New Year’s Lessons from The Beatles | Music | DW
On New Years Day 1962, two bands auditioned for Decca Records in London. The company was looking for a new number that would appeal to younger people. After hearing from both bands, the leaders chose Brian Poole and the Tremeloes, a 1960s beat group whose later hits would include a cover of “Twist and Shout.”
Explaining their decision to the manager of the other group, Brian Epstein, the record directors felt that “guitar groups were on the verge of extinction.”
As Epstein continued to search for a label for his Liverpudlian quartet, the band members – John, Paul, George and Ringo – were themselves disheartened and on the verge of shutting him down.
Today, 60 years later, the story of the Beatles’ New Year’s rejection provides us with timely lessons, even in the face of a pandemic.
Lesson 1: Resilience
The Beatles aren’t the only pop culture figures who have bounced back dramatically from failure.
Best-selling author of the Harry Potter series, JK Rowling was turned down by 12 publishing houses before Bloomsbury got his manuscript back. Oprah Winfrey, whose famous interviewees included singer Michael Jackson and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, has already been fired from her evening journalist job. She was deemed “unfit for television news” for being unable to emotionally detach herself from the stories. And Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, who recently reimagined the hit musical “West Side Story,” has been rejected three times by the University of Southern California’s School of Drama, Film and Television.
However, all of them had one particular trait: resilience.
The queen of the talk show, Oprah Winfrey (seen here with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle) has already been deemed ‘unfit for TV news’
âI believe those who act, write and entertain are some of the most resilient people in the world. Think about writers – they encounter so many rejections before their work gets published. Think about actors who try out many roles before they do. land one. Any artist who has worked together for 10, 20, 30 years is already resilient. Those who are starting their artistic careers may not be. However, they are also probably very tuned in to new art mediums – YouTube , Internet, Instagram, etc. They make it work, âShantha Mohan, mentor and project guide at Carnegie Mellon University’s Silicon Valley campus told DW.
While artists may have had to step back to heal their wounds after an audition took place in the south before COVID, the pandemic and its repeated blockages now require more courage than ever before.
Almost every artist has taken to the internet to keep their craft alive and to stay relevant during isolation. A lot of them are collaborating. For example, Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber together created a ‘Stuck With U’ music video that supports the First Responders Foundation, âsays Mohan, who also co-founded Retail Solutions Inc. (RSi), a leader in retail data analytics.
“Give help to keep hope” – Shantha Mohan
Lesson 2: Innovate
In the anthology âThe Beatles: An Oral Historyâ by David Pritchard and Alan Lysaght, Paul McCartney says, âListening to the tapes, I can understand why we failed at the Decca audition. and original things, “Anyway,” The Beatles saw the setback as a learning experience and didn’t give up. The failure pushed them to continue to innovate, âexplains Shantha Mohan, herself a Beatles fan.
She points out how the group had been rejected before the Decca episode, while continuing to hone their skills, sometimes playing back-to-back gigs in various locations including Hamburg, Germany in 1960.
“It taught them to develop the humility, tenacity, understanding of their audience, the flair – which does not remember the vigorous nod of the head – which courts the audience,” says Mohan, whose book Leadership Lessons with The Beatles “is scheduled for release in May 2022.
ABBA and its ‘ABBA-tars’: fine examples of innovation
Fast forward to today, and Swedish pop icons ABBA have gone from one notch to the next. The group, which will celebrate their 50th anniversary this year, will embark on a world tour with a difference in May 2022.
Singers will project digital avatars – or “Abba-tars” – of themselves on stage instead of performing live, thanks to technology provided by Industrial Light and Magic – the visual effects company founded by the creator. from Star Wars George Lucas.
A clever solution to have fun while being socially distanced.
âABBA is a great example of how innovative artists are today. They have adopted cutting edge technology to give them the power to reach today’s sophisticated public. ABBA Voyage where they will appear digitally as they were in 1977, has been in the works since 2016, âsays Mohan, noting that resilience and innovationâ go hand in hand â.
Rejected three times by the film school, Steven Spielberg won three Oscars; two for the best director
Lesson 3: Hope
And finally, in light of an ever-evolving virus that has brought new restrictions and lockdowns, Mohan says that as individuals we must have hope. And one way to keep our own hope is to help out whenever we can.
Referring to the Decca episode, Mohan argues that the Beatles, for example, had their manager Epstein on their side and this gave them hope to continue. âYou can also feed off each other’s hopes,â she says.
Mohan is particularly inspired by the work of Jose Andres, chef, Spanish-American restaurateur and founder of World Central Kitchen, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing meals in the aftermath of natural disasters. Currently, the organization is also providing meals to people affected by the pandemic.
“You have to believe that it’s temporary and keep moving forward. Be useful in everything you can do, if you can. Helping others is a way of giving yourself hope that this too will pass.” , she concludes.
Edited by: Manasi Gopalakrishnan