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Apple To The Core
10 January 2014
10.22pm
Billy Rhythm
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Loosely inspired somewhat from meanmistermustard's disdain for Granny Smiths, I thought that I'd make an 'Apple' thread here since I couldn't find one anywhere else.  It's a topic that covers quite the gamut of "experience" for sure, the seeds first planted in 1968 have now fully blossomed into an enormous tree with many branches upon branches of business ideals, but thankfully (or, perhaps not?) Paul, Ringo, Yoko & Olivia are still heavily rooted within the foundation of this, the most magnificent of all Apple Trees (sorry Macintosh, but yer a different barrel of fruit altogether, but you got potential for sure).

 

Going way back to 1968 when the seeds were first planted, I'm still quite astounded by the high calibre of seeds that first beared fruit for the Apple Tree.  The potential was there for this to become the single most successful music enterprise ever, the kind of talent presented during the first harvest was outstanding, to say the least, and only in one's wildest dreams could one ever dream of having such shining apples in their first barrel:

 

1)  Straight up, the logo/name/brand was fabulous.  Instantly recognizable, fresh and the A-Side/B-Side "slicing" a stroke of pure artistic brilliance, perhaps inspired by one of Yoko's art exhibits?  I seem to remember a story about her having an apple on a table at one of her earlier exhibits and John taking it upon himself to have a bite, much to Yoko's dismay.

 

2)  The first two singles released (well, 2 of the infamous 'Our First Four&#39a-hard-days-night-george-10 were two of the biggest selling singles worldwide, ever!  We're all very familiar with the success of 'Hey Jude' for The Beatles, but how about the startling returns on Mary Hopkin's 'Those Were The Days'?  It nearly outsold 'Hey Jude' in fact, and between the two 45 rpms they totaled somewhere in the neighborhood of (forgive me for I'm reaching far into my memory here) 11,000,000 units sold worldwide, figures unheard of for two singles (if my memory is correct, 'Hey Jude' accounted for approximately 6 million to 'Those Were The Days' 5 million), not a bad start for a "fledgling" record label.  Of course, Paul McCartney is to be given much of the credit here, his driving out to see Cynthia & Julian, who John had recently distanced himself from, and writing 'Hey Jules' as a result.  I'll give TV personality Twiggy some credit for referring Mary Hopkin to Paul, but how about his excellent arrangement and notion to earmark Gene Raskin's classic song for Mary, that's the kind of 'Research & Development' that comes at top dollar for most companies, outstanding.

 

3)  The Beatles spent a great chunk of 1968 (over 5 months I believe) on recording the 'White Album' which undoubtedly came at great cost for the company, but this venture was not to go unrewarded, for sales because of the higher priced double album went through the roof when it was released in late November to cash in on the Christmas rush.  Remember that in the UK, 'Magical Mystery Tour' had only been released as a double EP and demand for the first Beatles' album since 'Sgt. Pepper' was staggering.

 

4)  Any fledgling company needs "young and upcoming" talent to sustain its growth, and while there were indeed many "cling-ons" to the coattails so to speak, how about Peter Asher's discovery of James Taylor?  James' (self-titled I believe) debut release in late 1968 was another golden ring for Apple, 'Carolina In My Mind' is still being played frequently throughout the world (I just heard it last week while grocery shopping).  There were many other promising acts being considered and, although Jackie Lomax didn't quite achieve the success that The Beatles, Mary Hopkin, or even James Taylor had received, his George Harrison produced album echoed the promise that a lot of other Apple artists were displaying.

 

All this, and from the first six months of infancy for The Apple!  What a start!  So, what went wrong?

 

Well, that's when the discussion blows wide open.  There are many factors to consider, but first and foremost I have to say that the single biggest problem (which still exists to this day) is that Apple lacked that lone figurehead to steer the ship, it was, and is a case of too many cooks in the kitchen.  The Beatles realised this themselves when seeking out Klein's services only months later, but even then the four chefs could not agree on who to draft the menu...:-) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 January 2014
10.32pm
Ron Nasty
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Ironically, The Beatles recordings never cost Apple a penny because they were never actually on Apple themselves. The Apple label was merely a vanity exercise that EMI allowed them. You only need look at the catalogue numbers, they are all Parlophone numbers.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
11 January 2014
12.39am
Billy Rhythm
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mja6758 said
Ironically, The Beatles recordings never cost Apple a penny because they were never actually on Apple themselves. The Apple label was merely a vanity exercise that EMI allowed them. You only need look at the catalogue numbers, they are all Parlophone numbers.

 

This further underscores a big part of Apple's many problems, it's structure (or, lack thereof) mirrors that of The Beatles & their Associates inexperience to establish a strong foundation on which to build.  Was Apple Records just a "subsidiary" of EMI?  Was EMI a "distributer" of Apple Records?  or, did the Apple take part in "merely a vanity exercise"?  as you say.  The hunt for a "figurehead" or CEO if you will, which occurred many months after the Apple seeds were first planted, should've been given the utmost priority BEFORE Apple was even launched.  However, some of the artistic successes of its first six months may not have seen the light of day had they taken a more "traditional" route of starting such an ambitious enterprise, one thing's for certain, the now famous "this man now owns a Bentley" advertisements would've been squelched by most staunch Executive prospects, and rightfully so.

 

Perhaps one of the most bizarre unexplainable (and more recent) results, was the inability of Apple to retain ownership of their logo which had been a trademark of theirs since Apple's inception in 1968, yet Macintosh somehow came out on top (or, did they?) in the ownership battle with Apple over who owns the iconic Granny Smith branding.  My eyeballs still spin over the end judgement, supposedly it was a "win/win" scenario, but I don't get at all how Macintosh has any claim to that logo, the first Apple computer that I ever saw was in 1983, and it had absolutely nothing to do with The Beatles, was Magic Alex (Apple Electronics) indeed as far ahead of his time as John first thought?  The legal battle also saw to The Beatles finally agreeing to making their music available for iTunes, which was long overdue, but the process was every bit as bizarre as many of Apple's first business ventures, the picture has become even more clouded by time...:-)

 

 

 

  

11 January 2014
1.06am
Ron Nasty
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Apple Records was a wholly independent company owned by The Beatles and distributed by EMI. The problem with The Beatles being on Apple however came about from the simple fact that as a group and individuals they were signed to Parlophone until 1976. They were allowed to use the Apple label on their recordings, but the catalogue numbers stayed within the Parlophone numbering system rather than the APPLE --- used by those acts they signed to their label. There were some albums that Parlophone allowed to have numbers outside their system, especially with solo releases - Two Virgins was not even released by them, as they wouldn't touch it because of the cover. All of The Beatles "Apple" releases as a group carry Parlophone numbers though.

"I only said we were bigger than Rod... and now there's all this!" Ron Nasty
11 January 2014
1.55am
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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It always amazes me how bad many of their business deals were.  I guess for most groups their income was so small anyway that it didn't matter much - but when revenue was blown up into Beatle size proportions the holes show up in the Apples.

11 January 2014
2.11am
Ahhh Girl
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trcanberra said
It always amazes me how bad many of their business deals were.  I guess for most groups their income was so small anyway that it didn't matter much - but when revenue was blown up into Beatle size proportions the holes show up in the Apples.

*pictures worms* ewwww

 

11 January 2014
2.21am
trcanberra
Canberra, ACT
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Ahhh Girl said

trcanberra said
It always amazes me how bad many of their business deals were.  I guess for most groups their income was so small anyway that it didn't matter much - but when revenue was blown up into Beatle size proportions the holes show up in the Apples.

*pictures worms* ewwww

 

Well, I was doing my best NOT to mention worms ...    :)

 

11 January 2014
2.27am
Ahhh Girl
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trcanberra said

Ahhh Girl said

trcanberra said
It always amazes me how bad many of their business deals were.  I guess for most groups their income was so small anyway that it didn't matter much - but when revenue was blown up into Beatle size proportions the holes show up in the Apples.

*pictures worms* ewwww

 

Well, I was doing my best NOT to mention worms ...    :)

 

Oops. Sorry, dude.

11 January 2014
2.31am
trcanberra
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^ Heh - no worries.  When I saw the thread title I had visions of mmm creating a counter-thread entitled: "Apple: Rotten to the core".

11 January 2014
2.54am
Ahhh Girl
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trcanberra said
^ Heh - no worries.  When I saw the thread title I had visions of mmm creating a counter-thread entitled: "Apple: Rotten to the core".

Big LOL. I can see that happening too.

23 January 2014
5.05pm
Billy Rhythm
Shea Stadium
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I'm not sure how many of you have seen this James Taylor interview, but it's a fascinating view.  The interview centers around James' memories of The Beatles, Apple, and in particular, John Lennon.  The big revelation I got from this interview is the fact that James Taylor was actually a neighbour of John's in New York City and even heard the shots fired on that fateful night in December 1980.  Furthermore, he was even confronted by John's killer (I don't mention his name for he's gained enough notoriety for what he's done, I prefer to use Paul's "Jerk of ALL Jerks' expression) during the days leading up to that horrible moment in human history.  I urge anybody who hasn't seen this interview to take the time out for it for it's one of the better "non-Beatle" interviews that I've seen, there's a purity and candidness about James' manner and an honesty here that's all too rare in many interviews, we're even treated to a very poignant version of 'In My Life' by James upon its conclusion, excellent stuff from one of Apple's brightest lights...:-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 January 2014
7.11pm
Funny Paper
America
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Yeah, I watched it a few months ago.  Very interesting.  Perhaps it's just the interviewer's agenda directing the flow of the conversation, but one gets the sense that JT prefers Lennon over McCartney musically, though he and Paul have been good friends for years (Paul helped get him the Apple gig in the first place, and back in 2000, handed him the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame award when he won and the two warmly embraced.)  Elsewhere, I read that JT's favorite Beatles song is "Penny Lane" -- which would obviously put him in the McCartney camp.

Faded flowers, wait in a jar, till the evening is complete... complete... complete... complete...
23 January 2014
10.57pm
Billy Rhythm
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I'm a little unsure of the interview's origins, but it was some sort of commemorative to specifically John Lennon's legacy, not The Beatles, which is why not much discussion is directed at the others or Paul...:-) 

13 March 2014
12.13pm
Billy Rhythm
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Came across this charming little Apple Promo Reel, the highlight for me is Mary Hopkin's performance of 'In The Morning of My Life' that features a Paul McCartney cameo at the end but it's his Sheepdog Martha who steals the show:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JAk-MaAs0o

 

It's also easy to see why John & Yoko were so keen on Magic Alex, I mean that guy is out there!  I would love to have seen an exhibition of his wares, especially that "toilet with a light bulb in it" that George Harrison references on the 'Anthology'...:-)

13 March 2014
8.32pm
IveJustSeenAFaceo
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Nice avatar, Billy

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