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Dick James

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Dick James (12 December 1920 – 1 February 1986), born Reginald Leon Isaac Vapnick, was a music publisher and the founder of the DJM record label and recording studios, as well as (with Brian Epstein) The Beatles’ publisher Northern Songs. He was born in the East End of London.

James sang with North London dance bands in his early teens, and was a regular vocalist at the Cricklewood Palais by the age of seventeen. He joined the Henry Hall band, and made first radio broadcast in 1940. Joining the Army in 1942, after World War II he continued to sing with top post-war bands, including Geraldo’s. Later still, James was also a part time member of The Stargazers, a popular early 1950s vocal group.

He was the singer of the theme songs of The Adventures of Robin Hood and The Buccaneers, from British television in the 1950s, and was a friend and associate of renowned record producer George Martin.

James entered the music publishing business as his singing career tapered off. 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 11am the following morning. Having arranged a previous meeting at 10am 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. Apologising to her for being early and despite offering to wait until 11.00 the receptionist contacted James who promptly ushered Epstein into his office.

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