The idea for The Beatles’ Apple Corps began to take shape following the death of their manager Brian Epstein; their newly formed company’s first project was the film, Magical Mystery Tour. Apple Records was officially founded The Beatles return from India in 1968.
The Beatles were contracted to EMI’s Parlophone label in the UK and Capitol Records in America and they struck a new distribution deal with the two companies to distribute Apple Records’ releases. Beatles recordings issued in the UK on Apple had Parlophone catalogue numbers, while US issues had Capitol catalogue numbers.
On 26 August 1968 Apple released four singles in the UK. There was the Beatles, ‘Hey Jude’ backed by ‘Revolution’, with its Parlophone number, but the now familiar Apple record centre. Apple 2 was Mary Hopkin’s ‘Those were the Days’, produced by Paul McCartney. Apple 3 was Jackie Lomax’s ‘Sour Milk Sea’, a song written and produced by George Harrison and Apple 4 was ‘Thingumybob’ by the Black Dyke Mills Band. This was a Lennon and McCartney instrumental that was the theme to a Yorkshire Television sitcom of the same name starring Stanley Holloway.
‘Hey Jude’ topped the UK singles chart for two weeks from 11 September and was replaced at No.1 by Mary Hopkin’s ‘Those Were The Days’ that stayed at No.1 for six weeks from 25 September. No other record company has had such conspicuous success with it’s first two releases. Neither of the other releases charted.
Apple 1 was a one-off pressing of Frank Sinatra singing ‘Maureen Is a Champ’ (with lyrics by Sammy Cahn) to the melody of ‘The Lady Is a Tramp’ for Ringo Starr‘s then-wife Maureen as a surprise gift for her 21st birthday.
Listen to Come And Get It: The Best Of Apple Records and dig deeper into the label’s early classics.