The Man Who Turned Down Jimi Hendrix And The Beatles

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The Beatles changed the way music works. With their songs, they revolutionized Brit-pop and are one of the most influential bands of all time. The Fab Four developed their path in the early 60s and went on to continue breaking records until their breakup in 1970.

Another artist who was influential like the Beatles was Jimi Hendrix. He was a guitar prodigy and became known for his great stage presence. Hendrix is one of the greatest guitarists in the history of music. He died at the age of 27 and his feats are impossible to achieve.

Now, to the topic…

Imagine being the man who turned down Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. That decision would haunt anyone. And later on, imagine turning down Jimi Hendrix too.

Decca Records was infamous in the 1960s. The head A&R man, Dick Rowe rejected the Beatles on New Year’s Day 1962. According to the Beatles manager Brian Epstein, Rowe didn’t like the band. The Beatles had a 15-track demo for the audition but failed to capture the attention.

Rowe, later on, said that the reason he rejected the Beatles was because of Mike Smith. He said, “I told Mike (Smith) he’d have to decide between them. It was up to him – The Beatles or Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.”

“He said, ‘They’re both good, but one’s a local group, the other comes from Liverpool.’ We decided it was better to take the local group. We could work with them more easily and stay closer in touch as they came from Dagenham.”

Who knew Rowe would, later on, reject Jimi Hendrix too? Hendrix married in London in late 1966. He was there with his manager Chas Chandler. Chandler knew Hendrix had what it takes to be a great artist. He also asked Cream if Hendrix could play with the group at one of their shows. Jimi got the change and blew everyone away. He played ‘Killing Floor’ and showed his limitless potential.

Before that, Jimi’s first stop was Decca Records. But Rowe didn’t like what he heard and rejected him. Jimi played his original songs ‘Stone Free’ and his own cover of ‘Hey Joe’. Hendrix then got himself a deal from Track Records. Kit Lambert, the manager of The Who who’d just launched the studio. Kit had experienced Jimi at a small-club show. Chandler said, “Kit was [at the gig] and nearly knocked over the tables trying to get across to me.” 

The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix both were rejected by Decca Records. But regardless of things, they didn’t let that one event turn them down. Talent and hard work go hand in hand, and both the Beatles and Jimi showed it.

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