Famous Musicians Who Were Rejected By Record Labels


The Beatles were rejected by Decca Records, with producer George Martin describing their audition as "crap", and Dick Rowe famously turning them down in favor of Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

Kanye West

Kanye West faced rejection from record labels who viewed him solely as a producer and unlikely to succeed as a solo artist, but eventually signed with Def Jam after playing demos of his tracks.


As a member of the group Girl's Tyme, Beyonce was rejected and ignored by talent-spotters after failing a talent contest before finding success with Destiny's Child and as a solo artist.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga was dropped by Def Jam before recording her first single, which L.A. Reid later called "the biggest mistake of my professional career".

Ed Sheeran

Despite being rejected by every label he approached in his early days, Ed Sheeran has become a major star with two bestselling albums and sold-out stadium concerts.


U2's rejection by the CEO of RSO before their debut single release didn't bankrupt the company, but a multi-million dollar lawsuit on behalf of the Bee Gees did.


Morrissey's outsider status is due to being dropped by multiple record labels, despite releasing excellent records, and being rejected by his label after poor sales of "World Peace Is None Of Your Business".


During the mid-1990s, Oasis were the biggest band in the world, with huge record sales and enviable success, even though they were rejected by Factory Records who famously found The Smiths "too gloomy" and The Stone Roses "too goth" to be sellable.

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl's first band, Mission Impossible, sent a demo tape to Dischord Records founder Ian MacKaye at age 14, who was impressed by Grohl's initiative but not the tune.

The Beatles

Despite honing their live talents on the Hamburg club scene, The Beatles' early audition for Decca records was deemed "crap" by George Martin, and they were ultimately turned down in favor of Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

Siblings who starred together on-screen

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