In 1962 in London, a Decca Records executive, a hapless soul who shall remain nameless, yawned as he listened to the audition of a fledgling band from Liverpool. He showed them the door as he told their manager: “Guitar groups are on the way out, Mr. Epstein. Go back to Liverpool.” A few months later, George Martin at EMI Records signed The Beatles and went on to change popular music history.
Record company executives have certainly made their share of correct decisions over the years when it comes to backing the right artists and picking the right song. But there are hundreds of examples throughout the rock ‘n roll era of some glaring missteps, when execs showed questionable judgment and made some wrong choices. Sometimes others stepped up later to make the right choice, or disc jockeys and radio listeners made the right choice for them.