Record Collector, April 1992 (No.152)
Apple Records - Mary Hopkin
The British and American catalogues may be difficult enough to complete, but have you ever considered how many permutations of Apple singles were issued around the world? This article attempts to answer that question, paying particular attention to 45s from Europe and Japan, although it will come as no surprise that it stops far short of listing every world-wide rarity!
Back in the summer of 1968, Apple prepared Gene Mahon's innovative whole apple/half apple design as its corporate logo. Batches of appropriate labels were distributed around the world for the first clutch of releases, scheduled for that autumn. Europe, the Americas, Australasia, and Japan all received the striking Granny Smith design. Despite this massive effort, however, many of the earliest foreign pressings actually appeared on other EMI labels like Parlophone and Odeon.
A prime example was Mary Hopkin's "Those Were The Days" (Apple 2), Apple's most successful single. It is also one of the most common, having appeared in four different versions in France alone, for example, where it was released on Odeon in English (FO 129), to be followed by the French "Les Temps des Fleurs" (FO 131). When the shipments of Apple labels finally arrived, both versions were reissued on APF 502 in English, and on APF 503 in French. The B-side in all instances was Pete Seeger's "Turn Turn Turn". To establish Mary Hopkin as an international star, Apple had Mary re-record her debut in four languages. Aside from the French, her three other foreign renditions of "Those Were The Days" were "An jenem Tag" in German (0 23910), "Quelli Erano Giorni" in Italian (Apple 2) and "Que Tiempo Tan Feliz" in Spanish (H 397). The Italian and Spanish versions are now available as bonus tracks on the reissue of Mary's debut album, "Postcard", although this mistakenly credits "Que Tiempo Tan Feliz" as "En Aquellos Dias".
In Argentina, the single was issued as "Aquellos Fueron Los Dias" backed with "Vueltas Y Mas Vueltas' on Apple 1054. But despite the foreign titles, both songs were the English versions. As no original labels were available, the words "Apple Records" on a simple light brown background had to suffice for this scarce 33 rpm edition.
A Polish postcard flexi took translation one step further, re-titling Mary Hopkin's song "Byly Takie Dni". Pressed on thick , olive-green vinyl, the disc also featured Ohio Express's "Yummy Yummy Yummy" - which the Poles obviously couldn't translate! Another, mustard-coloured postcard flexi disc also exists, listing "Those Were The Days" in English, but fading it down halfway through to make way for "Lady Willpower" by 'Union Gap And Gary Puckett'! Although neither of these releases makes any references to Apple, both carry the BIEM copyright issues. They shouldn't be confused with the picture postcard flexis from Poland, which we're told, are counterfeits.
Mary Hopkin's immediate follow-up to "Those Were The Days" was the Italian-language song, "Lontano Dagli Occhi" (Apple 7), which was only released in Brazil and parts of Europe - but not the U.K. All countries, save for Brazil, issued the single in a picture sleeve. "Prince En Avignon" (Apple 9), sung in French and only put out in France, appeared around the same time, and both singles share the same B-side, George Martin's "The Game".
Meanwhile, Mary's second U.K. 45 was "Goodbye"/"Sparrow" (Apple 10). This appeared some seven months after her initial breakthrough, and as the A-side was an original Paul McCartney song, it was a guaranteed global success. Like its predecessor, "Goodbye" had no U.K. picture cover, so each foreign edition is likely to be unique. Richard DiLello, Apple's self-styled House Hippie, reports in his hilarious book, "The Longest Cocktail Party" (a recommended read, incidentally), that "Goodbye" appeared simultaneously in 26 countries (the 'NME' at the time mentioned 28). Most collectors, though, begin to struggle after about 15!
"Que Sera Sera"/"Fields of St. Etienne", Mary's fifth worldwide single, is still shrouded in mystery. It was slated as a U.K. September 1969 release on Apple 16, but that number was also given to another Apple recording - a version of the Beatles "Two Of Us" entitled "On Our Way Home", by a New York trio, Mortimer. Neither single actually surfaced; in fact, no Mortimer recordings were ever released by Apple. "Que Sera Sera" was later re-numbered Apple 27, but again failed to reach the U.K. shops. When it finally did appear, almost a year later, Britain still missed out, although it was issued in Australia (A 9190), the U.S. and Canada (both Apple 1823), Germany (006 91624/Apple 28), in the other parts of Europe (006 91624) and Japan (AR 2584).
While Apple was still deciding whether to release "Que Sera Sera", "Temma Harbour"/"Lontano Dagli Occhi" (Apple 22) was released world-wide. As "Lontano Dagli Occhi" had been already issued as an A-side in Spain (H 430) and Italy, Nilsson's "The Puppy Song", from "Postcard", was chosen as an alternative B-side (Apple 22 C) in those countries. Not wishing to miss out, Japan chose to release both versions (AR 2446 and AR 2823).
Mary's 'Eurovision Song Contest' entry for 1970, "Knock Knock Who's There" backed with "I'm Going To Fall In Love Again" (Apple 26), is her least sought-after release. U.S. and Canadian copies (Apple 1855) have a different B-side "International". Probably the least likely country to play host to a Mary Hopkin single was pre-Revolutionary Iran. The old Apple label distribution problem hadn't been solved here either, and "Knock Knock Who's There"/"I'm Going To Fall In Love Again" appeared on a four-track EP on the local Top 4 label, alongside the Beatles' "Let It Be"/"You know My Name". There's no reference to Apple on the disc, though, suggesting the release was unofficial.
Mary's next single was "Think About Your Children"/"Heritage" (U.K. Apple 30) with the A-side written by Hot Chocolate. After the initial interest surrounding "Those Were The Days" and "Goodbye", sales of Mary Hopkin's 45s began to decline, though she made a brave attempt to repeat past glories by re-recording her next single in two foreign languages. "Let My Name Be Sorrow"/"Kew Gardens" (Apple 34) was issued in French (2C 006 92 692) and Japanese (AR 2890), and these are among Mary's rarest singles. The standard English version received a relatively limited release in countries like Germany, Holland, Italy and Portugal. Most picture sleeves incidentally seem to mirror the U.K. design.
Mary's final Apple offering, "Water, Paper And Clay"/"Jefferson" (Apple 39) remains her most stirring single, yet many countries ignored it. Outside Britain, it only appeared in Holland (5C 006 93074), Portugal (N-38-26), Japan (AR 2958), and in the U.S. and Canada (both Apple 1843). The latter three territories lifted Ralph McTell's "Street Of London" from Mary's second Apple album, "Earth Song-Ocean Song", as the B-side.
by Andy Davis