Apple publishes an ad to find new talent

Friday, April 19, 1968

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On this day, Apple Corps published an advertisement entitled “This man has talent…” in the New Musical Express. It showed Apple’s General Manager, Alistair Taylor, disguised as a one-man band, with the following text:

This man has talent…

One day he sang his songs to a tape recorder (borrowed from the man next door). In his neatest handwriting he wrote an explanatory note (giving his name and address) and, remembering to enclose a picture of himself, sent the tape, letter and photograph to Apple Music, 94 Baker Street, London W1. If you were thinking of doing the same thing yourself – do it now!

This man now owns a Bentley!

The ad was designed by Paul McCartney. It brought an avalanche of applicants. The mail room, telephone switchboard, and conference rooms became jammed at all hours with “artists” begging the Beatles to give them money. George Harrison would later lament that “We had every freak in the world coming in there“.

Paul said, ‘We’ve got to do an advert.’ So, he came up to the flat one day and said, ‘Right, we’ve got to think of an ad, mate.’ So, we sat around until two in the morning, sitting cross-legged on the floor of my flat. Lesley had gone to bed. She couldn’t stand it. Paul came up with this idea of a one-man-band, and it said, ‘If you are a musician, singer, send your tapes along to us at Apple, Baker Street. The man above now owns a Bentley. So, send us your tapes.’ I said, ‘That will work,’ and we decided that’s what we would do. He said, ‘I want a one-man-band, but it won’t be a normal one-man-band. It’s got to be someone very straight, in a suit, with a bowler hat, and I know who’s going to do it.’ And I said, ‘Oh, good. Who?’ He replied, ‘You!’ I was the straight man. When they were all going round in baubles and bangles and beads and flowers, I had to be the guy in the suit. I was always the businessman. Paul’s nickname for me was ‘The man with the shiny shoes’. So, I went out and bought a bowler hat and we went to this studio where we took this picture. It appeared only once in the New Musical Express and also all over London, overnight, everywhere you looked, on hoardings, wherever. There was this picture of me as this one-man-band. Hundreds of cassettes came in and they used to end up being piled up on my window ledge. Everyone thought they were going to be a star.

Alistair Taylor – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Paul stopped by my flat in Montagu Place, which was an ‘Apple’ flat. He said, ‘I’ve got this great idea. We are going to put an ad in NME to get some tapes of music into Apple’. Finally we hit on this idea of a one man band. We wanted a straight guy in a bowler hat. Paul looked at me and said ‘Well, we’ve got a straight guy, do you have a bowler hat?’ It just so happened I did. We went down to Soho to hire a one man band and did the photo session. I was miming and it wasn’t working, so Paul said, ‘Sing a Beatles song’ So I tried that and he said ‘Forget that!’ – it was a disaster area. So in the end, that picture is of me singing ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’ – badly.

Alistair Taylor – From Alistair Taylor – The Beatles ‘Mr Fixit’ – Beatles in London, November 28, 2016
From New Musical Express, April 20, 1968

Last updated on November 16, 2021

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