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How British Music Shop HMV Helped the Beatles Score Their First Record Deal

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British music fans suffered a blow this week when venerable U.K. record store HMV announced it was teetering on the brink of liquidation — but while the company makes a last-ditch effort to stay in business, it’s worth taking a moment to pay tribute to the way it used its clout to help jump-start one of the most important careers in rock history.

The Huffington Post looks back on HMV’s connection to the Beatles in a new article that explains how, after the band was famously turned down by execs at Decca, manager Brian Epstein visited a friend at an HMV location who advised transferring the group’s tapes to disc — and who, after hearing their songs, placed a call to a music publisher who had an office in the same building.

Suitably impressed, the publisher called George Martin, then a busy producer as well as an executive at Parlophone Records — and the rest is history. Three months later, after an Abbey Road session that yielded recordings of ‘P.S. I Love You,’ ‘Ask Me Why,’ ‘Love Me Do,’ and the Beatles’ cover of ‘Besame Mucho,’ the band signed its first contract with EMI. And while, as the Post’s article notes, the group eventually regretted agreeing to the label’s terms — particularly the contract’s onerous royalty rate — we think everyone can agree it all worked out in the end. Thanks, HMV!

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