Dick James was another important person who joined the Beatles. He was
a show-business who has always been around. He was born Richard Leon Vapnick
in 1920 in the East End of London. His father, who was a butcher, came from
Poland in 1910.
At seventeen, Dick was a professional singer with his band the Cricklewood
Palais. During the war, he was in the Medical Corps, playing for the Medical
Corps Band. This was when he learned to read music. In 1945, he joined Geraldo,
and changed his name to Dick James. After that, he appeared with the big
bands and then became a solo singer.
Dick James made a lot of records. His first was in 1942, during the Army
leave, when he did a singalong with Primo Scala's Accordian Band. He was
with Decca for awhile, but the money wasn't that good. In 1952, he ended
up at Parlophone. This is when he met George Martin.
In 1955, under George Martin, James did the best-ever record, called "Robin
Hood". It got to number 9 on the charts. Even though this happened, Dick
felt he didn't have much success as a singer. He continued singing until
1959, only in the London area so he could be with his wife and son. As a
side, he took up music publishing.
In September 1961, he opened his own music-publishing firm in Charing
Crossing Road. He had the company going by the summer of 1962, but he hadn't
discovered any hits. Dick went to see George Martin when the Beatles made
their second hit "Please, Please Me" and he thought it was excellent. Dick
wanted to publish this song.
Brian Epstein had already arranged to see another publisher, but decided
to see Dick after he was done. He played the song for him, and Dick wanted
it. Brian said if Dick could get the Beatles some promotion, he could have
the song. Dick called one of his old contacts, Phillip Jones. He played
"Please,Please Me" for Phillip, and Phillip loved it.
Dick James had arranged for the Beatles' first London TV appearance. Brian was pleased, so Dick became their music publisher.