Editorial: Beatles tax price to pay for maintaining collection




Hey, Beatles fans, looking for that perfect Christmas gift? As this paper’s self-appointed, unofficial Beatles archivist, I offer to you this shopping season two items of Fab Four interest.

Recently, The Fame Bureau, a London auction house, announced it would be putting up for sale an early master tape of the band. The 10-track demo tape might be one of the most legendary recordings in Beatles lore. Manager Brian Epstein arranged for a meeting at Decca Records on New Year’s Day in 1962 with the intent of landing the group a recording contract. Decca executive Dick Rowe was not impressed and, in one of the worst business decisions ever, turned him down.

“Guitar groups are on the way out,” Rowe told Epstein and added the group “had no future in show business.” (If Rowe were an executive in today’s business climate, he likely would walk away with a big bonus.)

Epstein took the master tape to EMI, which signed the group that soon went on to dominate not only the world of popular music but popular culture across the planet. To Rowe’s credit, he did manage to sign the Rolling Stones soon after that little lapse in judgment. I wonder if he got a bonus for that?

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