Why Was David Bowie Rejected by the Beatles’ Label?

Even legends have to start somewhere and sometimes their success is far from linear. That was the case for David Bowie. Though his career started off promising, he was eventually dropped from his first record label, Decca. What could’ve been a career-ending blow sent a young Bowie searching for greener pastures.

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He set his sights on Apply Records, the Beatles-formed record label that was (and is) considered a mecca of British music. Bowie’s manager fought tooth and nail to get him an audition with Apple, but it proved unfruitful.

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Bowie and his manager did the audition and then started a long waiting game with Peter Asher. The head of A&R gave them the run around for quite some time before finally getting back to the “Starman.”

“It took me some considerable time to make contact with him, but when I did he told me that the label was not interested in David,” Bowie’s manager, Kenneth Pitt, wrote in his book, Bowie: The Pitt Report. “I asked me if he would let me have a letter to that effect and on July 15 he wrote: ‘As we told you on the phone, Apple Records is not interested in signing David Bowie. The reason is that we don’t feel he’s what we’re looking for at the moment. Thank you for your time.'”

Pitt wasn’t just sour about the label rejecting his client, but also because of Asher’s hands-off approach to the whole process.

“Peter Asher couldn’t spare any of his own time to personally sign the terse letter,” Pitt continued. “His name being inscribed by a secretary whose initials were CO.”

It seemed Bowie didn’t need the mammoth that was Apple Records. As we all know, that setback ended up being minor in Bowie’s otherwise stellar career. He would later become friends with the Fab Four, who likely felt awkward about the whole ordeal.

(Photo by Central Press/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

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