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Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 13, 1968

Lennon and McCartney give interviews to US press

As part of their promotional trip to the United States to launch Apple Corps, John Lennon and Paul McCartney conducted a series of interviews for newspaper reporters.

The interviews took place in a suite at the St Regis Hotel, New York City. The media organisations included the New York Times.

Among the reporters was Larry Kane, a Miami-based disc jockey who had been a key supporter of The Beatles since their US invasion in 1964. His interview was filmed in colour, and the footage was eventually released with Kane's book Lennon Revealed.

Kane asked Lennon and McCartney about Apple's business aims, their trip to India, thoughts on LSD, US campus riots and Martin Luther King Jr's assassination. Lennon also talks about The Beatles' touring days in the US, particularly their troubled 1966 appearance in Memphis and their first visit to New York in 1964.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 12, 1968

Lennon and McCartney meet Ron Kass of Apple US

On the afternoon of 12 May 1968, John Lennon and Paul McCartney undertook an unusual business meeting: it took place aboard a Chinese junk, sailing around the Statue of Liberty.

The meeting was with Ron Kass, the record company executive who had been recently appointed the US head of Apple.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 11, 1968

Lennon and McCartney promote Apple in New York

In order to launch and promote Apple Corps in the United States, John Lennon and Paul McCartney flew to New York for a four-day trip. It was the first time they had both visited the country together since their final concert in August 1966.

They were joined by 'Magic' Alex, Neil Aspinall, Mal Evans and Derek Taylor, and while in the US met a number of friends business associates.

Lennon and McCartney stayed with their lawyer, Nat Weiss, at his apartment at 181 East 73rd Street. During the trip they did numerous interviews, mainly at hotels. They returned to England on 16 May 1968.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 10, 1968

The Beatles are taking a break today.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 9, 1968

John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Derek Taylor, “Magic” Alex Mardas, and The Beatles’ old school friend, Ivan Vaughan, meet at Apple to plan the founding of an idealistic school for the children of The Beatles and their staff.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 8, 1968

It is reported that The Beatles have been warned that they will have to remove the psychedelic paintings on the Apple Boutique's wall. Public outcry about the painting from nearby businesses was quite intense.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 7, 1968

The Beatles working on their next big album.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 6, 1968

The Beatles composing songs somewhere

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 5, 1968

Mary Hopkin appears on Opportunity Knocks

The singer Mary Hopkin's appearance on television talent show Opportunity Knocks was broadcast on this day. Her performance led to a contract with The Beatles' Apple Records, and the multi-million selling debut single Those Were The Days.

The edition of Opportunity Knocks was shown just two days after Hopkin's 18th birthday. The programme showcased performances from new acts which were judged by public vote. It was recorded two days before transmission at ABC Television's studios in Didsbury, Manchester.

The model Twiggy saw Hopkin's performance on Opportunity Knocks, and suggested to Paul McCartney that the singer might be a good act for Apple to sign.

I was a 17-year-old schoolgirl working at weekends with a group of local boys in a folk/rock band, and after about six months the group split up, so I carried on solo. Then my agent, to my absolute horror, put my name down for an audition for Opportunity Knocks, a good show for hopefuls in the music business but not really the sort of thing I wanted to do. But he persuaded me to go along for experience, so I went and sang a couple of songs; and the next thing I heard was that I'd been chosen for one of the programmes.

Rather reluctantly I made my appearance which, amazingly enough, Twiggy watched. She met with Paul McCartney that following weekend and when Paul was chatting to her about the new record label they were forming, Twiggy mentioned me. About two days later I got a telegram saying, 'Ring Peter Brown at Apple Records'. It sat on the shelf for three days until my mother insisted I ring him.

I was a great Beatles fan so I'd heard all about the Apple boutique, but I didn't make any connection between the Beatles and this Peter Brown telegram. So I rang up and was put through to this guy with a Liverpool accent, who invited me to come up to London and sign a contract. Being a cautious young Welsh girl, I thought, "That's a bit sudden!", and became a bit evasive, so this guy said, 'Well, go and ask your mum then!' I dragged my mother to the telephone and she proceeded to practically drop the thing because he said, 'Oh, this is Paul McCartney, by the way'! I remember racing down the road to tell all my friends who I'd been talking to. The next day they sent a car for us and off I went with my mum to the big city.

We went to the Dick James Music studio. Paul was in the control room and I did a couple of demos for him - Joan Baez and Donovan songs - broke a guitar string and muttered some swear words into the mike. We had lunch - he took us to the Angus Steak House which we were really impressed by - and I sailed through the day in a haze, painfully shy and totally in awe of Paul. I went back home and about two days later somebody rang and said, 'Yes, we'd like to sign you'. So I made another trip to London and Paul said, 'I've got a song that might suit you. I found it years ago and gave it to Donovan and it didn't work out, I gave it to the Moody Blues, they loved it but it didn't happen, and I've been looking for the right sound for it.' Then he strummed this song called Those Were The Days. I loved it immediately, but I must say that I'd probably have liked anything he would have played me at the time! A lot of people think Paul wrote the song, but he didn't. Anyway, we recorded it a couple of weeks later, and five weeks after the release, in September 1968, I was number one.

Mary Hopkin
Record Collector, 1988

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: May 4, 1968

The "Post"