THE BEATLES The Decca Audition (1962)

The Decca Audition (1962)
Nah… We’ll Go With The Tremoloes

These recordings, as innocent as they are, continue to pillage the reputation of Decca Records, who – after listening to this 35 minute audition tape from January 1st, 1962 – decided to pass on the most important beat group in history. Somewhere there are aged Decca board members (and their offspring) still waking up in cold sweats over this single, administrative decision. To be fair… you can’t really blame Decca. While well-recorded, this amateurish set of live-in-the-studio 50s chestnuts was hardly a slam dunk. Even Lennon & McCartney’s three original compositions (“Like Dreamers Do,” “Love Of The Loved” and “Hello Little Girl”) were all abandoned by the time The Beatles first entered Abbey Road studios with George Martin, just 6 months later. Still, it was Martin who heard what he was hearing and wisely signed The Beatles to EMI, unknowingly changing the world in the process. So, light a candle to George Martin’s living memory and raise a glass of bitter ale to his inexplicable foresight, because all our lives changed because of it. Note McCartney on the cover, already working on his look for future press photos. Pete Best mans the drum chair.

Like Dreamers Do (2:38)
Money (That’s What I Want) (2:26)
Till There Was You (3:02)
The Sheik Of Araby (1:44)
To Know Her Is To Love Her (2:38)
Take Good Care Of My Baby (2:30)
Memphis, Tennessee (2:23)
Sure To Fall (In Love With You) (2:05)
Hello Little Girl (1:42)
Three Cool Cats (2:27)
Crying, Waiting, Hoping (2:05)
Love Of The Loved (1:54)
September In The Rain (1:57)
Besame Mucho (2:42)
Searchin (3:07)



  • Tiptop
    March 18, 2010 - 20:26 | Permalink

    Thanks for this, Willard. I had a beat-up cassette of these demos back in the 80s, and hadn't heard them since, except for the ones that ended up on the Anthology.

    Although you can see the seeds of the greatness to come, you can't really blame Decca for saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."

    I always found it interesting that George took so many lead vocal duties on these demos (the same amount as John, actually), and Paul got the majority.

    I think in some ways George's vocals are more assured than much of his later stuff, especially on "Three Cool Cats," which to me is the class recording of this lot.

    Thanks again. Fantastic blog. And raise a glass to Alex Chilton.

  • Anonymous
    March 18, 2010 - 21:36 | Permalink

    Thanks for this rare gem Capt. :>)

  • Pete
    March 18, 2010 - 23:34 | Permalink

    George was also the one who cracked up George Martin when he asked if there was anything they didn't like by saying "I don't like your tie" — he does seem less intimidated than the others. As the youngest (only 18 when this was taped), he probably wouldn't have survived in the band without being cocky, as well as being able to play "Raunchy." I think I only had this on vinyl, so thanks Willard!

  • Anonymous
    March 19, 2010 - 01:16 | Permalink

    They had a hurried session to record these–they didn't really get a chance to submit a finely honed audition tape, but that was then. It would be interesting to hear who else they were auditioning back then and why, if 'groups with guitars are on the way out', they were auditioned in the first place. They did okay with the Stones after that. I'd like to see what Dick Rowe's tombstone looks like.

  • Capt. Willard
    March 19, 2010 - 03:12 | Permalink

    Decca went with The Tremoloes. Maybe they were smelling surf coming.

  • Art Ducko
    March 19, 2010 - 08:15 | Permalink

    Still love to hear this stuff. It always fascinates me to hear how these guys sounded early in their career. You can imagine what it would have been like to see them perform in Hamburg. The Goonish exclamations on "Sheik of Araby" probably helped to catch George Martin's attention. Harrison's take on "Three Cool Cats" has also long been a favorite of mine. You can tell what these guys would become in just a short period of time. There's the cheekiness, the schmaltz, & the love of classic oldies just waiting to gel into the legend. All they needed was the magic ingredient of Ringo and the story really begins…

  • Anonymous
    March 19, 2010 - 13:47 | Permalink

    Beatlegeek question: Is this post the 'new and improved pitch-corrected' dealio or the classic we all know and love. Thanks Captain.

  • mister mark
    March 19, 2010 - 21:44 | Permalink

    such a terrible audition, i can't hear a single glimpse of what was to come. perhaps i have dull ears. either way, i don't blame decca one little bit for not signing them on the strength of this awful tape. oh, but thank you for sharing it though willard and the first three cds of the john lennon stuff in the post above is just plain perfection. ahhh….

  • Capt. Willard
    March 19, 2010 - 22:25 | Permalink

    jrs, this is supposed to be an upgraded 2007 release. Pitch corrected? I don't know. It's spiffier than the old bootleg 45s I had, though.

  • Anonymous
    March 20, 2010 - 02:32 | Permalink

    Thanks. Looks like what you've got here is the Dr. Ebbetts version which is way cool. The actual needle-drop recordings of the Deccagone 45s except for 'Take Good Care Of My Baby'. A huge upgrade from previous 'New Years Eve' releases and a huge 'thank you' for this.

  • Loren
    March 22, 2010 - 01:06 | Permalink

    Thanks Capt.

  • jorge ivo
    March 22, 2010 - 22:47 | Permalink

    Otima coletanea de John Lennon. mais uma vez meus sinceros agradecimentos por mais esta excelente postagem,
    Um grande abraço.

  • Capt. Willard
    March 22, 2010 - 22:55 | Permalink

    Muito obrigado

  • Anonymous
    November 9, 2010 - 01:10 | Permalink

    Captain Willard, Sir!

    I just discovered your blog thanks to the link you left in a comment on the Hound's site, but I don't really understand the divShare password thing. Any clues for dummies like me? I guess the link is dead to the Decca Auditions, but I'd certainly be grateful for the one song. Thanks.

  • Capt. Willard
    November 9, 2010 - 01:19 | Permalink

    Thanks, I need to add this to the bullet points. We don't allow divShare downloads. We have limited space and downloads chew up the time we need for the players. When we run out of download/play time, the players shut down til the end of the month.

  • Anonymous
    November 9, 2010 - 01:25 | Permalink

    Thanks for responding so quickly, Captain Willard, about the divShare question.

  • Anonymous
    February 11, 2011 - 16:31 | Permalink

    Hello Captain Willard,

    Is there any possibility that you might consider at some point re-uploading the link to the Audition Tapes? I know it's very cheeky to ask in light of all of the work that you do here, so I'll certainly understand if the answer is a resounding NO.

    Thanks very much for your blog.

  • Anonymous
    February 11, 2011 - 16:32 | Permalink

    Sorry, Captain Willard. I didn't scroll down far enough. Thanks a million.

  • W
    February 11, 2011 - 17:44 | Permalink

    Find it HERE.

  • dreadbagel
    February 12, 2011 - 19:45 | Permalink

    Listening to The Beatles with Pete Best on drums is like watching The Three Stooges with Shemp!

  • W
    February 12, 2011 - 19:47 | Permalink

    If that's a Shemp knock, you're in the wrong place.

  • dreadbagel
    February 12, 2011 - 22:27 | Permalink

    Not at all, W.

    I just meant to say that although Pete was an aduquate drummer, Ringo brought an extra something that makes the music swing so much more.

    No knock on old Shemp, after all he was Moe & Curly's brother and in fact was a Stooge before Curly, as I'm sure you know, it's just that, IMHO, the act was so much better with Curly on the team.

    With Shemp or Curly, the Stooges were certainly "Three Cool Cats!"

    Boruch Ha Shemp! :)

  • W
    February 12, 2011 - 22:36 | Permalink

    We’re cool… It’s OK to dump on Pete Best (or not at all). Just be careful… this is a Shemp-friendly blog. Thanks for stopping by.

  • John Haines
    July 9, 2011 - 09:49 | Permalink

    Hello there, just thought I’d add a few thoughts to this. What has plagued this bootleg for seemingly ions, is the copy on copy on cop scenario, thus making it seem 10 million times worse than what it actually is. I know what duff / crap / mediocre music is, whether from among the bland 50s Bobby Sox guff or Jedward now. This aint in either bracket. Get a good copy, the one reviewed here is fine, and I am 110% sure you’ll enjoy every track, as shaky as some may be, but not that shaky. Money is great, Love of the Loved is great, to hell with it, they’re all great. Even Pete makes us all feel guilty about aspersions made on his skills on the skins. It’s great, stuff those who say it isn’t.

  • July 9, 2011 - 09:56 | Permalink

    Thanks, John. You didn’t read any bad words about Pete here. Is there a version of these tapes that are considered “the best?” How does it compare to this one, and do you have one to share?

  • March 25, 2012 - 13:17 | Permalink

    I was reading Bob Spitz’s beatles biography (finally) and I said to myself, “I’d like to hear that Decca tape. I wonder where I can get a copy. I’ll bet Willard’s got it posted.” Sometimes it’s good to be right.

  • Visions
    March 26, 2014 - 20:11 | Permalink

    The Star Club tapes have been remastered, W. Look here:

    Better sample here:

    Damn but I think they do sound better.

    • Willard
      March 26, 2014 - 21:22 | Permalink

      Weird. The Beats have repeatedly sued and repeatedly won the rights to those tapes. Can’t believe someone is selling them outright again.

  • Visions
    March 26, 2014 - 21:46 | Permalink

    The company that is releasing this remastered version believes that the songs were never legally released, and therefore that the 50-year copyright has expired. I guess that assumes that the Lingasong release was illegal, a conclusion that the 1998 court case seems to support. There are those two pesky Sony releases, however. No one seems to know whether Sony had the right to release anything — Sony’s own bootlegs!

    • Willard
      March 26, 2014 - 21:51 | Permalink

      Takes balls to take on Apple’s lawyers on such a slim premise. I smell another defeat. The tapes DO sound a hair better, though. But, not enough to pay for them.

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