Sometimes, it’s better to reject The Beatles…
A copy of the Beatles rejected audition tape for Decca resurfaced recently and aside from sending shivers down the collective spines of aged record company execs who once proclaimed guitar music as ‘on the way out’ – it got me thinking about rejection.
How could anyone turn away the band that went on to create some of the most beloved pieces of pop music ever recorded? How could anyone claim the Fab Four ‘had no future in show business’?
Easy, they were barely the same band.
What many people don’t mention when they discuss the Beatles Decca audition is that they played a set comprised mostly of covers with just 3 Lennon/McCartney originals thrown in. The band even sang in mock-American accents in order to sound like the Rock n’ Roll groups of the era. There were hints of greatness in their performance, but the tape hardly showcases the Beatles that people know and love today.
What people also fail to mention is that the Beatles had been turned down by countless record labels before they were picked up by EMI. By the time of their Decca audition, the band were no strangers to rejection. You have to wonder whether those rejections shaped the band and their sound? Whether, had their Decca audition been successful, they’d have been quite the band they turned out to be?
In events – and entertainment in particular – the process of coming up with suggestions and having them rejected is laborious, but also hugely valuable. Ideas often get rejected for perfectly good reasons and it would be foolish to cast everyone who turns down an idea as a 60s Decca record exec, stubbornly failing to recognise genius. Instead, it’s better to see each rejection as another step towards getting your event right.
That being said it’s important not to reject something on some kind of arbitrary principle – i.e. guitar bands have had their day, drag acts are too racy, magicians are too corny… Dismissing things based on these kinds of principles can mean you end up inadvertently depriving yourself of something special further down the line.
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