The Story Behind the Beatles Cover That Secretly Helped Launch Their Career

Paul McCartney decided to add some variation to the Beatles‘ sound by including a cover of “Til There Was You” early on in their career. Macca heard The Music Man cut from a Peggy Lee record and enjoyed her modernization of the song. Little did he know, the cover would go on to be a deciding factor in the group’s eventual signing to EMI’s Parlophone Records. Check out the story behind “Til There Was You,” below.

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The Story Behind “Til There Was You”

Prior to earning a spot with EMI, Brian Epstein arranged for the band to audition for Decca Records. He pulled together a list of songs that would hopefully showcase the breadths of the group’s musical talent–i.e. rock hits and slow ballads. It was a sonic diversity that would later serve the foursome well.

Ultimately, Decca decided not to sign the band. John Lennon blamed Epstein for his advice to include different musical styles, feeling it didn’t play to the band’s strengths. However, one song they performed for sake of variety, “Til There Was You,” would eventually help launch their career.

Epstein recorded their Decca audition and shopped it around to other record labels–namely EMI. George Martin, the band’s long-time producer, found the tapes and thought “Til There Was You” was a standout. It left enough of an impression to earn the band an official audition with EMI and the rest is history.

It seems Lennon was off base when he criticized Epstein. The seemingly innocuous cover helped them standout from the pack of burgeoning rock acts.

The Meaning Behind “Til There Was You”

The song was penned by Meredith Wilson for The Music Man, a stage show about a traveling con artist. Despite its niche origins, the song has captured the ears of many mainstream acts.

The Beatles’ version is arguably the most popular, but it is far from the only cover of “Til There Was You.” Peggy Lee delivered a rendition of this song on her latin-inspired record, Latin ala Lee!, in the early ’60s. The sentiment of finally finding love seems to be universal enough for countless artists to have taken on this show tune in a pop/rock capacity.

(Photo by Les Lee/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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