ALISTAIR TAYLOR: ...I've always said, for 20 years, that management's gain was record retailing's loss. Because that guy (Brian) could spot a hit record a million miles away.
There's a famous story. One day, before we found the Beatles, early '61, the representative of EMI came around to sample records. And he put this one on, and we listened to it, and I said, "Oh, I love it! One for each shop." We had two shops.
He [Brian] said, "Alistair, that's going to be a Number One!"
I can see him now, in this narrow little office that we had.
And he said, "That is going to be Number One. Two hundred and fifty!"
I said, "Brian, it's a jazz record!" It was Ray Charles singing Georgia On My Mind. And I said, "Brian, I love it. I want the one copy we're going to get. But it is not a hit. It's not a pop record. It's a jazz record."
"Alistair, two hundred and fifty."
I said, "Okay, you're the boss."
He said, "Do you want to bet?"
So I said, "Okay, what's the bet?"
And he said, "A gin and tonic that that's going to be Number One."
And I said, "You're on, Brian. Got you! I'm gonna have a gin and tonic on you."
And, of course, it went straight to Number One, and we ended up being the only shop in the north of England with copies of Ray Charles!
At the very first convention I ever did, my thought was, there's gonna be 500 people. I went down to the ballroom, Penta Hotel in New York, and there are 3,500 people sitting!
I made no notes, I didn't know what the hell I was going to talk about, and I got cold feet.
I went straight down to the bar and said, "Half a Bud, please." And I thought, "I don't know what I'm going to say. I don't know what to say."
And there was recorded music playing. Suddenly it stopped in mid-track, and on came Ray Charles' Georgia On My Mind. I have witnesses to this!
And I just suddenly went ----
The people I was with said, "Are you okay?"
And I said, "Shush! Just don't say a word."
And I didn't see Brian, I didn't hear Brian, but he was there.
And even the barman is going, "What the hell happened?"
And I just said, "I'm fine, okay, let's go. Let's go do a show."
And I stood up for two hours and, as you'll gather, talked too much, but Brian's here, aren't you, fella?
Read the entire interview at: http://members.aol.com/scottwheelerband/alistair.htm
(The above is a broken link ~ please see * in below note)
20 June 2012 EDIT: Scott Wheeler died 29 December 2007.
Also, the above link to Scott's interview with Alistair has been obsolete for a long time.
However, you can still access an archived copy of the entire long interview *HERE.