Obituaries of Ben E. King retell the story of how his great song Stand By Me was rejected by the Drifters’ manager, George Treadwell: “we don’t need it.” Mr Treadwell was not unique in his misjudgement. Decca Records rejected the Beatles, saying that “guitar music is on the way out”; Jim Denny, a boss at the Grand Ole Opry told Elvis Presley to go back to truck driving; and Lady Gaga was dropped by Def Jam records after just three months.

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