Interview taken from 'Honey' Magazine May 1982
It was only six weeks after she had left school that Paul McCartney sent a limousine to her parents house in Wales and brought her to London to make a record. From singing Carols in Chapel (Silent Night was her favourite) she had been a runner up on Opportunity Knocks for seven consecutive weeks. The song she recorded for McCartney made her Apples first overnight star. Those Were The Days hit the charts on 4th September 1968 and rocketed to number 1.
After 3 years, eight chart entries, a TV series and a Eurovision Song Contest appearance it all came to a stop. She had retired when she was just 21. "It was a conscious and definite decision," she says, 10 years later. "I cut my career short because I was upset and embarrassed by the very commercial things people were pushing me into - the TV series, the The Eurovision, the pantomimes and summer seasons. It was all very lucrative, but I had to give it up to preserve my self - respect."
She moved out to Henley on Thames - an area equivalent in music-biz terms to the Elephants' Graveyard. There she took on the housewife/mother role, grew her own vegetables, wrote a few songs, and appeared very occasionally on stage with folk stalwarts Bert Jansch, Tom Paxton, Ralph McTell. "That was lovely because it meant I could have an outlet for that side of me. But didnt regret giving everything up - I didn't miss the fame or the limelight at all. I continued to get offers of work, which I continued to turn down, my children are still my priority."
Never ambitious, she never considered herself a failure for quiting. Others though did. "I was called a failure, but I think it was the most positive thing I ever did. Self-respect is more important than money. "It was very hard to drop out, and people were always asking me why. But luckily my marriage coincided with my decision to quit so I could use 'I'm starting a family' as an excuse."
The spectre of the past is however always at her side. "It always surprises me that people react to me. I never expected it - I really thought they would forget. When I took the kids to school I thought the parents would think I was just another mum. But I got terribly embarrassed when I realised that they were thinking 'My God, that's Mary Hopkin'. And in the shops people would behave perfectly ordinarily - but I would hear all these mutterings as I went out."
She says the whole experience has been a great character builder. "I feel much stronger now, having given it all up. If I succeeded with a comeback, at least it will be on my own terms."
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