Rejecting The Beatles and the worst decisions in musical history – Music and Books – Culture
Success and failure are divided by a thin but transcendental line: decisions. Although being wrong is a mistake as natural as it is human, the reality is that in the case of celebrities, even the smallest detail counts.
From wardrobe to statements, romantic relationships and business decisions, when you’re in the crosshairs of millions of fans, mistakes take on another meaning; they can overshadow the talent, beauty and recognition of artists and bury even the most promising careers.
The music industry, of course, is no exception; on the contrary, it is the clearest sign that fame is not a friend of chance and, much less, of mistakes. Next, we review some of the most epic decisions in recent and ancient musical history, according to the American magazine ‘Rolling Stone’.
1. Rolling Stones: a concert that ended in tragedy
Whether due to the number of attendees, the magnificence of the show, the perfect planning, or simply the highly recognized artists, there are festivals that have become, by far, true historical moments in the music industry.
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The 1969 Altamont Speedway Free Festival, featuring the Rolling Stones, certainly eclipsed international media headlines, but not precisely because of the memorable presentation of the British group; quite the contrary, tragedy, death and scandal were the main ingredients.
The Altamont Speedway free-festival drew such a large crowd that The Rolling Stones hired the Hells Angels to maintain over 300,000 people. pic.twitter.com/f4kWwxEDWG
— SERIOUSLY STRANGE (@SeriousStrange) February 23, 2017
With the aim of ending their US tour on a high, the Rolling Stones decided to organize a concert at Altamont Speedway, California, which turned out to be as improvised as it was catastrophic. Although changing the place of the presentation at the last minute was a major mistake -as well as not offering guarantees of comfort and well-being to the attendees-, it was not as catastrophic as hire the Hell Angels, a motorcycle gang with a history of irrational violence, crime, racism and machismo, as security hideouts.
What promised to be one of the most iconic shows of the band in its passage through the American country ended in the murder of a fan named Meredith Hunter, at the hands of one of the Hells Angels. For his part, Marty Balin, singer of Jefferson Airplane, was beaten and knocked out by a biker on the set of the British group.
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The Hell Angels member who stabbed Hunter was tried and released by the jury considering that he exercised self-defense; however, the events that occurred on that fateful December 6 left a wound that still bleeds in the history of the music industry.
2. Jerry Lewis and his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin
By 1958, Jerry Lewis was perhaps one of the most influential and important singers in rock. Until a disturbing decision overshadowed his artistic career: having a son, aged 17, and still married to his second wife, Jane Mitcham, the composer also married -secretly- with Myra Gale Brown, who was his 13-year-old cousin and daughter of a double bass player who performed in his shows.
With the idea of continuing his tour of Great Britain in mind and against all the warnings of his representatives – that appearing in public with Jane could be a bad idea -, Lewis arrived at London’s Heathrow airport, with his cute little wife.
12/12/1957, Still married to his first wife Jane Mitcham, Jerry Lee Lewis secretly married his 13-year old second cousin Myra Gale Brown. pic.twitter.com/wWSwvxwfWm
— Theodore Tomaras (@teddytomaras) December 12, 2018
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His secret was revealed at a press conference. “Who is the girl?” asked a journalist. To which the young woman herself replied: “I am Myra. Jerry’s wife.” The result, as expected, was devastating: many organizers terminated contracts and the wholesale presentations were diluted in a matter of hours.
“Eventually, he restarted his career as a country artist. and made a lot of money on the 1950s nostalgia circuit, but scandal haunted him for the rest of his life no matter how many times he tried to explain it away.
3. Decca Records rejects The Beatles
If there is a decision that, surely, the record label Decca Records regrets, it is that of having rejected The Beatlesone of the most important bands of the counterculture movement of the 1960s and of music history, to sign, instead, the English beat group Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.
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On December 23, 1961, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, invited Decca Records talent scout Mike Smith to hear the band at The Cavern Club. Consistent with the group’s performance, he decided to take them to London to audition on January 1, 1962. The band recorded 15 songs that were not memorable to Smith, so he made the controversial and controversial decision to reject them..
According to the American magazine mentioned above, Dick Rowe, head of Decca, told the band’s manager Brian Epstein that “guitar groups are about to disappear.” Now we all know that, unfortunately for Decca, this was not the case.
4. Eric Clapton and the Vaccine Conspiracy
Before providing controversial and controversial statements about vaccines against covid-19. Eric Clapton was mostly known for his masterful ability on the electric guitar.
As the renowned British rock and blues guitarist, singer and songwriter commented on several occasions, his experience with vaccines was anything but good. Frozen, numb or burning hands and feet, and practically unusable, were the symptoms he claimed to have developed after application of the biological product.
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“The inoculation took my immune system and wrecked it, I’m in agony and chronic pain, I got the second one and then it got really bad and in about a week I lost my hands, it didn’t really work, I have to take sleeping pills, I can’t sleep because of it.
— Elna (@Elna10476048) November 28, 2022
Over the months, his speech became radicalized, not only did he assure that he had been forced to receive the vaccines through subliminal messages from the pharmaceutical industry, but also that he alleged that all those vaccinated had succumbed to “mass hypnosis”.
“It’s great, the mass formation theory of hypnosis. And then I could understand her. Once I started looking for her, I saw her everywhere. I saw little things on YouTube that were like subliminal advertising”, said the guitarist in an interview with ‘The Real Music Observer’.
5. Kanye West interrupts Taylor Swift at the 2009 VMAs
It’s been over a decade, but interrupting Taylor Swift in the middle of her ‘Best Female Video Clip’ acceptance speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards is a decision Kanye West still deeply regrets.
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The American rapper, producer and businessman became, perhaps, one of the most controversial people at the gala when he suddenly invaded the stage and snatched the microphone from Taylor Swift -who was in the middle of her speech for having received the award thanks to his song ‘You Belong With Me’- to shout: “I’ll let you finish, but Beyoncé has one of the best videos of all time!”.
The artist was referring to ‘Single ladies’, a single that, in his opinion, deserved to have won the award that the young American singer was holding in her hands at that time.
13 years ago Kanye West interrupted Taylor Swift’s speech when she received the VMA for best music video of the year saying that Beyonce deserved it.
13 years later Taylor has won it again and I love the tribute to the styling of that night in 2009 ❤️ #VMAs pic.twitter.com/QtYZEUVLWS
— Cris Fuertes (@crisfuertes__) August 29, 2022
“That night when I went on stage was the beginning of the end of my life,” West said of the incident at the VMAs, according to ‘CNN’. And he added: “I had to fight every day for the rest of my life for the whole world against me, for saying out loud what everyone thought.”
And it was no wonder. After the disputed intervention, The rapper was not only punished with the cancellation of his joint tour with Lady Gaga, but also received a wave of criticism, comments and slights that ended up staining his artistic career.
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VALERIA CASTRO VALENCIA