Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 of the Worst Decisions Ever Made


9
Decca Records Declining to Sign the Beatles
The Beatles, shown here during a press tour for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in May 1967, could have been a smashing success for Decca Records, but Dick Rowe dropped the ball. ©Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images
The Beatles, shown here during a press tour for "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" in May 1967, could have been a smashing success for Decca Records, but Dick Rowe dropped the ball. ©Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

In 1962, Dick Rowe, an executive at Decca Records, thought guitar groups were falling out of favor. On New Year's Day that year, The Beatles – though at that time Pete Best was their drummer and they called themselves the Silver Beatles -- auditioned for Decca Records producer Tony Meehan. One month later, when Dick Rowe heard their audition tape -- 15 tracks on a 12-inch audio tape -- he passed on signing the band.

As it turns out, Dick Rowe was mistaken. Guitar bands weren't cold, they were hot. The Beatles went on to sign with EMI, and released their first 8 albums through the Parlophone label. It's estimated that the band earned $38.5 million by the end of the summer of 1967. The Wall Street Journal estimated $50 million in record sales in the U.S. alone in 1964 [source: Beatle Money]. In 1968 they launched their own record label, Apple Records.


More to Explore