|Birth: ||Dec. 12, 1920|
Greater London, England
|Death: ||Feb. 1, 1986|
Greater London, England
Dick James was born Leon Isaac Vapnick in the East End of London, was a music publisher and together with his son Stephen founded the DJM record label and recording studios, as well as (with Brian Epstein) The Beatles' publisher Northern Songs.
James entered the music publishing business as his singing career tapered off. In 1958 he joined Sidney Bron Music as a song-plugger but decided to leave and open Dick James Music in 1961. In early 1963 he was contacted by Brian Epstein who was looking for a publisher for the second Beatles single "Please Please Me" and agreed an appointment for 11 o'clock the following morning. Having arranged a previous meeting at 10.00, Epstein left in disgust at 10.25 when the executive he was due to meet failed to appear and arrived at James's office at 10.40. Epstein apologised to the receptionist for being early and offered to wait until 11.00; nevertheless, the receptionist contacted James who promptly ushered Epstein into his office. Having heard the record and telling Epstein it was a number one James was invited by Epstein to publish and promote it. James then called Philip Jones, producer of the TV show Thank Your Lucky Stars, played the record down the phone to him and secured the band's first nationwide television appearance. The pair subsequently established Northern Songs Ltd., with Beatles John Lennon and Paul McCartney, to publish Lennon and McCartney's original songs. (Fellow Beatles George Harrison and Ringo Starr were also signed to Northern Songs as songwriters, but did not renew their contracts in 1968). James's company, Dick James Music, administered Northern Songs.
What initially began as an amicable working relationship between the Beatles and James disintegrated by the late 1960s: the Beatles considered that James had betrayed and taken advantage of them when he sold Northern Songs in 1969 without offering the band an opportunity to buy control of the publishing company. James profited handsomely from the sale of Northern Songs, but the Beatles never again had the rights to their own songs.
During the 1960s he also handled Billy J. Kramer and Gerry and the Pacemakers.
James signed Elton John and his lyricist Bernie Taupin as untried unknowns in 1967 after his son Stephen, who had been working with his father since 1963, found Elton John using their recording studios late at night without permission. Stephen who had started the recording studios and opened a record production company called This Productions formed DJM Records in 1969. Indeed, all of John's early releases (up to 1976) were issued on the DJM record label. The label also carried Jasper Carrott, RAH Band and John Inman.
John formed his own Rocket label in 1976, but in 1982, John was involved in a long court case with James about royalties. In June 1985, the British music magazine NME reported that John was suing James over the rights to his earlier material.
Created by: Steven Laird
Record added: Nov 06, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 100286786