Top 5 Times Record Labels Rejected Bands That Became Iconic

Episode Summary:

In an industry where rejection is as common as a three-chord song, Isaac Kuhlman sheds light on the surprisingly rough beginnings of some of the most revered names in rock history.

Bands like The Beatles, U2, Nirvana, Radiohead, and Linkin Park all share histories marked by initial industry rebuffs, only to later ascend to legendary status.

This episode delves into the narratives of missed opportunities, relentless perseverance, and the fateful intersections that changed the course of music history.

Each story Kuhlman shares is a testament to the tenacity and innovative spirit of these artists.

From The Beatles being turned away by Decca Records to Lincoln Park's whopping 40 rejections, these tales underscore the transformative power of belief in one’s artistic vision.

The summaries recount the lessons learned and the triumphs earned, reminding listeners that many music industry trailblazers once faced closed doors and skeptical ears before breaking through to achieve worldwide acclaim.+


Key Takeaways:

  • The Beatles, despite being rejected by Decca Records, went on to revolutionize music after signing with EMI’s subsidiary, Parlophone.

  • U2 overcame initial resistance to secure their place within Island Records, which led to global fame and the genesis of anthemic rock.

  • After numerous rejections, Nirvana found success with Geffen Records, catalyzing the grunge movement with their album "Nevermind."

  • Radiohead proved that artistic integrity could yield immense success after a lukewarm reception from EMI led to their groundbreaking works like "OK Computer."

  • Linkin Park * faced a staggering number of rejections before Warner Bros Records took a chance on them, resulting in a debut album that would define their genre.

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Resources from This Episode:

Vinnie Fiorello Interview on Powered By Rock Podcast - Interview with Chris Blackwell - Article on Nirvana -

Jeff Beato Interview with Krist Novoselic of Nirvana -

New Yorker Article about Radiohead - Interview with Jeff Blue about Linkin Park -



0:00 - Iconic Bands Once Rejected by Record Labels Introduction

1:49 - Decca Records' Historic Mistake Rejecting The Beatles

4:30 - U2's Rise From Rejection to Rock Supremacy

7:17 - Nirvana's Rise From Obscurity to Rock Royalty

10:35 - Radiohead's Rejection and Triumph in the Music Industry

14:36 - Linkin Park's Rise From Rejection to Rock Icon Status

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