Sun 19 Oct, 2008 06:24 am
Dick Rowe was head of A&R at Decca Records in the early 1960s. He is most famous (or infamous) for a decision he made in 1962.
Rowe and his assistant Mike Smith were auditioning two groups on New Year's Day 1962. One was Brian Poole & The Tremeloes, a band from nearby Dagenham who were assured of success (and in fact went on to have several moderate sized hits). The other were a scruffy bunch from Liverpool with an incompetent drummer. Rowe gave Smith the final decision, and Smith decided to sign The Tremeloes.
Ever since then, Rowe has been known as 'the man who turned down The Beatles', a reputation not helped by his famous explanation to Brian Epstein - 'groups with guitars are on the way out'. Paul McCartney in an interview a couple of years later commented 'I bet he's kicking himself', to which John Lennon replied 'I hope he kicks himself to death', which shows what a blow to the band's hopes this was at the time.
What's slightly less well known is that Rowe later signed The Rolling Stones after George Harrison recommended them to him, so he must have had some idea what made for a successful band - he just had the worst off-day anyone in his profession could ever have had...