Mike Smith van de afdeling A&R van Decca kwam zestig jaar geleden naar de Cavern Club in Liverpool om The Beatles te beluisteren. Hun manager Brian Epstein had hem uitgenodigd. De groep bestond toen uit John Lennon (slaggitaar), Paul McCartney (basgitaar), George Harrison (sologitaar) en Pete Best (drums). Smith zag wel wat in de groep en regelde een auditie op nieuwjaarsdag 1962.
Mike Smith was an English record producer who, although he was responsible for many hit records, will always be remembered as the guy who passed on the Beatles. Born into a musical family, Smith’s first job in music came by way of the BBC where he worked as a recording engineer. Following his stint there, Smith landed at Decca Records, at first working as an assistant on recordings by the likes of Mantovani and Edmundo Ros. Before he knew it, he was elevated to producer at the label. He went on to produce hits by the likes of the Tremeloes, Georgie Fame and Brian Poole. But is was what he did on New Years Day, 1962 that unfortunately for him, will go down as one of pop music’s biggest blunders. About two weeks earlier, Smith caught one of the Beatles’ legendary Cavern Club performances and invited them to audition for Decca. The band came in on January 1st and performed 15 songs for label management who were clearly not as impressed as Smith had been, so he decided to sign another recent audition, the Tremeloes, instead. That decision would haunt him for the rest of his life. Either way, Smith still had a very admirable track record with acts he DID work with over the years. He later worked for GTO Records. Mike Smith was 76 when he passed away on December 3, 2011. (Paul Bearer op de website “The music’s over“)