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Surprising 7: Famous business blunders

Turning down the Beatles

On the very first day of 1962, four unknown lads with mop-top haircuts showed up at the East London studio of Decca Records to show off their music and, hopefully, walk out with a record deal. The group, which consisted of Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison, and Pete Best (later replaced by Ringo Starr) had been turned down by several record labels. At Decca, they were given almost a full hour to prove their worth, which they used to perform and record 15 songs, which the label, at first, seemed to find convincing.

A few days later, however, Decca walked away from the deal, as they believed that “guitar groups [were] on the way out,” and thus there would be no place for the Beatles in show business. The label ended up signing a band called Brian Poole and the Tremeloes instead – the greatest mistake it has ever made. The record company EMI proved to be more open-minded and took the band under its wing, a decision that paid off many times over.

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