In 1966, The Beatles’ accountants explained that they needed to pay £2 million to the Inland Revenue for past taxes. Alternatively, they could invest the money in a business venture. A portfolio of businesses was established including Apple Films, Apple Electronics, Apple Retail as well as Apple Records, Apple Studio (later renamed Apple Studios) and Apple Publishing.
This is not the first compilation of recordings made with the Apple name, but previous sets have focussed on either Apple Records or Apple Publishing. The most comprehensive release that concentrates on Apple Records is called “Apple Records Box Set” and comprises 17 CDs, currently on sale for £284. A single CD, “Come And Get It – The Best Of Apple Records” was released at the same time.
Five further CDs have been released and each of them is a collection of songs made by artists who were signed to Apple Publishing rather than records issued on the Apple label. They are called “94 Baker Street: The Pop Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 67-69”, “An Apple A Day: More Pop-Psych Sounds from the Apple Era”, “Treacle Toffee World: Further Adventures Into the Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era”, “Lovers from the Sky: Pop-Psych Sounds of the Apple Era 1968-1971” and “94 Baker Street Revisited”.
This is a 5 CD box set from Grapefruit Records which includes 107 songs recorded under the Apple auspice. It is currently on sale for £32. It is a mixture of songs recorded for Apple Records, Apple Publishing or at Apple Studio. Disc 1 consists of songs recorded for Apple Records but never officially released. Discs 2 & 3 comprise tracks from Apple Publishing. Disc 4 contains music recorded in Apple Studios at 3 Saville Row. Disc 5 has songs recorded as demos in the original Apple Studio at 94 Baker Street.
Listening to the music on this compilation has been a real joy and my pleasure has been accentuated by reading the stories surrounding the many beautiful young people who flocked to Apple in the late Sixties to see if any of The Beatles’ magic could rub off on them. The personal histories of the artists on these five CDs encapsulate the wonder, optimism (and naivety) of the Sixties.
Terry Doran was born in Liverpool and sold George Harrison his first car in 1962. He later sold an eight seater van to The Beatles. After he moved to London, he set up a car dealership company with Brian Epstein and sold The Beatles 12 different cars over the next few years. He also supplied cars to members of The Rolling Stones, The Moody Blues and The Yardbirds. In August 1967, Brian Epstein died and The Beatles chose to manage themselves. This led to the formation of Apple which was going to be big business run by the younger generation. There were many different facets to the Apple organisation and one of them was Apple Publishing which ensured that songwriters received royalties for their compositions. In the spirit of the times, The Beatles asked their friends to take on key positions in Apple and Terry Doran became Head of Apple Publishing despite no previous relevant experience. In the same way, John Lennon’s childhood friend (and former Quarryman) Pete Shotton was made Head of The Apple Boutique.
Terry Doran is said to have suggested the word “fill” to John Lennon when he couldn’t think of what the holes could do to the Albert Hall in “A Day In The Life”. He played some percussion on “Strawberry Fields Forever” but Paul McCartney had denied that Terry Doran was the “man from the motor trade” in “She’s Leaving Home”.
Disc 1 features songs recorded for Apple Records but never officially released.
Grapefruit and George Alexander
The Easybeats were an Australian band who had an international hit in 1966 with “Friday On My Mind”. The founding member of The Easybeats was George Young and he had an older brother, Alexander Young, who went by the name of George Alexander. The two brothers had two other brothers, Malcolm and Angus and they formed AC/DC. The family were from Scotland and everyone except Alexander Young emigrated to Australia after “the big freeze” of 1963. He remained in Britain and was signed by Terry Doran in 1967 as a solo singer songwriter.
Around the same time, John Perry contacted Terry Doran, hoping to secure a publishing deal. Along with Geoff and Pete Swettenham, John Perry was a member of The Castaways who were Tony Rivers’ backing group. (Tony Rivers had a full career after the demise of The Castaways. Amongst many highlights, it’s his voice singing the theme tune to “Whatever Happened To The Likely Lads” and he sings the version of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles” which is played before every home match at West Ham United.) Terry Doran wasn’t impressed with John Perry’s songs but suggested that the three members of The Castaways get together with Alexander Young to form a new group which they called Grapefruit.
Grapefruit had a brilliant song called “Lullaby” (or “Lullaby For A Lazy Day”) which was not released until 2002. However, John Lennon heard it and liked it. Paul McCartney and John Lennon produced a version of the song in January 1968 but due to their being in India and a miscommunication at the record label, “Elevator” and “Yes” were released as a double A side. “Lullaby” is the only song ever to be produced by Lennon/McCartney. It is the opening track on this compilation.
In 1964, Yoko Ono, published a book called “Grapefruit” which consisted of a number of “event scores” or instructions to the reader. For example “Imagine the clouds dripping. Dig a hole in your garden to put them in”. Possibly, the John Lennon songs, “Julia” and “Imagine”, were inspired by this. When John Lennon was asked about a name for this new group, he suggested Grapefruit. It also happens to be the name of the record label that issues these fantastic late 60s/early 70s compilations.
“Good As Gold” includes 5 songs by Grapefruit including “Dear Delilah”, which rose to Number 21 in the U.K. Charts. Grapefruit released two albums while they existed, the first of which, “Around Grapefruit” (1968) I’ve just acquired and it’s amazing.
Stephen Murray changed his name to Tymonn Dogg and for the three songs on Disc 1, he was known simply as Timon. After some early gigs at The Cavern in 1965, when he was 15 years old, he moved to London and was signed by Pye Records to record a single backed by Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones. He moved to Apple Records in 1968 and recorded three great songs , this time backed by Paul McCartney on piano, who was on the point of breaking up with his long term girlfriend, Jane Asher. Her brother, Peter had had a hit (as Peter and Gordon) with a Paul McCartney composition, “World Without Love” and, in 1968, he was was the A&R man at Apple, assisting with Timon’s recordings. Peter and Jane Asher’s mother, Margaret, had taught Beatles producer George Martin at The Guildhall School Of Music And Drama between 1947 and 1950. Everything is connected. Tymonn Dogg later shared a squat with Joe Strummer, wrote two songs for The Clash and became a member of The Mescaleros as well as releasing seven solo albums.
Trevor Bannister was the only member of the group called Contact. Jim Capaldi from Traffic produced the three songs on Disc 1 and “Lovers From The Sky” is a magnificently raging song that reminds me of Love’s “Seven And Seven Is”. He decided on the name Contact because, at the time, he had a big interest in contact with people from other planets. He met someone called Johan Quanjer who he actually believed was from another planet until he saw him working in the furniture department at Harrods, at which point his interest in alien species disappeared. However, the group name remained even though none of their songs were ever released. Johan Quanjer became the first non-British national to ever stand in a UK election when he stood in the London South West Constituency in 1994 on the platform of the Spirit of Europe. I’m digressing.
Drew And Dy
Pete Dymond and Keith Drewett (Drew and Dy) recorded three songs in 1968 which were produced by Paul McCartney. On the film of “Let It Be”, The Beatles can be seen busking a version of Drew And Dy’s “Tales Of Frankie Rabbitt”. A year after the recording, there was no indication that an album would be released so Pete Dymond phoned up Paul McCartney to enquire whether there was any progress. Paul McCartney said “Don’t you trust me“. Pete Dymond replied “Of course we trust you, but it’s been a year and we haven’t had a record out.” Paul McCartney said “Do you want out of your contract then?“. Pete Dymond said “Yes“. Thirty years later, Pete Dymond said “It was the stupidest thing I ever did in my life.” They never did release an album.
Stephen Friedland was a member of The Tokens who produced and played on “He’s So Fine” by The Chiffons. The Tokens set up their own music publishing business called Bright Tunes and, in 1971, they filed a suit of claiming that George Harrison had plagiarised “He’s So Fine” in his composition, “My Sweet Lord”. The court case took 10 years to complete and, as part of the settlement, George Harrison purchased Bright Tunes. In 1969, having changed his name to Brute Force, Stephen Friedland sent a copy of his song, “King Of Fuh”, to Apple. Both John Lennon and George Harrison loved the song, especially when Brute Force sung about the Fuh King, but EMI refused to distribute it and so it remained unreleased. Stephen Friedland persisted with the joke over many years and, in 2006, he started in his own musical comedy, “The King Of Fuh”, at The Players Club in New York City. On “Egypt Station”, Paul McCartney included a song called “Fuh You”.
Peter Asher produced Mortimer’s cover of “Two Of Us” which they called “On Our Way Home”. However, this band (which consisted of three American musicians, none of whom subsequently continued in the music business) were amongst the many victims of Allen Klein’s 1969 Summer Of The Long Knives and the single, which would have been released a full year before its appearance on “Let It Be”, was never released. Mortimer recorded an album with Peter Asher producing but it was never released. One day in 1969, Guy Masson of Mortimer, supped some lunchtime pints and then stormed into Allen Klein’s office demanding some action but he was removed from the building and the group broke up soon afterwards.
Discs 2 and 3
Discs 2 & 3 comprise tracks from Apple Publishing.
The U (Don’t) Know Who
Bachdenkel were a group from King’s Heath in Birmingham who were known as The U (Don’t) Know Who when they recorded the three songs that are on this compilation. “An Apple A Day” particularly appealed to Terry Doran who regarded it as an Apple theme song. Sadly it was not released until 2006. A track by Bachdenkel called “Through The Eyes Of A Child” appeared on “Lullabies For Catatonics. British Avant-Pop/Art Rock Scene 1967-74“. Bachdenkel relocated to France in 1968 and subsequently released two albums.
Sands and The Cyrkle
Pete Hammerton, Bob Freeman (aka Rob Tolchard), Ian McIntock and Ray Cook were from Middlesex and in the Summer of 1966, having experimented with names such as The Others, The Emotions and The Army, finalised on Sands, named after a coffee bar in New Bond Street. Ray Cook had worked in The Tridents with Jeff Beck and in August 1966 he left to reunite with him. B J Wilson joined the group for a year but, in 1967, he joined Procol Harum. The Cyrkle were an American band who opened for The Beatles on their USA tour in 1966. Their song “Red Rubber Ball” sold a million copies and reached Number Two in the Billboard Charts. Tom Dawes, one of the two vocalists/lead singers went on to write the “plop plop fizz fizz” jingle for Alka-Seltzer before producing two albums by Foghat, formed when Savoy Brown disbanded in 1971.
Before Brian Epstein died, he was courting Robert Stigwood (who was a partner in NEMS) with a view to possibly relinquishing his role as The Beatles’ manager. In order to help Apple Publishing in their early days, Robert Stigwood donated “Listen To The Sky” by Sands and Brian Epstein donated “Words” by The Cyrkle to the fledgling organisation.
Andy Ellison formed a group called The Silence who were described by the Yardbirds manager, Simon Napier-Bell, as the worst group he’d ever seen. Nevertheless, he agreed to manage them and he changed their name to John’s Children – a year later he fired their guitarist and replaced him with Marc Bolan. After the band broke up, Andy Ellison recorded “Fool From Upper Eden”, a song written by George Alexander of Grapefruit. He later went on to be a member of Jet and The Radio Stars.
The Ways And Means
George Alexander also wrote a song called “Breaking Up A Dream” which Grapefruit tried to record but ended up giving it to a band called The Ways And Means whose big break came from winning a talent contest at a carnival in Margate. They celebrated by changing their name from The Others and recorded a cover of The Beach Boys’ “Little Deuce Coup”. As The Ways And Means they turned down an opportunity to record “Baby, Now That I’ve Found You”, which writer Tony MacAuley subsequently offered to The Foundations. After “Breaking Up A Dream” failed to chart, despite it being a terrific track, the band changed their name to Chaucer’s Tales and became a comedy act. Drummer Dave Legge changed his name to Dave Lee and became a comedian, acting as a warm up for Jimmy Tarbuck as well as appearing on TV in “The Generation Game”. He died in 2012.
Before joining Strawbs, Dave Lambert was in a North London trio called The Fire. The group were signed to Decca Records and Apple were contracted to publish the songs. A killer single, “Father’s Name Is Dad” was recorded but either Paul McCartney or George Harrison insisted that the sound could be improved and so Decca withdrew the single despite the publicity that the strength of the song was generating. By the time that the re-recorded version was issued, the moment was lost and the single failed to chart. The B side, “Treacle Toffee World” is almost as good. The two sides make a perfect 1968 single which deserved to be a big hit.
Denis Couldrey and The Next Collection, Promise and Second Hand
Denis Couldrey was the organ player in an obscure group called Felius Andromeda whose bass player, Alan Morgan, subsequently formed a band called Promise. Denis Couldrey had previously recorded a single for Decca, backed by a group called The Next Collection which subsequently transformed into Second Hand.
Jackie Lomax was born in Liverpool and joined a band called Dee and the Dynamites before they merged with The Undertakers. The Beatles had been the first act to play at the newly created Star Club in Hamburg in 1962 and The Undertakers played there soon after. On their return to Liverpool, The Undertakers turned down an offer from Brian Epstein to manage them and signed with Tony Hatch from Pye Records instead. In 1965, along with The Pete Best Band, The Undertakers travelled to New York but were abandoned by the record producer who had lured them there with a promise of fame and fortune. Jackie Lomax remained in New York, playing clubs in Greenwich Village. He knew Cilla Black from The Cavern Club, where The Undertakers had played on a regular basis and, during a chance meeting with her in New York, was encouraged to renew contact with Brian Epstein who signed him to NEMS. He formed a group, The Lomax Alliance and recorded a fine album which was never released. Despite interest from Robert Stigwood, Jackie Lomax contacted John Lennon who put him in touch with Terry Doran. After hearing several of the demos that Jackie Lomax made, George Harrison offered to produce his first album and even offered him a song, “Sour Milk Sea”, that he had written in Rishikesh. When The Beatles broke up, Jackie Lomax was left without a contract. His first project was to form a band called Heavy Jelly after a hoax advert for a fictitious group was placed in “Time Out”. However, Skip Bifferty also formed a band with the same name and it was this band whose song “I Keep Singing That Same Old Song” was included on “Nice Enough To Eat“. Jackie Lomax’s band owned the copyright to the name and so Skip Bifferty stopped any further development. Jackie Lomax wrote all the songs for Heavy Jelly’s first (and only) album which, due to a contractual dispute with Apple, was not released until 2014. (Confusingly, Simon Napier-Bell also created a group called Heavy Jelly with vocals by Ray Singer who owned Singer Records and produced the first two albums by Japan.) Jackie Lomax continued to record sporadically until his death in 2013.
After signing to Apple Publishing in 1968, Joker temporarily moved to Germany but, on their return, found that Terry Doran (Head of Publishing at Apple) had been replaced and, apart from two demos, they were never deemed good enough to secure a record deal.
Ewan Stephens, Vic Jansen and Jeff Peters were friends and neighbours of Ray and Dave Davies in Muswell Hill. Dave Davies produced some demos for their group, The Brood and through his connections, they were subsequently managed by John Mason, “the car dealer to the stars” (I thought that was Terry Doran), who had his clients Keith Moon and John Entwistle produce another session for them in 1967. John Mason then introduced The Brood to Tom Keylock, The Rolling Stones’ tour manager, who, along with Kirk Duncan of the Spencer Davis agency, secured them a recording contract with Decca and a publishing deal with Apple at which point, they changed their name to Turquoise. The Rolling Stones allowed them to use their rehearsal space in Docklands and the group hung out with The Who and The Kinks. They were young musicians in London in the late Sixties. Life couldn’t get any better. Unfortunately neither of their singles became hits and they split up in 1969.
Rawlings And Huckstep
Despite “Forgive And Forget” being highly regarded at Apple, no artist ever covered it and all that remains of their music is two demos.
Pete Pinckney became the leading songwriter in progressive band, Aubrey Small, after coming to the attention of George Harrison. The Beatle popped into the Apple offices one day and heard “Soldier” by Lace, Pete Pinckney’s band from Portsmouth.
The Beatles invited anyone who wanted a record or publishing contract to send tapes into their offices. So many people responded that most of them were not listened to. One of the people tasked with trying to find something was John Hewlett, who had been in John’s Children. He was initially hired to carry out promotions but when he took a Jackie Lomax record to the BBC and said “I think it’s pretty crap, but would you play it?“, he was moved to the room full of tapes. The only person who got a deal through sending in a tape was Peter Cooper. John Hewlett said “Peter was a little shaky. He had ability, but his marriage broke up and he had problems.” He composed 28 songs for Apple Publishing and Giorgio Gomelsky (owner of The Crawdaddy Club, manager of The Yardbirds etc) produced “Evil Loving Woman” but it was never released and Peter Cooper disappeared from the scene.
The Misunderstood were formed in Riverside, California in 1963, originally as a surf group called The Blue Notes. They changed their name to The Misunderstood and, in 1966, came to the attention of a British DJ who was in America, using his Englishness to pretend he was a Beatles expert. John Ravenscroft’s ear was caught by The Misunderstood who were playing “the most unbelievable stuff I’d ever heard” at a gig to mark the opening of a new shopping centre. He arranged for them to cut a single in Hollywood’s Gold Star Studios but with neither fame nor fortune imminent, he suggested the group head to London. He said that the band could stay at his mother’s house but he forgot to tell her that. Guitarist Greg Tredway recalled, “John told us that his mom would be expecting us and that we could stay at her flat until we were settled. In fact she knew nothing about it. We stood in front of her flat for eight hours with with all our equipment whilst she called John back in the States to find out ‘what these four long hairs were doing outside’“. John Ravenscroft’s brother, Alan, got them a record deal with Fontana records and after a sensational live performance to the press at the record company’s headquarters, they played at The Marquee Club, watched by Pink Floyd and The Move. Sadly, that was the end of the band as three of the band had work permit problems and, temporarily, relocated to Germany before being deported back to The States. Rick Brown, the lead singer and songwriter in The Misunderstood had been drafted and returned to the USA where he was forced by aggressive marine sergeants to crawl under live machine gun fire and race through clouds of poison gas whilst (unknown to them) he was tripping on acid. He was smuggled off the army base and returned to Britain where he shared a flat with Jeff Beck. The FBI caught up with him in London and he spent 12 years as a fugitive in India, living as a monk. I’m not making this up. After a disagreement with one of the monks, he travelled to Southern India where he met up with a friend who had uncovered a secret ruby mine and found some magical jewels (according to The Misunderstood’s website). This started a lifelong interest in gems and, after being granted an amnesty in 1979, he now works as a gemologist and jewelry designer in Bangkok. Glen Ross Campbell subsequently formed Juicy Lucy, who had a hit with “Who Do You Love” which had been the B side to The Misunderstood’s second single, the classic “I Can Take You To The Sun”. John Ravenscroft changed his name to John Peel and, shortly before his death, he said “If I had to list the ten greatest performances I’ve seen in my life, one would be the Misunderstood at Pandora’s Box, Hollywood, 1966. My god, they were a great band!“
The Mustangs changed their name to The Majority when they relocated from Hull to London in 1965. They cut eight singles, including a cover of a Ray Davies song, “A Little Bit Of Sunlight” but none of the songs charted. They backed Barry Ryan, moved to France, changed their name to Majority One and covered a wonderful song by George Alexander called “Charlotte Rose” but still found that success eluded them.
Danny Kalb and Stefan Grossman
Danny Kalb was a member of The Blues Project, whose album, “Live At The Cafe Au Go Go” consludes with a version of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love”, which has also been covered by Quicksilver Messenger Service and Juicy Lucy (the band that Glen Ross Campbell formed after The Misunderstood broke up) . Stefan Grossman is a renowned acoustic guitarist who has released over 50 albums.
Gallagher and Lyle and The Cups
Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle had been in a group called James Galt and, when they moved to London, they met Terry Doran in the offices of the pirate station, Radio London. Terry Doran enthused about Apple and the duo signed a publishing deal before realising that Apple had anything to do with The Beatles. Every week, they would go into the Apple offices, hand in whatever songs they had written and get a cheque for £25 each. When Paul McCartney was looking for a B side to Mary Hopkin’s second single, “Goodbye”, he asked all the writers for Apple Publishing to submit a song. Gallagher and Lyle were presented with a cake by Paul McCartney for their song, “Sparrow”. Paul McCartney has always had a fascination for songs about birds: “Blackbird”, “Single Pidgeon”, “The Great Cock And Seagull Race”, “Bluebird”, “Jenny Wren”, “Two Magpies”, “Long Tailed Winter Bird”, “Morse Moose And The Grey Goose”, “Winter Bird”, “On The Wings Of A Nightingale” (written by Paul McCartney for The Everly Brothers) and “Songbird In A Cage” (written for Charlotte Gainsbourg).
Gallagher and Lyle released a single called “Good As Gold” (the name of this compilation) using the pseudonym, The Cups, but it failed to chart. Soon after this they left Apple and formed McGuinness Flint, writing their Number Two hit, “When I’m Dead And Gone”.
Legacy later evolved into a group called Gypsy, not realising that there was a highly successful West Coast band with the same name.
On a visit to London in June 1967, Paul Tennant and Dave Rhodes decided to drive past Paul McCartney’s house in Cavendish Avenue. By chance, they saw him driving his mini out of the driveway so they followed him to Hyde Park where he got out to walk Martha (his sheepdog). They accosted him in Hyde Park and pestered him to listen to their songs and eventually he gave them Terry Doran’s phone number. They recorded four demos and Terry Doran played the songs to John Lennon and Brian Epstein who were both very enthusiastic. Brian Epstein suggested they call themselves Focal Point. Several months later, “Love You Forever” was released as a single but it flopped and Apple quickly stopped supporting the band.
Coconut Mushroom originated from Portsmouth in 1967 from two local bands, The Inspiration and Tangerine Slyde and they were signed to Apple Publishing by producer Mike Berry. “Run” and “Time Will Tell” were projected to be released as a single by Decca, but the label pulled out. Mike Berry arranged for the band to record cover versions of chart hits which would then end up on various budget LPs (e.g. Top Of The Pops samplers). Members of the band were also employed by Mike Berry to record a version of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”. The version was then released under the name of Good Ship Lollipop (a real band from Bideford). Coconut Mushroom’s version of The Who “Call Me Lightning” was eventually given to the Good Vibrations in 1969. Searching for any videos on YouTube by Coconut Mushroom has made me hungry.
The Perishers, from Liverpool, were originally known as Sefton and went on to call themselves Worth. As Sefton, they performed a great version of Scott Walker’s, “Joanna” on Fontana’s “Sounds Like Hits Volume 1”.
Disc 4 contains music recorded in Apple Studios at 3 Saville Row.
Yannis Mardas (“Magic Alex”)
Apple Headquarters moved into 3 Savile Row in 1968 and The Beatles installed Yannis Mardas (“Magic Alex”) into the basement to set up a 96 track recording studio. When the filming of the “Let It Be” film moved from Twickenham in January 1969, they were disappointed to find that the recording studios were unsuitable. Nevertheless, by shutting off the noisy central heating, they managed to complete most of the recording of the album after which, Geoff Emerick redesigned the studios which finally opened on 30 September 1971. The ex-Beatles and other Apple artists had priority access to the studios but anyone was able to book them.
Yannis Mardas was a Greek television repair man who briefly exerted a huge influence on John Lennon. He persuaded The Beatles that he could build a 96 track recording studio and when Apple Headquarters moved into 3 Savile Row in 1968 he was given full license to create it in the basement. However, when The World’s Best Group relocated to the studios in Saville Row in January 1969 to finish recording “Let It Be”, they found that it was unusable for many reasons, one of which was that the sound of the noisy central heating was clearly audible on every recording unless it was switched off (which it was for two weeks in January whilst “Let It Be” was completed (with Billy Preston), using equipment loaned from E.M.I. ). Yannis Mardas was dismissed as soon as Allen Klein took over at Apple and returned to live in Greece. He had joined John Lennon and George Harrison in Rishikesh in 1968 (after the other two Beatles had left) and soon told them that the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had made sexual advances towards Mia Farrow (who later denied this). Believing him, the two remaining Beatles left India and John Lennon wrote a song to take revenge on his former guru, although the other Beatles persuaded him to change the title from “Maharishi” to “Sexy Sadie”. In 2004 Yannis Mardas put 15 items up for sale at Christie’s including a custom Vox guitar which sold for £269 000. He died in 2017.
After Magic Alex was dismissed from Apple, Geoff Emerick took over the refurbishment of Apple Studios at a cost of £1.5 million. It was opened on 30th September 1971. Disc 4 of this box set comprises songs recorded at Apple Studios by artists who, for the most part, were not signed to Apple Records or Apple Publishing. Fanny were an American four-woman band. Tony Hazzard had written songs such as “Ha Ha Said The Clown” for Manfred Mann. Linda Lewis was a highly successful singer songwriter. Stealers Wheel‘s big hit “Stuck In The Middle With You” was recorded in Apple Studios; Gerry Rafferty had played in The Humblebums with Billy Connolly and he would go on to have a huge hit with “Baker Street”. Michael Pagliaro is a Canadian singer, whose debut album, recorded in Apple Studios, is arguably the most wonderful of his 18 albums. Tim Hardin was probably past his best when he recorded his 8th album, “Painted Head”, in 1969; he had already written “If I Were A Carpenter” and “How Can We Hang On To A Dream”. The Sensational Alex Harvey Band recorded many tracks at Apple Studios, including the Jacques Brel masterpiece, “Next”. Fairfield Ski were a group from Birmingham whose management company went broke and their album remained unreleased for over 40 years. John Howard‘s debut album “Kid In A Big World” was recorded at Apple Studios and received very little acclaim in 1975 until a re release in 2004 received very positive reviews in the music press. Chris Sievey staged a sit-in at Apple in 1971 when he was 17 years old, refusing to move until he could meet one of The Beatles. With no ex-Fab Four member available, a compromise was reached whereby some of his demos were recorded in the Apple Studios. Chris Sievey later fronted The Freshies and then turned himself into Frank Sidebottom. Mike McGear was the pseudonym of Mike McCartney, Paul McCartney’s brother and former member of The Scaffold. Badfinger were the most successful non-Beatles act on Apple Records and recorded their third album, “Head First” at Apple Studios in 1974.
Disc 5 has songs recorded as demos in the original Apple Studio at 94 Baker Street.
The Apple Boutique at 94 Baker Street
The Apple Boutique was a retail shop on the corner of Baker Street and Paddington Street and was, according to Paul McCartney, designed to be “a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things”. I never went there. It opened on 7th December 1967 and closed on 31st July 1968 having lost £200 000 (worth around £3.5 million today). The shop was managed by Pete Shotton, one of John Lennon’s best friends from school and former member of The Quarrymen (whose tenure was terminated when John Lennon smashed Pete Shotton’s washboard over his head). The boutique took up the ground floor and basement. Apple Publishing occupied the upper floors and Terry Doran, tiring of hiring studios to record demos by songwriters, installed a primitive recording studio in the attic. It consisted of two tape recorders, two microphones and a battered piano. Disc 5 of this wonderful compilation consists of 23 demos recorded in this attic, most of whom appear on the other discs.
John Hollingshead, Robert and Miles Priestley and Barry Alexander were all frequent users of the attic recording studio at 94 Baker Street but none of them were ever offered a recording contract and none of their songs were ever recorded by other artists. Terry Doran hired an engineer to help him make demos by these three artists as well as many others and he turned to Lionel Morton. He had been the lead singer in The Four Pennies, who had had a Number One hit with “Juliet”. Lionel Morton went on to present “Play School” and “Play Away” for ten years between 1968 and 1977. Lionel Morton married actress Julia Foster (who starred in “The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner”, “Alfie”, “Half A Sixpence” and “Percy” (which also starred Hywel Bennett (who had appeared in a 1965 episode of “Doctor Who” episode called “The Chase”, set in 1996 in which The Beatles were slated to appear as their older selves – Brian Epstein vetoed the idea but the episode included film of them playing “Ticket To Ride” (I’m digressing)))).
“The music industry would change dramatically as the Sixties gave way to the Seventies. The Beatles themselves would split up in early 1970 and, after a brief surge of activity, Apple Records, Apple Publishing and Apple Studios were wound down in 1975. Apple still exists, enjoying great success as the caretaker of the Beatles’ legacy, though today the company’s brief heyday as a music publisher and recording studio are largely forgotten. But the artefacts still remain, collected here, and still ‘Good As Gold‘”. (from the great accompanying booklet written by Stefan Granados who wrote a book I’m currently enjoying called “Those Were The Days 2.0: The Beatles And Apple”).