polydor recordings to EMI ("a bad copy of The Shadows" is how "Cry For A Shadow" is described). However, Lewisohn goes on to imply that Epstein was having the Decca recordings, which Epstein had bought, cut onto acetates that fateful day on Oxford Street.
     
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  13. crimsoncing

    crimsoncing New Member

    Location:
    virginia beach
    Having listened to the tapes since the late 70's, I think if Decca had released the tapes as it, it would have killed the Beatles as a comercial group. I always wondered if DECCA had signed them, how much difference in sound they would have without George Martin at the helm and if they would have last beyond a few singles and a LP.
     
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  14. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Brian Epstein, after being informed that Decca would not sign the Beatles, asked for the tape, since Decca would have no use for it without the artists being signed to a contract. It's not clear if he obtained the session tape, or a copy, but he did have a ten-inch reel of the audition, and it probably was the original. What I heard from a reliable source (a bootlegger) was that one of Brian's assistants ended up with that tape after Brian died and before his brother Clive took over his business affairs. This assistant (you know his name, look up the number) did make at least two ten-inch reel copies for an unknown sum of money for several "elite" collectors, one of whom lived in the NY area. The late Joe Pope, who ran the Beatles fan club "Strawberry Fields Forever" from his store in Boston, started pressing them up two songs at a time, as colored-vinyl singles in 1977, sourced from that copy.
     
  15. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Thanks for all the responses guys. So I take it the Decca stuff in circulation and on Anthology is from a copy tape and not the master?
     
  16. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    The Deccagone colored vinyl 45 singles with picture sleeves. Made a splash on the scene for a while. I had a couple and traded them off at lunch time in High School.
     
  17. Chris M

    Chris M Senior Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baton Rouge, LA
    Speaking of the Deccagone 45's someone posted on another site recently that some of the tracks on those 45's have longer fades including short bits of studio chatter not heard on the well known bootleg CD's..
     
  18. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Might be as it appeared on a Italian release. It appeared in stores right there in the new releases section in 1983. Ok, not exactly in the front new releases, but there in the sale bins. I bought one (for $8.99) and saw copies of the set go for $75.00 and up in the late 80s to mid 90s. Perhaps the LP set has fallen in price as CD versions got more common. It has the Hamburg double, with the Decca tracks (12 tracks) on sides five & six.

    I never made it through the Decca audition as it appears on my legal (in Italy) box set issue. I'll give it an "audition" later.
     
  19. Greatest Hits

    Greatest Hits Just Another Compilation

    The thing that bothers me about the audition are the fades. I wonder if the master reel just has cold endings as opposed to fades. The entire session was recorded live with no overdubs and in mono.

    It's a possibility that most boots that circulate are actually using copies of the masters used to make the colored vinyl (with fades) and that Apple used the master copy (without fades) and added their own fades. Am I making any sense?

    I think the Decca audition has some really great stuff on it. You can hear the excitement. And George really shines.
     
  20. MarkTheShark

    MarkTheShark Forum Resident

    ...and John Lennon would still be alive.
     
  21. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    He would have made it as a rocker even without the Beatles. He'd have hooked up with Georgie Fame and charted some tunes before joining the DC5.:D :winkgrin: :D :winkgrin: :D
     
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  22. Lord Hawthorne

    Lord Hawthorne Currently Untitled

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    I'm pretty sure that the original reel was procured from the former Epstein aide for Anthology for whatever price they agreed on.
     
  23. Tone

    Tone Forum Resident

    Any concensus on what are the best sounding editions of these sessions?
    I know these are some of the previous releases....... Are the Anthology cuts superior?


    LP: DAWN OF THE SILVER BEATLES (PAC/April 16, 1981)

    LP: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE (PAC/April 16, 1981)

    LP: LIKE DREAMERS DO (Backstage/May 1982) Also contains Pete Best Interview

    LP: THE COMPLETE SILVER BEATLES (Audio Rarities/September 27, 1982)

    LP: THE SILVER BEATLES (Audio Rarities/November 1982)

    CD: THE SILVER BEATLES (Teichiku/Spring 1988)

    CD: RAW ENERGY (Romance/Spring 1988)
     
  24. Derek Gee

    Derek Gee Senior Member

    Location:
    Detroit
    I've asked that question twice of Mr. Best, and the first time I got the same answer as you did. On the second occasion though, after I told him the names of the reported numbers (Red Sails in the Sunset, Please Mr. Postman), he told me they were played at the session as warm-ups for the band, but not recorded.

    Derek
     
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  25. badfingerjoe

    badfingerjoe Senior Member

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Lord Hawthorne's got the info on this story ... his information on Joe Pope is correct..those original pressings of the Deccagone 45's are great....and I say original because there are plenty of copies(pirates of the originals..if that's possible) out there of those 45's....the print and colors of the vinyl as well as the labels are all different from the original copies mailed out to members of the SFF fan club run by Joe Pope. Also there was an album on Circuit Records (LK 4438-1)that used these as it's source and it also has very good quality recordings of these tracks. This album had all 15 tracks..including for the first time "Take Good Care Of My Baby" which was not part of Deccagones original 7 singles. I always wondered how many of these were pressed by SFF.. I hav'nt played these in a long time...
    I think I might be going back and give these another listen.

    JF
     
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