Friday, January 31, 2020

James Taylor talks about being signed to the Beatles' record label

Billboard advertising James Taylor's first LP for the Beatles Apple Records label
In a new interview, James Taylor tells People magazine about going to London at age 19 in 1967 and being signed by The Beatles' fledgling Apple Records label:
“Success was getting a record contract,” Taylor explains. “In those days that’s how you got on the radio, that’s how you got an audience, and that’s how you got a career.” He was aiming high. The Beatles had recently launched their own record label, Apple, and were actively seeking new talent to develop. Their offices had been inundated following an open call for submissions, but Taylor had an insider connection — albeit a circuitous one.
His childhood friend and former Flying Machine bandmate Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar had been in a band called the King Bees, which had accompanied the British pop duo Peter & Gordon on tour several years prior. The “Peter” in question was Peter Asher, brother of Paul McCartney’s girlfriend, actress Jane Asher. McCartney was particularly close to his almost-brother-in-law. During the years he’d lived in the Asher family townhouse on Wimpole Street, they slept literally across the hall from one another, and frequently socialized in the London’s intellectual circles. McCartney had penned several of Peter & Gordon’s early hits, and when the group split in 1967, he tapped Asher to head up A&R at their fledgling label.
“I called Kootch up and said, ‘Do you still have a number for Peter Asher?’” Taylor recalls. “And he said, ‘I don’t know if it’s any good but this is the number that I’ve got.’ I called it up, Peter answered, and I said, ‘I’m a friend of Danny’s, a songwriter from North Carolina. I’ve got a demo. Could you take a listen to it?’” Asher liked what he heard and invited Taylor to Apple’s Central London offices. “He said, ‘You can play for whatever Beatle is in the building at the time.’ And that’s what happened.”
“I sat down and played my song, ‘Something in the Way She Moves,’ for Paul and George [Harrison]. They went out of the room and Peter said, ‘What do you think?’ Paul said, ‘Hmm. Sounds good.’ And Peter said, “Well, do you want to make a record with him?” And Paul said, “Yeah sure.’ And that was it.”

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