A goodly apple rotten at the heart.
Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice
'CAVENDISH AVENUE BECAME WHAT I USED TO THINK OF AS MY bachelor pad,' Paul said. 'There would be lots of people around there. If you wanted to hang out, and you were living in London and couldn't think of anything to do, you'd ring me and say, "What you doing?" So quite a strange assortment of people came through here. Some of my relatives would be staying upstairs, then there might be Mick and Marianne, just because it was a good place to hang. It was a cool place.'
All the old gang whose flats and houses Paul used to frequent would drop in at Paul's place: Robert Fraser, John Dunbar, Miles, Browne, Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Ivan Vaughan, John Lennon, Stash de Rollo, Brian Jones, visiting pop musicians like Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees, film people, artists and old Liverpool chums were soon making themselves at home in the living room or the upstairs music room, 'Paul's mad room', as it was called by the girl fans who camped at his gates.
MARIANNE: Paul was much more accessible. John [Lennon] never was accessible, whether it was in Weybridge or whether it was in some house with Yoko, or whether it was in some house in New York, John was out of it for me, or for most of us, anyway. He used to do a lot of drugs with John Dunbar but hardly anyone ever saw John Lennon at all. Whereas everybody who came to town went to see Paul, and you could always be sure of a welcome.
When Jane was home, this inevitably caused tensions. She and her friends were not into drugs; Paul and his friends were. Jane was determined to continue her career as an actress, whereas Paul thought that she might give it up and devote herself to him. They were at an impasse, but there was still so much friendship between them that neither of them wanted to admit that it wasn't working out, so they let it continue. When Jane was there they would have dinner parties for George Martin and his wife Judy, Mick and Marianne would come round, and Jane would entertain her friends from the theatre. Normal life went on - but it went on mostly apart.
The marathon recording sessions for Sgt. Pepper had begun on 24 November 1966. These often lasted until two or three in the morning, so Jane made her own social arrangements, having theatre people over for dinner or going out by herself. By the time the sessions finished, on 1 April 1967, she had already started the extended tour of the USA with the Bristol Old Vic which would keep her away until 29 May. For these six crucial months at the height of their careers, she and Paul were apart. They were essentially living in different worlds.
On 15 May 1967, Paul was out on the town.
The night I met Linda I was in the Bag o'Nails watching Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames play a great set. Speedy was banging away. She was there with the Animals, who she knew from photographing them in New York. They were sitting a couple of alcoves down, near the stage. The band had finished and they got up to either leave or go for a drink or a pee or something, and she passed our table. I was near the edge and stood up just as she was passing, blocking her exit. And so I said, 'Oh, sorry. Hi. How are you? How're you doing?' I introduced myself, and said, 'We're going on to another club after this, would you like to join us?'
That was my big pulling line! Well, I'd never used it before, of course, but it worked this time! It was a fairly slim chance but it worked. She said, 'Yes, okay, we'll go on. How shall we do it?' I forget how we did it, 'You come in our car' or whatever, and we all went on, the people I was with, and the Animals, we went on to the Speakeasy.
It was the first evening any of us had ever heard a record called 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' with words about feeling seasick. The lyrics were all very strange and poetic and the theme was a famous Bach theme but we didn't know that. We just thought, God, what an incredible record! It was a sort of marker record. It was a benchmark. And we were all trying to guess who it was. So we had to go to the booth and ask, 'What was that one you just played?' and he said, 'Oh yes, "Whiter Shade of Pale" by Procol Harum.' 'Procol what? Is it Latin or something?' And there were rumours went around about what that meant. So all the mystery of the evening.
LINDA: I first met Paul at the Bag o'Nails. The Animals were old friends because I'd photographed them so much in New York, so when I came to London they took me out; and we went to see Georgie Fame at the Bag o'Nails. And that's where Paul and I met. We flirted a bit, and then it was time for me to go back with them and Paul said, 'Well, we're going to another club. You want to come?' I remember everybody at the table heard 'A Whiter Shade of Pale' that night for the first time and we all thought, Who is that? Stevie Winwood? We all said Stevie. The minute that record came out, you just knew you loved it. That's when we actually met. Then we went back to his house. We were in the Mini with I think Lulu and Dudley Edwards, who painted Paul's piano; Paul was giving him a lift home. I was impressed to see his Magrittes.
They met again four days later at the launch party for Sgt. Pepper, an exclusive affair for a dozen journalists and a dozen photographers held at Brian Epstein's house at 24 Chapel Street, Belgravia. Linda Eastman was in London to take photographs for a book called Rock and Other Four Letter Words on which she was collaborating with the journalist J. Marks. She was only given a $1,000 advance, all of which went on her travel costs, but the resulting pictures, virtually impossible to see in the final book because of poor design and printing, now form a major part of her sixties portfolio and have become well known, particularly through the books Linda McCartney's Sixties and Linda's Pictures. The deal that Bantam Books had offered her was so bad that Linda's father, the lawyer Lee Eastman, had advised her not to do it.
LINDA: I said, 'Don't tell me not to do it, are you kidding? I'm going to go photograph all these groups.' So we were in London to take pictures for this book. I'd always wanted to photograph Stevie Winwood because I loved Spencer Davis, I loved Stevie Winwood, and the Beatles. I'd pretty much photographed everybody else. But it was up to me, it's not like Marks rang up people and said, 'I'm with Bantam Books. We want to take your picture.' Nothing was organised, so I had to do it. I took my portfolio around to NEMS at Hille House, and Peter Brown looked at it. I'd met Peter when he and Brian Epstein came to New York, we had mutual friends. So I took my portfolio and asked him to show it to Brian. Brian liked it a lot and wanted to buy some of the pictures, which I loved. I gave them to him in the end. He said, 'Yes, you can photograph the Beatles.' So I got to go to this press conference at Brian's house for Sgt. Pepper. I got one good photo that I liked, which is that thumbs-up one. The rest are just like everyone else's photographs, but for that one I said, 'Oh, come on, guys! You know?' and that shows at least they were relating, because if you believe the press you'd never think John and Paul ever related.
In the photograph John and Paul are shaking hands, John with thumbs up, and the other two laughing. It shows all four in a very good-natured mood. Linda used it on the back cover of her Sixties book. Though she was getting on well in London and meeting lots of people, Linda had a four-year-old daughter, Heather, waiting for her in New York, so as soon as her photographic assignment was completed she flew straight home.
When Jane returned from the USA after her tour with the Bristol Old Vic in June 1967, she is reported as saying, 'Paul had changed so much. He was on LSD, which I knew nothing about. The house had changed and was full of stuff I didn't know about.' Despite her reservations about LSD, she looked happy and relaxed in the photographs taken during the trip to buy a Greek island six weeks later, even though most people on the boat were tripping the whole time.
A few weeks before the Greek voyage, Miles brought Allen Ginsberg round to visit Paul at Cavendish Avenue. Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull were already there, Marianne dressed in transparent white, Mick in a frilly shirt and a white silk scarf so long it trailed across the carpet. He lay draped over the rocking chair with one leg over the arm and told them he had just bought the film rights to Walter M. Miller's post-apocalyptic novel A Canticle for Leibowitz. 'I rather fancy myself as the old monk flapping round the desert in me robes!' he said, fluttering his hands.
Allen Ginsberg had a full rabbinical beard, long hair and was wearing a Tibetan oracle ring and Yoruba beads. Paul: 'I remember him coming round to my house with his harmonium and sitting cross-legged, giving us a little prayer or two. He was charming. The big thing I remember him for was his poetry and his harmonium, his chanting and his singing.' They discussed LSD, and Paul told Allen that the Beat Generation and the local eccentrics on the streets of Liverpool had a lot in common. Mick had been reading Eliphas Levi and for an hour they compared Eastern mysticism and Western ritual magic. It was a typical sixties Cavendish Avenue discussion. As they talked, Paul idly opened some of the parcels that fans had sent him. There was always a sack or two of fan mail waiting in the hall sent over by the fan club in case he felt like browsing through it. In one package there was a red satin shirt and he found some coloured marker pens and began drawing psychedelic paisley patterns on it. When it came time to go, Paul gave the shirt to Allen, saying, 'A present from Swinging London.' Though it was rather too small for him, Allen nevertheless wore it to the Legalise Pot Rally in Hyde Park the next day.
In the living room Paul had a large-scale wooden model of the meditation chapel that he was having built at the end of his garden. It was a glass geodesic dome, like a transparent igloo. A circular platform could be made to rise up into the dome so you were completely surrounded by the glass. It was a perfect place to lie and look at the stars or sit and meditate. Paul took Allen for a walk in the garden to see where it was going to be built. 'Build it out of wood,' Allen advised him. 'You might want to take it down one day.'
PAUL: It was a bit too late by then, they were bringing the concrete and the bricks the next day. But I now tell that story because I think it was quite a wise thought. It hadn't occurred to me then that I might want to take it down. The funny thing is that now it's got Groucho Marx's circular bed in it and my kids suspect my motives. I say, 'It was a meditation dome, I promise you.' They say, 'Yeah, Dad. Sure! So why has it got a great big round bed in it?' And I tell them, well, that's there because Alice Cooper came to see it, when it was a meditation dome, as part of the tour round the house. And he said, 'I've got just the bed for this in LA.' I said, 'What you talking about?' He said, 'Groucho Marx gave me a round bed that was his, and this is the place for it.' And of course it fits exactly. It's changed the vibe of the whole thing; it's not easy to meditate on a big Hollywood bed, you feel more like getting laid!
Alice Cooper first met Groucho Marx on his eighty-fourth birthday in the outdoor garden of the Polo Lounge at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Groucho loved embarrassing people and when he found that Alice didn't take drugs, he immediately called to the waiter, 'Dope! Do you have any dope for my friend? He needs dope,' while Alice squirmed in his seat. They became good friends. In his autobiography Me, Alice, Alice wrote:
Groucho came to visit me at my old house one night but I didn't have any furniture and he refused to sit on the floor. The next day he sent me a round bed that he had slept in for five years. 'I never had any luck in it. Maybe you will,' the note read. Some time later Groucho and I decided to give the bed to Paul and Linda McCartney as an anniversary present. We sent it them in London, with a big brass plaque on the head board that says, 'May all your stains be large ones. From Groucho and Alice.'
Also that month, Brian Jones sat in on a Beatles session at Abbey Road; the only time that the friendship between the two groups resulted in a Stone appearing on a Beatles record. On 10 May 1967, Brian Jones had been busted. Paul had always been close to Brian and understood how worried and anxious Brian must be. He had called to commiserate with him and invite him to come to a Beatles recording session. Three weeks later, on 8 June, Brian showed up at the studio.
PAUL: He arrived at Abbey Road in his big Afghan coat. He was always nervous, a little insecure, and he was really nervous that night because he's walking in on a Beatles session. He was nervous to the point of shaking, lighting ciggy after ciggy. I used to like Brian a lot. I thought it would be a fun idea to have him, and I naturally thought he'd bring a guitar along to a Beatles session and maybe chung along and do some nice rhythm guitar or a little bit of electric twelve-string or something, but to our surprise he brought his saxophone. He opened up his sax case and started putting a reed in and warming up, playing a little bit. He was a really ropey sax player, so I thought, Ah-hah. We've got just the tune.
John had arrived one night with this song which was basically a mantra: 'You know my name, look up the number. You know my name, look up the number.' And I never knew who he was aiming that at, it might have been an early signal to Yoko. It was John's original idea and that was the complete lyric. He brought it in originally as a fifteen-minute chant when he was in space-cadet mode and we said, 'Well, what are we going to do with this then?' and he said, 'It's just like a mantra.' So we said, 'Okay, let's just do it.'
Even though it was fifteen minutes long, it didn't have much substance, it just droned on. So we put it to one side. Then it became a standing joke, a running gag that whenever we'd go to try another song, if we were feeling in a silly mood, we'd say, 'Well, let's do another version of "You Know My Name, Look Up the Number".' It was very easy to do a version of because it didn't have a mound of lyrics to remember. So we did the other versions: we did the nightclub singer, Dennis 'Bell parodying Apple film executive Denis 'Dell, which was me singing, which is a pretty funny piss-take of that kind of thing. It became one of my favourite Beatle records just because we had so much fun putting it together.
The words, like many of John's lyrics, were a found object. John told Playboy: 'That was a piece of unfinished music that I turned into a comedy record with Paul. I was waiting for him in his house and I saw a phone book on the piano with the words, "You know their NAME? Look up their NUMBER.'" John's original idea for it was as a Four Tops type of song but, though it has similar chord changes, it soon developed in a different direction.
PAUL: I remember at one point we asked Mal to shovel a bucket full of gravel as a rhythmic device. We had a bit of a giggle doing those kind of tracks. Mal also played the anvil on 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and came in very useful on 'Yellow Submarine' to turn various devices. He rang the alarm clock on 'Day in the Life'. He was always in the studio if we needed an extra hand. I remember we had one thing that required a sustained organ note, 'Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite', so I said to Mal, 'Look, that's the note. I'll put a little marker on it. When I go "There", hit it.' Which he did. And I said, 'When I shake my head, take your finger off.' So for that kind of a part, he was very helpful. And so on 'You Know My Name, Look Up the Number', Brian plays a funny sax solo. It's not amazingly well played but it happened to be exactly what we wanted. Brian was very good like that.
Brian always had a pleasant word. We always got on like a house on fire. He had a good old sense of humour, I remember laughing and giggling a lot with him. And we would play jokes on him. I remember being in Hyde Park, coming back from John's house in his big chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce. John had a microphone he could use with the speakers mounted underneath the car. We were driving through the park, and ahead of us was Brian's Austin Princess. Everyone used to go around in these big Austin Princesses then, it was a sign you were a pop star. You automatically got one of those. We could see his big floppy hat and blond hair and we could see him nervously smoking a ciggy in the back of the car. So John got on the mike and said, 'Pull over now! Brian Jones! You are under arrest! Pull over now!' Brian jumped up. 'Fucking hell!' He really thought he had been busted. He was shitting himself! Then he saw it was us. And we were going, 'Yi, yi, yi. Fuck off!' giving V-signs out of the car window. So it would be that kind of humour most of the time, really, although you'd sometimes get a chance to quietly talk about music.
Brian was a nervous sort of guy, very shy, quite serious, and I think maybe into drugs a little more than he should have been because he used to shake a little bit. He was lovely, though. I remember being in a car with Chris Barber and I was driving and someone else in the car saying, 'Bloody Brian. On bloody heroin,' and we said, 'Yeah, maybe he is on heroin but we're supposed to be his friends and you can't go around slagging him off.' I think a lot of people used to get a bit annoyed with him but he was smashing. I never really knew his particular tastes, because we'd just meet people on one level: the musician and friend level with a bit of soft drugs generally, and we tended to see the nice side of people.
On Jane's return from America, she and Paul made a last-ditch stand to consolidate their relationship. Jane, unusually, even accompanied Paul to a recording session on 20 July 1967 to see the trumpeter and trombonist Chris Barber, the man who popularised traditional jazz in Britain. He was recording 'Cat Call', an early instrumental of Paul's which had been a part of the Beatles' playlist down the Cavern. Paul can be heard singing in the chorus and shouting 'Please play it slower!' at the end.
PAUL: I knew Chris Barber because he was always down all the clubs. He was from the generation before us but his love of blues meant he would be likely to want to get up and jam with Hendrix and play a bit of trombone. His wife, the jazz singer Ottilie Patterson, strangely enough had been a patient of the doctor who'd owned my house in Cavendish before I bought it. There had been stories of this guy painting the house in midwinter, wearing just a pair of shorts, so I was obviously carrying on quite a rich tradition at this place. I'd said, 'Well, come round for a cup of tea tomorrow.' When Ottilie saw the house, she said, 'Oh yes, this used to be the waiting room' - which is now the kitchen - and 'This was the consulting room.' Chris Barber was a good musician and a good fun, interested guy. He was not patronising. With a few jazz musicians at that time it was, 'Mmm, rock 'n' roll ..." They felt like they knew more scales than we did, or they could read music, unlike us, but not Chris.
Two days after the session, Jane accompanied Paul to Greece with the other Beatles. In August Jane was with him on the trip to Bangor to be initiated by the Maharishi, and during the difficult days following Brian's death she was clearly a great source of strength and comfort to him; someone familiar and safe he could trust and confide in; someone with all the attributes of a wife. They spent the first three weeks of December alone together in Paul's remote Scottish farmhouse and four days later, on Christmas Day, 1967, they announced to Paul's family - perhaps slightly to their own surprise - their engagement.
The year 1967 had been a great one for Paul. He was the prime mover during the recording of Sgt. Pepper and the de facto director of Magical Mystery Tour. The Beatles had had three more hit singles, been seen by 400,000,000 people on the Our World TV show, and had set in motion plans to start their own record company, which was to be known as Apple.
Apple came into existence in April 1967 because the Beatles' tax advisers told them that if they didn't put money into a business, they would have to pay £3,000,000 in tax. Apple Corps was to be the holding company, with a series of subsidiary companies engaged in different business activities: Apple Records, Apple Music, Apple Films, Apple Publishing, Apple Electronics and so on. The boutique was to be run by Apple Retail, headed by John Lennon's old school friend Pete Shotton, who was already running a supermarket on Hayling Island, bought for him by Lennon.
The company logo was suggested by the painting by Rene Magritte, Le Jeu de mourre ('The Guessing Game'), that Robert Fraser had left casually propped up on Paul's living-room table in the summer of 1966. It was one of Magritte's last works, painted that same year, shipped by his dealer to Robert not long after the paint dried. Paul, 'We were sitting around at EMI wondering, "What shall we call this thing?" We were looking through names, A is for Apple, B is for Banana, C is for Caterpillar, and we though, Yeah. Like a schoolbook. A is for Apple. That should be the name of the company. Then I thought, Wow, that Magritte apple is very much "an apple", a big green apple, you know. I told the ad man about it.'
The Apple logo was designed by Gene Mahon, known around the Apple press office as Gene Gluv. He told the journalist Jonathon Green:
Designing the Apple label was a relatively straightforward job. What I brought to it was the idea that it can stand as a pure symbol. Let it never have any type on, put all that on the other side of the record - just designer stuff really. And the apple that had the information on it should be sliced, to give a light surface on which to put type ... I said to McCartney, 'It's a green apple, a big Granny Smith' and he said, 'Oh, good!'
Apparently there were legal requirements which meant that the record company had to detail the record's contents on both sides of the disc - or so EMI said - so the purity of the idea was quickly compromised. However, work on the design progressed. The Beatles went off to India and came back. The photographer Paul Castell's transparencies of apples were narrowed down and one was finally selected. For some reason the die-transfers for the master printing were made in New York. Finally the designer Alan Aldridge, the man responsible for the illustrated books of Beatles lyrics, drew the copyright lettering which surrounds the label. The project took all of six months. Paul: 'So that painting of Magritte's, the "Au revoir", became the basis for that image. That was a great visit of Robert's.'
It turned out that the Beatles already owned a four-storey redbrick building at 94 Baker Street, on the corner of Paddington Street; one of the many investments made on their behalf by their financial advisers. This was immediately requisitioned by the Beatles, who used the ground floor for a boutique and the upper floors of offices as a temporary location for Apple Corps.
'Apple is not in competition with any of the underground organisations, rather it exists to help, collaborate with and extend all existing organisations, as well as to start many new ones,' Paul told Miles in 1967. Some of the underground boutiques, head-shops and music clubs had begun to get anxious about the Beatles' far-reaching plans. No need to be worried, said Paul. 'The idea is to have an "underground" company above ground, as big as Shell BP or ICI but with no profit motive. The profits to go first to the combined staff, so that everyone who needs a Rolls-Royce can have one, then, after that, we'll give them away to anyone who needs help.' The beginnings of Apple were firmly rooted in the ideas of the hippie underground counter-culture of the time: informed by drugs, mysticism and the ideas surrounding International Times, Indica, Release, the UFO Club and other underground institutions which had varying degrees of self-management or collective ownership. Clearly in its original idealistic form it could not, would not, work, and it didn't. It was several years later that Richard Branson started his Virgin group using a watered-down version of the plan, to great success.
Even though he was unable to sell them an island, Alex continued to spin his fantasies about scientific inventions, and less than a month after they returned to London, he was employed by the Beatles to head Apple Electronics. At an Apple board meeting of 24 August 1967, with Paul and John both present, it was agreed to pay Alex a wage of £40 a week, plus 10 per cent of the profit made on his inventions with a minimum of £3,000 a year. As a TV repairman he had probably been earning a maximum of £15 a week. The boat trip had enabled Alex to ingratiate himself further with John Lennon and, though John Dunbar was involved in the early stages of Apple Electronics, Alex quickly elbowed him out of any further involvement.
John Dunbar: 'By then, Mardas had completely taken over John and the Apple recording scene. Alex got money off them and started up this workshop to build them a studio. But Mardas absolutely shut me out. It was one of those scenes. I just thought, Oh, fuck it, if it's going to be like that ...'
Paul: 'So we formed Apple Electronics after having talked about all these things for a while, to just see if he could make any of them. Just to do some research into the whole thing. We didn't really apply ourselves like a great electronics company would and really smack 'em down and really work on it and put a lot into the development of one of these things.'
Apple Electronics rented a garage on Boston Place behind Marylebone Station in the centre of London, and the Beatles would sometimes drop by to see how he was doing, but there was nothing really to see. Just an oscilloscope from his TV-repair days, and a few tools on a bench, and, naturally, an expensive stereo and an expensive car parked outside.
PAUL: As I say, this was John's doing. This was John's guru, but we were all fascinated by the talk, which was rather sci-fi but the idea being that you could do it now. In the sixties there was this feeling of being modern, so much so that I feel like the sixties is about to happen. It feels like a period in the future to me, rather than a period in the past.
I was just going along with the thing. We committed ourselves with Apple Electronics to make the little gadgets of tomorrow: the wallpaper loudspeaker, the phone that would respond to voice commands. We were thinking this could happen in five years, whereas it's taken a little longer. A lot of it is still not online but I think it's accepted that it will be, so we weren't being stupid, but we were probably overreaching. We were thinking, if he's got a little place, he may be able to come up with something. Then we'd involve some big electronics giant and say, 'Come on, Grundig, we've patented this. Surely you'll want this? You could make it great.' We were on to all those sort of schemes but I don't think it was so much to make money as to move things ahead. So the scientific ideas would be available.
We were doing the wallpaper speakers so we could have them! Then I think it just ran on. Our friends would want them too, so that'd be a few more, and then, why not let everyone have them? I'm trying to remember why we even bothered getting involved now. Hopefully for all the right reasons. So we were committed to this electronics company which we registered and he was in some back room trying to develop something, I'm not sure what. I was a bit suspicious. 'Well, what's he got then? What is it we're working on? Is it the loudpaper?' I always sensed that there wasn't going to be a product there, and it was a bit of a wild-goose chase and we'd move on from that to the next thing.
Just as Magic Alex got his electronics company, so the Fool got a boutique. They had dressed some of the Beatles and their wives and girlfriends for the Our World television programme, decorated the chimneypiece and outside walls at Kinfauns, George's bungalow in Esher, and painted John's favourite piano, though, it must be said, not as well as Paul's had been painted by Binder, Edwards and Vaughan. 'We started an Apple clothes shop because we were now dressing in such interesting clothes,' Paul explained, 'and the Fool were making a lot of them. So we said, "Could you make a few pieces that we could take to other people and they could manufacture stuff to your designs?"' The Fool quickly made the Apple boutique into a showcase for their ideas, and no one else's.
Simon Posthuma, the leader and spokesman for the Fool, described how the shop would be: 'It will have an image of nature, like a paradise with plants and animals painted on the walls. The floor will be imitation grass and the staircase like an Arab tent. In the windows will be seven figures representing the seven races of the world, black, white, yellow, red, etc. There will be exotic lighting and we will make it more like a market than a boutique.'
The idea was that everything in the store was for sale; including the furniture, display cases and light fittings. The Beatles said it was to be 'a beautiful place where beautiful people can buy beautiful things'. In addition to adults' and children's clothes, the shop would sell inflatable chairs, hand-painted psychedelic furniture, small musical instruments like flutes and tambourines, Moroccan jewellery and the Fool's own paintings, posters and greetings cards. At the Beatles' expense, all four members of the Fool, accompanied by Pete Shotton, spent ten days in Marrakesh buying fabrics and antiques, eating majoun and smoking hashish. With the exception of the few things they brought back with them, most of the goods they bought were 'lost in the post', if they were ever shipped at all.
Simon told the Sunday Times: 'When they used to open shops it was just after the bread of people, not after turning them on. We want to turn them on. Our ideas are based on love. If you're doing things for people you must be part of the people, not set yourself up as something extraordinary.' Despite this other-worldly attitude to money, the Fool managed to spend something like £100,000 of the Beatles' money. Their previous boutique, a converted barber's shop in Amsterdam called the Trend, had gone bust because of their enormous personal expenditure.
About a hundred outfits were completed and in production before the shop opened; among them were an orange embossed velvet coat with long sleeves, puffed at the elbow, narrow at the wrist, at ten guineas, brocade trouser suits, outdoor coats of heavy tapestry and, at seven guineas, minidresses with long skirts which could be added for evening wear. Marijke and Josje's designs combined elements from many cultures and ethnic traditions. Talking to the press before the boutique opened, Marijke said, 'All the people of the earth are forced to come together now and this expresses itself even in fashion. Our ideas come from every country - India, China, Russia, Turkey. And from the sixteenth to the twenty-first century. There's a bit of everything.'
The clothes looked more like fancy-dress costumes than anything one could wear day to day: court jester crossed with harlequin crossed with Peter Pan, rainbow colours, zig-zag hems, Kate Greenaway layers of flowing fabrics, ballet tights and operatic coats for flower children.
MARIJKE: It is a gradual evolution for the people who will wear our clothes, as it was for us. We have been dressing like this for eight years but gradually we have added things. Boys and girls can't go to offices dressed quite like we are. But we have made velvet suits for boys and dresses for girls that they could begin to wear everywhere. And gradually they will begin to add extra things - a pretty bodice on top of something they may already have - and they will learn to be more creative. That's how it should be, for them to do something too.
Simon insisted that all the labels for the clothes be woven from pure silk. When Pete Shotton refused to authorise this extravagance, Simon threw a tantrum and Shotton took the matter to John Lennon. In his book John Lennon in My Life, Shotton told how he explained to John that from a business point of view it was sheer insanity because the labels would cost more to make than the clothes themselves. He wrote that John replied, 'Oh, just do it the way he wants. Remember, Pete, we're not business freaks, we're artists. That's what Apple's all about - artists ... so fucking what, anyway. If we don't make any money, what does it fucking matter?' It was this approach to Apple which ensured the boutique's demise.
It took the manufacturers Gublick and Schlickstein weeks to get Simon's silk labels exactly right; each design they submitted was always marred by some imperceptible flaw, causing Simon to erupt in temperamental rage, the very opposite of the love vibes he normally beamed at the Beatles.
The Fool wanted a psychedelic mural to cover the entire building but the City of Westminster planning authorities refused permission. Rashly, they decided to ignore officialdom and the weekend before the shop was to open, scaffolding was erected over the front of 94 Baker Street and a team of art students created a huge bearded genie, grinning up the street, surrounded by swirling moons and stars in rainbow colours. It lasted three weeks before the council told them they would send their own workmen over to repaint and charge Apple for the privilege. But the mural was there for the opening.
In the meantime, Magic Alex had received a large sum of money to work on an artificial sun which was going to hover over Baker Street and light up the sky during the boutique's gala opening. Needless to say, at 8.16 p.m. on Monday, 4 December 1967 (the time John Lennon had decreed for guests to arrive for the grand opening), there was no sign of the artificial sun. For some reason Paul and Ringo were also absent and missed the fashion show 'at 8.46 sharp'. In fact, the opening was so crowded that half the stock was trampled under foot as people struggled back outside for air. Even a BBC commentator fainted from heat and lack of oxygen.
The shop opened at the height of the Christmas season and was packed with shoppers from the moment it opened its doors. The stock literally flew off the shelves. The problem was, most of it was not paid for. A knowledge of the retail trade was not a qualification to work at the Apple boutique. To smoke as much dope as John Lennon, however, would get you hired. Since it would have been terribly unhip to complain about a shoplifter, the stock disappeared by the armload, much of it taken by the assistants themselves. Pete Shotton was still vainly trying to keep the enterprise afloat but wrote, 'Even the Fool eventually had to be taken severely to task for their constant expropriation of Apple property; having worn out their welcome with the Beatles, Simon, Marijke, and Josje subsequently split for America. Within seven months the boutique was to lose almost £200,000.'
After this inauspicious start as shopkeepers, during which the Fool got their Rolls-Royce, the chastened, wiser Beatles concentrated on getting the other Apple companies off the ground, in particular the record division. Neil Aspinall began to look for a headquarters building to house the many Apple companies and in the meantime office space was rented above a bank at 95 Wigmore Street, an uneventful eight-storey office block on the southeast corner of Duke Street, chosen in part because EMI, the Beatles' record company and Apple's distributors, was only one street away on Manchester Square. They remained here until the first week of September 1968, when most departments were transferred to 3 Savile Row, leaving only the accountants behind.
Music would be the core business, with Apple Publishing, Apple Films and other related companies as spin-offs. The magazine, the school, the chain of shops, all fell by the wayside and the Apple boutique was closed not long afterwards with the Beatles giving the entire stock away. They began by tempting Ron Kass away from his job as head of Liberty Records International to run the Apple Records division. Peter Asher was appointed the head of A & R. The protective Liverpool bubble that had served so wiell in the past was extended to Apple: Neil Aspinall, then twenty-six years old, was made managing director; the 33-year-old Alistair Taylor, who had witnessed their original contract with Brian Epstein, was made office manager; Tony Bramwell, twenty-three, who had previously worked for Brian, became Denis O'Dell's assistant at Apple Films; the 32-year-old Peter Brown had previously worked as Brian Epstein's personal assistant, and now performed the same role for the Beatles with his customary aplomb; Terry Doran, a 'man from the motor trade', a friend of Brian Epstein's from the fifties, was made head of Apple Music; the 36-year-old Derek Taylor, somewhat inaccurately described by Michael Braun in Love Me Do as 'a reporter given to Italianate suits and talking out of the side of his mouth', who had acted as publicist for the Beatles in 1964-65, was repatriated from Los Angeles to run the press office; and their roadie Mal Evans continued to be on hand as the Beatles' PA during the interminable recording sessions which occupied them for most of the year. They were almost all from Liverpool; people whom the Beatles had known and trusted for a long time. Between them they created a unique institution.
In the difficult course of translating the idea of Apple into reality, it was surprising how much of the original optimism and energy remained; there was an atmosphere of tremendous excitement during the early days of 1968 when the record division was being set up. Peter brought in James Taylor and the Modern Jazz Quartet. George Harrison wanted to release Delaney and Bonnie, and all the Beatles wanted to sign Harry Nilsson. Initially, the record division worked as it was intended: they signed the people they liked, produced their records and played on their albums. It was like an extended musical family. The main problem was money.
The press office appeared at first glance to be the most obvious source of profligate spending, but a few cartons of cigarettes and a large alcohol and hashish bill was nothing compared to the first-class air fares, luxury hotels and nights of expensive schmoozing in fashionable nightclubs that the heads of other departments were charging. Yet for the price of a well-stocked bar, the Beatles became the hippest people in town: everyone who was anyone in the music business dropped by Apple to say hello. Within a few months of the office opening, Eric Clapton, members of the Jefferson Airplane, members of the Doors, members of the Mamas and Papas, Canned Heat, Jim Webb, Terry Stamp, Peter Sellers, Dean Stockwell, Diana Rigg, as well as the owners of Elektra Records, A & M Records and Track Records had all enjoyed the hospitality of the press office. Often as not, none of the Beatles was there to say hello, but the press office acted as their public face and did it for them. Visitors felt as if they had been in their presence and went away happy. Entertaining this many people was an exhausting business, as Derek Taylor commented in the house magazine: 'We've had many guests at Apple, friends. Can't remember any of them. Very stoned, you see. Affects the memory.'
As far as the press were concerned, Paul and Jane entered 1968 as the same fabled couple that they had gushed over four years earlier during the days of Swinging London. They were often seen out on the town, smiling at the cameras; on 21 May, for instance, they had lunch with the singer Andy Williams and his French wife Claudine Longet and that evening attended his final Royal Albert Hall show and the end-of-the-show party afterwards. Paul was able to keep several balls in the air at once, as the logo of his company, MPL, shows. (Paul's logo is of a juggler keeping a sun, a moon and a planet aloft.) He remained interested in the glamorous show-business side of London as well as in the cosmic awareness preached by the Maharishi. His relatives still came to stay and he still saw old friends. Most of all, he continued to write songs.
Paul's ideas on love, marriage and the role of women were formed in the pre-feminist fifties and reflected the northern working-class attitudes of the time. However, unlike many, if not most, male rock 'n' roll lyrics from the period, his songs were never misogynist or overtly exploitative, though they often portrayed a healthy, lusty sexuality. He could never write 'Under My Thumb' or 'Yesterday's Papers'. His songs about women were often thoughtful and appreciative, like 'Lady Madonna', released on 15 March 1968.
PAUL: 'Lady Madonna' started off as the Virgin Mary, then it was a working-class woman, of which obviously there's millions in Liverpool. The people I was brought up amongst were often Catholic; there are a lot of Catholics in Liverpool because of the Irish connection and they are often quite religious. When they have a baby I think they see a big connection between themselves and the Virgin Mary with her baby. So the original concept was the Virgin Mary but it quickly became symbolic of every woman; the Madonna image but as applied to ordinary working-class woman. It's really a tribute to the mother figure, it's a tribute to women. 'Your Mother Should Know' is another. I think women are very strong, they put up with a lot of shit, they put up with the pain of having a child, of raising it, cooking for it, they are basically skivvies a lot of their lives, so I always want to pay a tribute to them.
There's an interesting film director called Alison Anders who did a lot of small-budget films in Los Angeles, who says if you look at my songs there's a great support for the female and that is what made her able to write feminine characters for her screenplays. And she cites many of them in my songs, more than I even knew.
'Lady Madonna' was me sitting down at the piano trying to write a bluesy boogie-woogie thing. I got my left hand doing an arpeggio thing with the chord, an ascending boogie-woogie left hand, then a descending right hand. I always liked that, the juxtaposition of a line going down meeting a line going up. That was basically what it was. It reminded me of Fats Domino for some reason, so I started singing a Fats Domino impression. It took my voice to a very odd place. Richard Perry got Fats to do it. I probably told Richard Perry that it was based on Fats. Recently  I was writing the words out to learn it for an American TV show and I realised I missed out Saturday; I did every other day of the week, but I missed out Saturday. So I figured it must have been a real night out.
On 11 May 1968, Paul and John, accompanied by Neil Aspinall, flew to New York for four days to launch Apple Records and its associated companies in the USA. John brought along Magic Alex to talk about Apple Electronics. The press interviews were held at the St Regis but an afternoon press conference took place on the 14th at the Americana Hotel, where Linda was able to contact Paul again. Linda: 'I was taking pictures and we started talking. He said, "We're leaving, give me your number," and I remember writing it on a cheque. When I got back to the apartment he'd rung.'
Paul was busy that night - they were staying with their New York attorney Nat Weiss on East 73rd Street and most of their time was taken up by a round of interviews, television and business meetings - but he arranged to see Linda the next day by inviting her to ride out to the airport with them. 'Did I want to come along for the ride? I took a bunch of pictures; one of John was used for the cover of Eye magazine but the light was not good in the PanAm waiting room. Anyway, we got to know each other in a car ride a bit; I'm sitting in the middle with my camera bag in between John and Paul. Who knows what was going on?' Paul flew off to London and Linda returned to Manhattan in the limo with Nat Weiss and Neil Aspinall, but five weeks later Paul called her. He was arriving in Los Angeles on 20 June for the Capitol Records sales convention.
In the days before answering machines, people like Linda had an answering service. Calls were automatically re-routed and answered by telephone operators. Inevitably they got to know the intimate details of their clients' lives.
LINDA: It was like having a friend. Different friends. You could tell it was, like, black women living up in Harlem. They'd go, 'Hi, Linda, So-and-so called tonight ...' We'd talk and it was great. So this night it was 'Paul McCartney called and so-and-so called.' Well, that was interesting. Then he called back and said he was going to Los Angeles, staying at the Beverly Hills Hotel, did I want to come out for two days? Now I don't like flying, but then it was like, 'Sure, okay!' 'Diana, my friend, could you look after Heather for two days?'
Heather was looked after, that's all I cared about, and then I booked a ticket at the travel agent right on the corner of Madison by my apartment. Paid for it myself. It wasn't like, 'You send me a ticket and I'll come out.' Got on the plane going to LA, there were these two hairdressers and another girl and we started talking, and they had some pot on this plane and we were all smoking. Things you just wouldn't do now! Paul had just said 'I'm here if you show up,' so I showed up.
Paul had brought along his school friend Ivan Vaughan, the man who introduced him to John Lennon and who was supposedly going to start an Apple school. Tony Bramwell from the Apple office was also there. Ivan was the only one at home when Linda arrived and he let her into the bungalow. When he first got to Los Angeles, Paul had been seeing Winona Williams, an old friend of David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix whom Paul knew from the London club scene, but with Linda's arrival she was quickly disposed of.
LINDA: So at first I was at the Beverly Hills on my own. I remember this beautiful smell of orange blossom or jasmine in the air. We hung out there for a couple of days, it wasn't long at all. I spent a lot of time with Ivan because Paul was doing a lot of press at the Capital convention. Ivan and I just got on like that, it was such a great rapport. Tony Bramwell was with some stewardess and it was all chicks chicks chicks.
It was a short visit. Paul and his entourage returned to London and Linda flew back to New York.
Back in London Paul had his time cut out for him at Apple. The Fool and the Apple boutique had become a big problem. Pete Shotton had been replaced at Apple Retail by John Lyndon, who as early as January 1968 had informed the Fool that there was to be no more expenditure without written authority. Further correspondence with the Fool's business manager Simon Hayes ensued, and in March, Lyndon finally informed Hayes that if the Fool removed any more garments from Canel's workshops he would have no alternative but to exclude them from the premises. Seeing that they had sucked the apple dry, the Fool now moved to New York, where they extracted a large advance from Mercury Records, very sensibly inserting a clause in their contract excluding anyone from Mercury from the recording sessions, 'because they wanted to vibrate with the engineer'. The head of Mercury A & R is said to have literally vomited when he heard the final results, but by then the Fool had already moved on, having arranged to paint the 'biggest psychedelic mural on earth' on the side of the theatre where Hair was playing in Los Angeles. There was nothing foolish about the Fool.
John Lyndon was briefly succeeded as manager of the Apple boutique by an angelic-looking I Ching and Tarot-card reader called Caleb, who cast daily horoscopes for John and whose readings determined all important business decisions at Apple Corps. But the Beatles were 'getting fed up with being shopkeepers' and on 31 July 1968, after ransacking the shelves themselves, they gave away the stock and shut up shop. Caleb ended up in a lunatic asylum. Paul: 'At least when the boutique fell through, to our credit we gave all the stuff away. We just gave the stuff away and closed it.'
Jane missed most of the excitement of setting up Apple because she was still spending most of her time in Bristol. She and Paul had been together for five years, during which time they had both grown and changed dramatically. In the end the relationship came to an abrupt halt. Jane came home unexpectedly from Bristol and found Paul in bed with someone else. A frosty Margaret Asher came over and took away her clothes, cooking pots and ornaments. On 20 July 1968, Jane appeared as one of the guests on Dee Time, then BBC Television's most popular talk show, and told the British public that their engagement was over. 'I haven't broken it off,' she told Simon Dee, 'but it is broken off, finished.'
PAUL: I don't remember the breakup as being traumatic, really. I remember more one time when she was working at the Bristol Old Vic and she'd got a boyfriend in Bristol and was going to leave me for him. That was wildly traumatic, that was 'Uhhhh!' Total rejection! We got back together again but I had already gone through that when we eventually split up. It seemed it had to happen. It felt right.
I liked her a lot and we got on very well. She was a very intelligent and very interesting person, but I just never clicked.
One of those indefinable things about love is some people you click with and some people who you should maybe click with, you don't. Whatever.
Marianne Faithfull, however, never felt the relationship was a lasting one:
I never remember them getting on very well, Jane and him, it was sort of like an act almost, and I can quite see that he would be much happier with Linda because with Jane it would have been very difficult. I love watching people living their domestic life and seeing how that goes. I always thought Jane and Paul were very tense. I do remember very clearly an evening at Cavendish Avenue where she wanted the window shut and he wanted the window open. That really was like a Joe Orton play. It was fucking great. I sat there all night watching Jane get up and open it, and Paul close it, and it was just like, nothing was said. And quite soon after that they split up, which of course I could have told anyone they would.
Paul: 'I got cold feet. It was that, and a few other personal things.'
Not long after they split up, on 29 October 1968, Jane appeared with Victor Henry in the fourth revival of John Osborne's Look Back in Anger at the Royal Court Theatre. This was so successful that it transferred to the Criterion Theatre in the West End on 10 December. It was the watershed in her stage career. In a 1986 interview in Plays and Players she said, 'It was the first time I took myself seriously.' The critics agreed, calling her performance 'her dramatic coming of age'. It established her on a par with Paul in her chosen profession.
Meanwhile, refurbishment began on 3 Savile Row, which Apple bought for £500,000 in June 1968. 'I had asked Neil to look for a great London building,' Paul explained, 'And he found it, 3 Savile Row, Lady Hamilton's London residence, which Nelson bought for her. I thought, If nothing else, that's a good London building.' It was a magnificent listed town house, part of a once uniform terrace built between 1733 and 1735 running the length of the east side of Savile Row, and conveniently close to Nelson's house on Bond Street for him to drop round on Lady H. whenever the urge took him. The Survey of London says that number 3 has good interior features, as indeed it did until a later phase of Apple's history when Allen Klein was to move in and rip the building apart to build a recording studio in the basement. Initially, however, it was beautifully restored, its marble fireplaces cleaned and the ceiling mouldings revealed beneath countless coats of paint. Carpets and mirrors all reflected the building's eighteenth-century origins.
Paul was determined to get Apple Records off to a good start and as well as writing 'Hey Jude', the Beatles' first Apple release, he produced the second release, 'Those Were the Days' by Mary Hopkin.
Paul first heard of Mary at his father's house in Liverpool in May 1968. The model Twiggy and her manager Justin de Villeneuve had just driven up in their new car and came to dinner. They were eating pudding when the conversation turned to television talent-discovery shows. Paul wondered whether anyone ever got discovered, really discovered on discovery shows. Twiggy said she had seen a great singer on Opportunity Knocks, a seventeen-year-old Welsh girl called Mary Hopkin with a high, clear voice. 'She'll win next week,' Twiggy said. 'Don't worry, you'll see her again, I'll bet.'
PAUL: 'So I tuned in next week to see her and she did have a very nice, very soft, well-controlled Welsh voice. And she looked very pretty, young girl, blonde, long hair, so I thought, Okay. Quite right. We should sign her for Apple, maybe make an interesting record with her.'
Next day, several other people mentioned her and it looked as if Mary had made quite an impact. That day Paul had lunch with Twiggy and Derek Taylor at a smart restaurant in Fulham. Twiggy again enthused over Mary. Back in the office, someone got Mary's telephone number from the television company. In his memoirs Derek Taylor reports how he rang her at her home in Pontardawe near Swansea in South Wales. '"Paul McCartney for you," I said to the sound of much sweet disbelief and mellifluous Welshness. (It can't be! Oooh, is it really? Well, I never.) "Paul here," said the great man ...'
In an article in Mebdy Maker to promote the record, Paul wrote:
This beautiful little Welsh voice came on the phone and I said: 'This is Apple Records here; would you be interested in coming down here to record for us?' She said: 'Well, er, would you like to speak to my mother?' and then her mother came on the line and we had a chat and two further telephone conversations and later that week Mary and her mum came to London. We had a nice lunch and went to Dick James' studios in Oxford Street and I thought she was great. She sang a lot of songs on tape and I knew she was great... she seemed to mean what she sang. Most impressive. But at the same time I thought she was very Joan Baez - a lot of Joan's influence showed. We chatted and I said, 'Look, it would be nice, we should maybe sign if you like us and you like the look of the whole thing.' Well, it didn't look too crazy then, obviously we looked all right because she did sign.
Paul has always had a good ear for a catchy tune, and once he has heard it, it remains with him. Three or four years earlier he heard Gene and Francesca Raskin, an American architect and his wife who had an amateur cabaret act, sing 'Those Were the Days' at the Blue Angel cabaret club in Berkeley Square, and it stuck in his mind. Paul tried to get someone to record it at the time because he thought it was so good. He suggested it to the Moody Blues but nothing came of it, and later in India he played it to Donovan, who loved it but didn't get round to recording it. Paul thought that it would be perfect for Mary. He played it to her and she liked it. Paul didn't remember the names of the singers but he called the Blue Angel and they were able to look it up. Paul wrote to Gene Raskin and sent a tape of the tune. 'I asked, "Who wrote that?" and he said, "Well, we did. It's a Russian melody but arranged by us and we put the words to it.'"
David Platz at Essex Music, the publishers of the song, had no lead sheets or demos but he contacted Raskin, who quickly wrote a lead sheet. Paul and Peter Asher, whose job it was to look after Hopkin, found an arranger and Paul decided to produce the record himself. They went into the studio in mid-July 1968. Paul showed Mary how he thought the song should be done. 'I thought it was very catchy, it had something, it was a good treatment of nostalgia. She picked it up very easily; as if she'd known it for years.' At first she sang it as if she didn't mean it, and in fact it must have been difficult for a seventeen-year-old to sing 'those were the days' convincingly since she had no adult past; the song was intended for an older singer. Paul: 'After a few tapes, I kept showing her the way she should sing it and generally worked on it and suddenly she got it and we just put a tambourine on it and went home.'
The B side, 'Turn, Turn, Turn', they recorded in one take and the record was released on 30 August 1968 as Apple 2. The Beatles' 'Hey Jude' was the first record on Apple, but EMI insisted that it keep their catalogue number. Paul used his influence to get Mary on to The Ed Sullivan Show in the USA and The David Frost Show in Britain. 'Those Were the Days' reached number one in the UK, toppling 'Hey Jude' from that position. In the USA, where 'Hey Jude' kept it from top, it reached number two. It was an auspicious beginning for both Mary and Apple Records. To make sure that Mary made as big an impact abroad as he hoped she would in Britain, Paul produced Italian, French, German and Spanish-language versions of Mary's 'Those Were the Days' in the same way that the Beatles recorded German versions of their records in the early days.
Anxious to follow up her success with 'Those Were the Days', Paul made an album with Mary: fourteen tracks, mostly pop standards and show tunes which Mary had never heard of and didn't particularly like. Paul: 'I basically did a lot of tunes that were my favourites that I thought she'd be good at.' He did Ray Noble's 1933 hit 'Love Is the Sweetest Thing', recreating Al Bowlly's arrangement in modern stereo, George Olsen's 1932 'Lullaby of the Leaves' and the 1927 George Gershwin hit 'Someone to Watch Over Me'. 'Inchworm' was originally sung by Danny Kaye in the 1956 film Hans Christian Andersen, which Paul saw as an adolescent, and the old standard 'There's No Business Like Show Business' came from the 1949 Broadway show Annie Get Your Gun.
Mary's favourite tracks on the album were the three written by Donovan, which were closer to her own folk tradition; she had been singing in folk clubs around Swansea for several years. Two tracks, 'Lord of the Reedy River' and 'Voyage of the Moon', Donovan wrote specially for her; a third, 'Pebble and the Man (Happiness Runs)', he had already recorded. Donovan and Paul played acoustic guitars on all three tracks. Paul also asked Harry Nilsson for a song. He sent her 'The Puppy Song', which went on to become one of Harry's own best-loved numbers.
PAUL: She was a very nice girl and good fun to work with. It was all done at EMI. Just go in, do a couple of songs. Then Linda took her down to Kew Gardens and took the cover photograph. I got in touch with Valentines, the postcard makers, and said, 'Will you please make a postcard of this?', which they did for that one summer: a limited edition of postcards. It was rather home-made, a pleasant album to make.
Paul wrote the track listing on the postcard and mailed it to Apple. The card, with stamp and postmark, became the liner information and gave the album its title: Postcard. The album was launched on 13 February 1969 with a reception at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Post Office Tower, then London's tallest building. Paul and Linda stayed to the end, showing the assembled journalists that Apple was really behind its artists. Jimi Hendrix, Donovan and other luminaries made an appearance.
Naturally Mary needed a follow-up to 'Those Were the Days'. Over in Cavendish Avenue Paul quickly wrote one called 'Goodbye'.
PAUL: I didn't have in mind any more Russian folk songs so I just wrote one for her. I thought it fit the bill. It wasn't as successful as the first one but it did all right. My main memory of it is from years later, going on a boat trip from the north of Scotland to the Orkney Islands. The skipper of the boat was called George, and he told me it was his favourite song. And if you think of it from a sailor's point of view, it's very much a leaving-the-port song. He had the strangest Scottish accent, almost sort of Norwegian, as the Orkneyans do. He was quite proud of the fact that that was his favourite song.
'Goodbye' entered the British charts at number five, but didn't make it to the top.
'After "Goodbye", Mary and I didn't work together again,' Paul said. 'She wanted to do a more folky album, and I felt that if she wanted to do that I wasn't really interested in producing it. I don't think it was a very good idea in the end.' The album, Earth Song/Ocean Song, was produced by Tony Visconti, whom she married in 1971. After that, she more or less left the business to have children, though she made appearances on records as diverse as David Bowie's Low in 1977 and an entire album sung in Welsh, The Welsh World of Mary Hopkin, in 1979.
The whole point of having your own record company was that you could release any record you liked. Paul indulged his love of brass-band music and made a single with the Black Dyke Mills Band, the best brass band in the land, playing one of his own compositions called 'Thingumybob', a theme tune for a TV series starring Stanley Holloway. It was one of the first four Apple releases. George Harrison was also heavily involved on the production side. The third Apple record released was 'Sour Milk Sea' by Jackie Lomax, written and produced by George. Jackie was an old friend of the Beatles from Liverpool, where he played in the Undertakers. George produced his first album, Is This What You Want?, and the follow-up single 'New Day', on which Ringo played drums. Paul produced the side, 'Thumbin' a Ride', and played drums on it. Apple also released Wonderwall Music, a film soundtrack written by George which he recorded partly in London, partly in Bombay, with Indian musicians. He later told Paul that the studio had a sign which commanded: 'No spitting on the walls.' Later, in 1969, George was to produce Billy Preston's first album, That's the Way God Planned It, and a follow-up, Encouraging Words, in 1971.
The other major signing to Apple was James Taylor. His group the Flying Machine had acted as a backing band for Peter Asher when he toured America with Peter and Gordon. When Peter was appointed head of A & R for Apple, James was one of the first people he thought of signing. Paul played drums on the track 'Carolina on My Mind' from James's first album, which was issued as a single. James was a good example the talent that Apple discovered but were unable to develop.
Ringo's contribution to Apple was quite surprising: he introduced a young classical composer called John Taverner to the label. Taverner was the brother of Roger Taverner, who had been doing some building work for Ringo. His first long work, The Whale, had received a rapturous reception at the 1968 Royal Albert Hall Proms, and when Ringo heard a tape of the BBC broadcast he quickly contacted Taverner at his parents' house in north London. The bemused composer, who barely knew who Ringo was, soon found himself at Savile Row, signing his first recording contract. The Apple connection was enough to guarantee airplay on the BBC Third Programme and launch his career, but commercial success remained elusive, largely because Derek Taylor in the Apple press office hadn't the faintest idea how to promote 'underground classical music' as Ringo described it. Nonetheless, The Whale and the subsequent Celtic Requiem were both challenging and worthwhile contributions, very much in Apple's original spirit. Ringo so liked The Whale that he later reissued it on his own Ring O' Records label. John took no part in developing the Apple artist roster, though he did produce a string of Plastic Ono Band records and later acted as William Randoph Hearst to Yoko Ono's Marion Davies, producing a stream of Yoko Ono records, none of which sold in any quantity.
Apple placed ads in the underground papers and the music press, asking people to send them tapes. They arrived by the sackload, so many that most of them were never played. There was some discussion with the Rolling Stones about a jointly financed recording studio. It was reported at the time that Mick Jagger and Paul had had preliminary talks but no one now remembers what took place.
PAUL: It's possible we talked to them about Apple - 'Hey, we'll get the Stones on our label.' The thinking behind it was very excited, which was, Well, if we get Donovan, and we've got the Beatles, and we get James Taylor, and then we get a couple of others, maybe the Stones might even want to come on. And what if some of the really cool American bands like the Byrds want to come, because we're good friends with them? We figured that all our friends would eventually join us. It would be the freest thing. It would be a revolution in the recording business. We'll give them all decent deals. And a lot of that did happen. It was enough for me to be enjoying what we were doing, to be making good music, to be making good friends, and just getting on. And if we had a hit, great. Donovan never did sign with us; but that was the dream. The housekeeping was what let us down and in the end it was just a free-for-all.
Despite all this activity, Paul also found time to produce 'I Am the Urban Spaceman' by his friends the Bonzo Dog Band using the name Apollo C. Vermouth. It was to be their only top-ten hit.
Unlike the other Beatles, John took relatively little part in the launch of Apple. He was in the middle of his divorce from Cynthia at the time. He had put Kenwood up for sale and moved into Ringo's unused flat in Montagu Square, where he retreated into a soporific heroin haze with his new girlfriend, Yoko Ono.
Among the artists who spent time hanging out at Indica Gallery were Yoko Ono and her husband Tony Cox. John Dunbar and Miles knew her work with the New York-based Fluxus art group, with which she had been associated since Indica also stocked her limited-edition book Grapefruit and had some of the Fluxus boxes and posters containing her work on the shelves. Yoko arrived in London with Tony in September 1966 to take part in the Destruction in Art Symposium. She soon familiarised herself with the London art scene and it didn't take her long to persuade John Dunbar that he should give her a show, particularly since she said she had a sponsor who would pay for the catalogue and posters. Her work fitted well with other shows John had put on and an exhibition was planned.
Unlike the big commercial Bond Street galleries, John Dunbar liked to keep things loose and not schedule art shows very far ahead. That way he could respond to what was going on and slot in new things whenever he wanted. Yoko's show Unfinished Paintings and Objects opened on 9 November 1966, less than six weeks after she first walked into the gallery. The day before the vernissage Tony Cox, the gallery manager Genevieve Morgan, Miles and his wife Sue, and a few others were sitting around in the basement as Yoko put the finishing touches to the show. She was dressed in her usual black sweater, black trousers and shoes, with her long black hair hanging over her shoulders like a bell tent: very much the Greenwich Village bohemian. A joint was making the rounds when John Lennon dropped in to see John Dunbar. The two Johns were good friends, their relationship cemented by drugs, including one legendary week-long acid trip during which they visited an uninhabited island off the west coast of Ireland that Lennon happened to have bought after seeing it advertised as for sale by auction.
John Dunbar introduced John to Yoko and they both went downstairs to the basement to see the show. All the objects were white or transparent, with one exception: the Add Colour Painting, 1966, where the viewer was allowed one colour to add to the painting. A white chair was provided with the painting to hold the paints and brushes. Apple consisted of an apple on a transparent Perspex stand and the catalogue featured a photograph of John Dunbar eating it - or an earlier version of it. Another item, Pointedness from 1964, was a small sphere on a Perspex stand.
John Lennon was intrigued by a painting mounted on the ceiling. He could just see a word written on it in tiny letters. A magnifying glass to enable the viewer to read it hung from a string attached to the frame, reached by a white stepladder which stood beneath. John climbed up and was pleased to find the mysterious word was 'Yes'. Another work that interested John was Painting to Hammer a Nail In, a piece dating from 1961, of which this was the sixth version Yoko had made. John wanted to hammer a nail in it then and there but Yoko objected, wanting to keep her painting pristine until the official opening the next night. John Dunbar persuaded her to relent but Yoko told Lennon it would cost him five shillings. 'Suppose I drive an imaginary nail in for five imaginary shillings,' retorted Lennon, entering into the spirit of the exhibition. This he did and no visible money changed hands. Throughout the viewing, Yoko had linked her arm around John's as she explained the works and when he made a move to go, she asked him to take her with him. John had been up for three days and was on his way back to Kenwood. He politely declined, climbed in the back of his black-glass chauffeur-driven S.S. Cooper-Mini, and sped off across the cobbles of Mason's Yard. Yoko made sure that they met again.
She bombarded John with letters and postcards filled with poems and short performance pieces. He was intrigued. He enjoyed the quirky, surreal aspect of her art. They met from time to time, though John was initially interested in her purely as an artist - she was considerably older than he and could not have been further from John's conventional beauty stereotype of Brigitte Bardot. But the letters kept coming and he became fascinated by her ideas, which he recognised as having a lot in common with his own. When the Beatles went to visit the Maharishi in India, John arranged for her letters to reach him without Cynthia knowing.
By spending two months in deep meditation in India, John brought his deepest problems to the surface but he was unable to resolve them: the contradiction between his family life and his life as a rock star with all the drugs and groupies was too great. Had he stayed with the Maharishi until the end of the course, he might have avoided some of the pain, but by terminating the instruction abruptly, he was left hanging in thin air. During the weeks at the camp, he had been receiving daily letters from Yoko, though nothing sexual had yet happened between them. He was very attracted by her but he felt tremendous guilt about breaking up his marriage: doing to Julian what his own parents had done to him, repeating the pattern.
The Maharishi had given John and Cynthia a beautiful suit of Indian clothes for them to give to Julian on his upcoming birthday, causing John to experience a wave of love and affection for his family. Cynthia wrote in her autobiography:
On leaving the Maharishi, John held my hand. He was overjoyed.
'Oh Cyn,’ he said, 'won't it be wonderful to be together with Julian again. Everything will be fantastic again, won't it? I can't wait, can you?'
I found it hard to believe that I was hearing John speak from the heart about our family for the first time in what seemed like years. It filled me with love and hope for the future.
But her happiness was short-lived. On the plane returning to London, after walking out on the Maharishi, John began drinking heavily and told Cynthia of all the other women he had slept with during their marriage: the groupies and the whores but in particular the ones she knew personally, her friends and the wives of friends. When he got back to Kenwood, he went on an orgy of drink and drugs, mostly LSD, trying to bury the thoughts and feelings that the meditation had allowed to rise to the surface.
The meditation had essentially precipitated a nervous breakdown, which was not helped by John's tremendous drug intake. On 18 May 1968, he summoned a meeting of the Beatles at Apple and announced to them that he was Jesus Christ, a revelation that they accepted with equanimity. This was before the plague of acid casualties, but it was obvious that John was literally going off his head and the others were very worried about him. Yoko meanwhile had been keeping up her relentless flow of postcards and letters. The night after he told the other Beatles that he was the Saviour, he finally called Yoko and told her to come over. They took acid together and spent the evening recording the electronic collage later released as Two Virgins before making love for the first time. The tape, consisting of simple superimpositions and tape echo, was made on the pair of linked Brenells that John had asked Paul to set up for him in his music room, using the same system that Paul used for the loop tapes for 'Tomorrow Never Knows'.
John was completely bowled over by Yoko. In his fragile state, the rush of emotion and the power of the feelings released astonished him. When Cynthia arrived back from holiday the next day, she found Yoko wearing her dressing gown and John looking sheepish.
No sooner had they got together than John and Yoko were strung out on heroin. Yoko first encountered heroin when the Beatles were away in India. John had already been introduced to it by Robert Fraser, who, though unsuccessful in persuading Paul of the delights of junkie life, had much better luck with John. India had left John in a delicate and shaky state; heroin would take the pain away. Fortunately John had the strength to kick it eventually but like many junkies, he had trouble admitting to himself that he was hooked - sniffing is no different from injecting as far as addiction goes - and he blamed his addiction on other people.
John told Jann Wenner: 'I never injected it or anything. We sniffed a little when we were in real pain. We got such a hard time from everyone, and I've had so much thrown at me and at Yoko, especially at Yoko ... We took H because of what the Beatles and others were doing to us. But we got out of it.' John and Yoko began spending a lot of time with Robert Fraser.
When he came out of jail early in 1968, Robert had begun to rebuild his life. He had lost his flat on Mount Street and had been blackballed from his club, White's, where his father had been a member before him. 'I only ever used it to cash cheques, anyway,' said Robert dismissively. He went around to all his old friends, reaffirming friendships, testing the water, seeing who was a genuine friend and who not. Christopher Gibbs had visited him in the Scrubs, taking with him Lady Nico Londonderry, who expressed disappointment that he didn't have arrows printed on his prison uniform. Paul had also written to Robert in jail and invited him over to Cavendish Avenue as soon as he got out. Robert visited shortly after his release.
Paul: 'He was standing close to me and I remember thinking, God, that's jail soap! It actually smelled. And it was one of my fears, in jail in Japan, that I'd come out smelling of jail.'
Robert got a new flat on Mount Street, this time across from the Connaught Hotel, much larger and grander than the previous one, with higher ceilings, better able to show off the work. The gallery entered a new era, with shows by artists more in keeping with the late sixties. He showed the Cadillac painted in psychedelic patterns by the Binder, Edwards and Vaughan design team which had inspired Paul to commission them to customise his piano, but the show did not go down very well. Robert: 'I got a lot of criticism for that car, I must say.'
Robert was said by some to have lost the cutting edge that so characterised his gallery in the early and mid-sixties and was accused of simply putting on fashionable shows. However, there were a few artists from before who could afford to remain with him, like Richard Hamilton, who continued to show his latest work. Yoko had attended all the openings at the Robert Fraser Gallery from the moment she arrived in London and had lost no time in asking him for a show. He turned her down, and commented to Paul, 'This woman is pretty pushy. This is a woman who wants to really get known, you know? She's got her own career.' Though he had originally rejected Yoko's request for a show, Robert now offered one to John - the You Are Here show, which opened on 1 July 1968, six weeks after John and Yoko got together. It was essentially Yoko's show by default since many of the ideas were hers.
The Apple staff assembled a large group of collection boxes for the blind, for the Spastics Society and other similar charities, and filled the gallery space with them. It was in line with John's sick humour, the jokes about cripples and deformity which also informed his writing. There were 365 balloons released, each with a ticket reading 'You are here. Please write to John Lennon c/o the Robert Fraser Gallery', and a message written on circular white canvas which read 'You are here'. Robert: 'The John Lennon show was very poorly received. Looking back on it, it did have a certain pretentious element. It was fun. I don't know if it was art. It wasn't popular.'
As might be expected, Apple's greatest success came with Beatles records, beginning with Paul's 'Hey Jude'.
PAUL: 'Hey Jude' was a song which I originally thought of whilst driving my car out to visit Cynthia and Julian Lennon after John's divorce from them. We'd been very good friends for millions of years and I thought it was a bit much for them suddenly to be personae non gratae and out of my life, so I decided to pay them a visit and say, 'How are you doing? What's happening?' I was very used to writing songs on my way out to Kenwood because I was usually going there to collaborate with John. This time I started with the idea 'Hey Jules', which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces. The adults may be fine but the kids ... I always relate to their little brain spinning round in confusion, going, 'Did I do this? Was it me?' Guilt is such a terrible thing and I know it affects a lot of people and I think that was the reason I went out. And I got this idea for a song, 'Hey Jude', and made up a few little things so I had the idea by the time I got there. I changed it to 'Jude' because I thought that sounded a bit better.
I finished it all up in Cavendish and I was in the music room upstairs when John and Yoko came to visit and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing up, listening to it as I played it to them, and when I got to the line 'The movement you need is on your shoulder', I looked over my shoulder and I said, 'I'll change that, it's a bit crummy. I was just blocking it out,' and John said, 'You won't, you know. That's the best line in it!' That's collaboration. When someone's that firm about a line that you're going to junk, and he says, 'No, keep it in.' So of course you love that line twice as much because it's a little stray, it's a little mutt that you were about to put down and it was reprieved and so it's more beautiful than ever. I love those words now, 'The movement you need is on your shoulder.' Of course I now feel that those are terribly deep words; I've had letters from religious groups and cults saying, 'Paul, you understand what this means, don't you? The wherewithal is there, whatever you want to do ...' And it is a great line but I was going to change it because it sounded like a parrot or something; not entirely logical. Time lends a little credence to things. You can't knock it, it just did so well. But when I'm singing it, that is when I think of John, when I hear myself singing that line; it's an emotional point in the song.
The end refrain was never a separate song. I remember taking it down to a late night hashish-smoking club in a basement in Tottenham Court Road: the Vesuvio club. We were sitting around on bean bags as was the thing. I said to the DJ, 'Here's an acetate. Do you want to slip it in some time during the evening?' He played it, and I remember Mick Jagger coming up: 'Fuckin' 'ell, fuckin' 'ell. That's something else, innit? It's like two songs.' It wasn't intended to go on that long at the end but I was having such fun ad-libbing over the end when we put down the original track that I went on a long time. So then we built it with the orchestra but it was mainly because I just wouldn't stop doing all that 'Judy judy judy - wooow!' Cary Grant on heat! There is an amusing story about recording it. We were at Trident Studios in Soho, and Ringo walked out to go to the toilet and I hadn't noticed. The toilet was only a few yards from his drum booth, but he'd gone past my back and I still thought he was in his drum booth. I started what was the actual take, and 'Hey Jude' goes on for hours before the drums come in and while I was doing it I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums. And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable. So I think when those things happen, you have a little laugh and a light bulb goes off in your head and you think, This is the take! and you put a little more into it. You think, oh, fuck! This has got to be the take, what just happened was so magic! So we did that and we made a pretty good record.
John regarded it as the best record Paul ever made and thought it was written about him; that Paul was giving him permission to break up their 'marriage' and get together with Yoko instead. He told Playboy:
I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it... Yoko's just come into the picture. He's saying, 'Hey Jude' - 'Hey John'. I know I'm sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me. The words 'go out and get her' - subconsciously he was saying, 'Go ahead, leave me.' On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead. The angel in him was saying, 'Bless you'. The devil in him didn't like it at all because he didn't want to lose his partner.
This is an attractive reading of the lyrics even though Paul had disagreed and said that the song was more about himself: Paul in his Aston Martin, making the familiar drive to John's house in the country where they always wrote songs, thinking of all the changes in their lives: John's divorce, his own ambivalence over Jane. Both Paul and John were skilled at entering a half-trance state which enabled them to access material from their unconscious. The lyrics are universal; many readings are possible.
'Hey Jude' was the Beatles' most successful single, selling more than 5,000,000 copies worldwide in six months; 7,500,000 in four years. It was number one in the USA for nine weeks, as well as going to number one in Britain and ten other countries. At seven minutes and nine seconds, it was also the Beatles' longest single, with four minutes devoted to the fadeout. It got Apple Records off to a tremendous start. The only thing that marred its success was a conflict between Paul and George Harrison over the guitar part.
PAUL: I remember sitting down and showing George the song and George did the natural thing for a guitar player to do, which is to answer every line of vocal. And it was like, 'No, George.' And he was pretty offended, and looking back, I think, Oh, shit, of course you'd be offended. You're blowing the guy out. I said, 'No, no. You come in on the second chorus maybe, it's going to be a big build this.'
'The Lovely Linda'
That's the difficulty of a group. You are not the director bossing around a dance company where they naturally expect you to boss them around. You're just a guy in a very democratic unit; which a group, at best, is. We were all equal in voting, our status within the group was equal. We were joking when we made the Anthology: I was saying, 'I realise I was a bossy git.' And George said, 'Oh no, Paul, you never did anything like that!' With a touch of irony in his voice, because obviously I did. But it was essential for me and looking back on it, I think, Okay. Well, it was bossy, but it was also ballsy of me, because I could have bowed to the pressure.
With Jane no longer even nominally resident, Cavendish Avenue rapidly collapsed. In the living room a big jar of pot sat on the mantelpiece, books and records piled up all over the floor and the plywood model of the meditation dome became chipped and scarred with cigarette burns, tiny tangles of dog hair sprouting from the corners where Martha had pushed past. Miles recorded a visit some time in 1968 in his journals. He and Paul had been discussing Zapple, the proposed spoken-word label that Apple Records were going to launch. At one point he and Paul were laughing loudly:
A beautiful girl looked in to see what the laughter was about, but Paul said we were talking business and she left. There were several semi-clad girls walking about the house. 'It's terrible,' he said, gesturing. 'The birds are always quarrelling about something. There's three living here at the moment.' The jostling for position must have been something to see. 'And there's another one, an American groupie, flying in this evening. I've thrown her out once, had to throw her suitcase over the wall, but it's no good, she keeps coming back.' He gave a resigned look and laughed.
Though he was not lacking female company, Paul was on the lookout for someone special and already had his eye on Linda. Before Jane walked out of his life, they had spent time together in both New York and Los Angeles; now there was nothing to stop him from inviting her over to stay. After a day of madness in the office, Paul was getting fed up with a night of madness at home as well.
LINDA: And then I got a phone call: 'Why don't you come over?' It was September. I remember Heather was just going to start Dalton and my parents were so furious with me. She got into Dalton. It would have been great. It was really good for Heather; I wish she had had that kind of life, instead of this crazy life. Dalton and then do well at school, go to university, whatever. But I had no feeling of responsibility, I must have been quite irresponsible to think that a five-year-old kid is starting school for the first time, and I'm buzzing off leaving her. It was one of those, 'Oh, can you stay with Ella for a few weeks? And not tell anybody and not talk to anybody and I'll buzz off to London.' I was led to feel guilty by my parents, my father and stepmother.
I'm going to London now, so I get on the plane. I must have said something because somebody picked me up at the airport. I got there and I arrived at this house and it was a dark house, a lot of brown, a lot of dark colours, a bachelor's house, a man's house. I remember nothing worked, the TV barely worked, the stereo was broken, nothing worked. I remember the green velvet settee, which I called a couch at the time. But it could still be there, it hasn't changed that much. I remember seeing Apple white labels piled up, the Brenells, you could see that Paul was totally into making music.
I didn't know how long I was staying. I arrived that night, I remember the lights, I didn't know the house. I remember lying on the settee and just meditating. It was so quiet I could hear the fridge turn on and the motor run. There was nothing in it and I'm a real picker of food, but there was nothing in it. I think there was a Findus steak.
But I was in somebody else's house, somebody I didn't even know that well. This was like a freaky experience but I took it in my stride because I did a lot of things like that through this period. In fact, from the day I got divorced, it was like my life again and I took advantage of it.
PAUL: We re-met in a pretty funky way. I said, 'Come on over, then,' and she arrived the night when we were doing 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun'. She arrived at the house and phoned, and I had Mal go round to check that she was all right. She remembers the fridge had half a bottle of sour milk and a crust of cheese, a real British fridge. She just couldn't believe the conditions I was living in.
Paul got in very late. The sessions for 'Happiness Is a Warm Gun' were booked between 23 and 26 September 1968 from 7.00 p.m. until 2.00 a.m. but they tended to run on through the night and the mono mix of the song was made between 5.00 and 6.15 a.m. on the 25th.
LINDA: I stayed for a few weeks, while they were finishing the White Album. In the beginning I didn't go to the studio a lot. I didn't feel right. I went a lot when they were mixing it and took a lot of pictures. What I liked about Paul when I lived there in London was the books that were around and painting. Paul would say, 'Let's paint,' and he and Ivan Vaughan would get paints and go down in the basement and the three of us would paint on the canvas. It was fun. Paul is so much more cerebral than people think, because he was quote 'the cute Beatle'. I hate this 'Was it John or was it Paul?' thing because they were both talented. They were both artists. They are equal for number one.
PAUL: When we first met, it would be late at night after a session or something and I would be trying to unwind and so we would go for a drive around London in the late-night clear streets, two in the morning or something, and she'd say, 'Try and get lost.' And I'd say, 'That goes against every fibre in my body. As a driver, the one thing you never try and do is get lost!' She said, 'Try it.' And I'd try it; 'For you I'll try it.' So I'd turn off little streets round Battersea and down little back streets - 'Hey, this is great' - but pretty soon you'd see a big sign, 'West End'. Signs everywhere. It's actually very difficult to get lost round London. We used to end up in the greatest of places that I'd never been to before. We never did get lost. So that kind of freedom was part of our thing; still is, actually.
The song 'Two of Us' on the Let It Be album was written on one of these drives after Linda came to live in London. They bundled Martha into the back seat and drove the Aston Martin out beyond Esher and Weybridge to the country near Cobham where the M25 motorway now rings London, picking up sandwiches on the way. They found a side road and drove down it, found another side road and tried to get as remote and away from it all as possible. They found a secluded spot to park near a wood and Linda got out to take some photographs. One of her pictures shows the song actually being composed: Paul with a day's growth of stubble, wearing a white open-necked shirt and his $10 thrift-shop herringbone coat, sitting half in the driver's seat, strumming his acoustic guitar.
PAUL: We'd just enjoy sitting out in nature. And this song was about that: doing nothing, trying to get lost. It's a favourite of mine because it reminds me of that period, getting together with Linda, and the wonderfully free attitude we were able to have. I had my guitar with me and I wrote it out on the road, and then maybe finished some of the verses at home later, but that picture is of me writing it.
A couple of things really struck me about her: I liked her as a woman, she was good-looking with a good figure and so physically I was attracted to her, but her mental attitude was, and still is, quite rebellious because she was brought up in this rather lofty, well-to-do world. It wasn't huge conspicuous wealth, but relative to me it was huge wealth. She was the kind of kid who would hang out in the kitchen with the black maids, learning to cook, and she didn't like all the socialising, 'Hello, how are you, I'm the younger daughter of the family.' She used to keep out of the way of all that, so to this day she doesn't like big, rich, empty houses. There was a lot of that where she came from. She was more likely to go on to the empty plot behind the big rich house when the big rich people didn't know she was there in the woods and up-end rocks looking for salamanders. This was one of the big things we had in common because I used to do a lot of that when I was a kid, we both shared a love of nature. That became one of our big links.
Linda had this wonderful free attitude. She used to hate the word 'compromise' and she hated the word 'cope', she never really had to deal with those words and she had been a very free spirit all her life. She'd been a bit of a rebel at home and something of a black sheep as far as education was concerned, whereas her family had all been extremely academic. She was an artist and was not cut out to be an academic.
Linda allowed Paul to be Paul Everyman, not the famous Beatle but a person.
PAUL: I remember very early on apologising because I was so tired, I said, 'I'm really tired, I'm sorry.' She said, 'It's allowed.' I remember thinking, Fucking hell! That was a mind-blower. I'd never been with anyone who'd thought like that: 'It's allowed.' And it was quite patently clear that it was allowed to be tired. I think I'd trained myself never to appear tired. Always to be on the ball. 'Sorry I'm yawning. I'm sorry,' which is complete bullshit. It's a Beatles thing, you had to be there, you had to be on time.
With the record label established, the Beatles now turned their attention to Zapple, intended as the home for experimental and spoken-word releases. It was named by John Lennon, not, as Frank Zappa thought, after him, but in the same spirit that the original name was chosen: 'A is for Apple. Z is for Zapple' - the other end of the alphabet. It was essentially an extension of the experimental demo studio that Paul had set up with the help of Ian Sommerville in Ringo's old flat back in the spring of 1966. Paul saw Zapple as the point of connection between Apple and Indica Bookshop and he and John appointed Miles as the de facto label manager. The idea was to issue a series of very cheap spoken-word albums, possibly monthly like a magazine. Miles prepared a list of people to record, most of whom were in the USA, and took it over to Cavendish Avenue in November 1968. 'Great!' said Paul. 'Get it together! Get an assistant and go out there and record them.'
The original list included Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Richard Brautigan, Charles Olson, Kenneth Patchen, Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, William Burroughs, Simon Vinkenoog, Ed Sanders, Ken Kesey, Anais Nin, Aram Saroyan, Anne Waldman, with a note to look into the possibility of reissuing Lord Buckley and Lenny Bruce. It was enough to keep the label going for a while. Not every album would necessarily be devoted to just one person's work; the idea was sometimes to record a live reading featuring a number of poets, like the Poetry Project group around St Marks Church in New York, or the Liverpool Scene group of Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Roger McGough and so on.
Nor was it intended to concentrate entirely on poetry and literature: electronic music, avant-garde performances, lectures, anything off-beat, Beat, experimental or strange would be considered. One idea was to record the thoughts of various world leaders, and large packages of Beatles albums and Apple releases were shipped off to Mao Tse Tung, Fidel Castro, Indira Gandhi and others, together with an invitation to record a spoken-word album explaining their philosophy to a worldwide audience of young people. Another idea was to record conversations: William Burroughs discussing drugs; the Beatles discussing their latest album. Paul thought the latter notion was a good one because it could be obviously tied in with publicity. In the days before bootleg records, it prefigured the idea of journalists releasing interview tapes as records, which began with David Wigg's The Beatles Tapes in 1976. The poets, however, were seen as the easiest way to get the system in place. Miles left for New York in January 1969 to record the first batch.
The first album recorded was of the poet Charles Olson reading from his new book Maximus IV, V, VI, as well as parts of the Mayan Letters and other works. It was made over a five-day period at Charles's house in Gloucester, Massachusetts, recording at night, because Olson never got up before 6 p.m. and also because it was quiet then and the recording would not be spoiled by the sound of trucks gunning and slithering their way through the deep snowdrifts of the New England winter. Olson died a year later and this was the only 'studio' album he ever made.
Next came Ken Weaver, the drummer with the Fugs and a brilliant raconteur. He planned an album of Texspeak: homilies, humour and bar talk in a Texas accent. Much of the material recorded appeared in his 1984 book Texas Crude. The How-To on Talkin' Texan. Tuli Kupferberg, the percussionist with the Fugs, already had an album out of his readings from bizarre advertisements, and the remaining Fug, Ed Sanders, was down for a future poetry album.
Charles Bukowski was still working at the Post Office in January 1969 and was still virtually unknown. He had not yet done any public readings and was nervous of reading with anyone around. Because of this, a field recording was made: Miles set up a professional tape recorder and microphone in his living room in a run-down section of Los Angeles, showed him how to use it and left him a pile of blank tapes. A week later he had filled them all, and accidentally erased some by trying to record 'on the other side'. It was his first professional recording.
Meanwhile, John and Yoko had been thinking about the series and sent a telegram asking if Gregory Corso and Diane di Prima could be added to the list. They were both well-known Beat Generation poets but the suggestion obviously came from Yoko.
Three studio recordings were made at Golden State Recorders on Harrison Street in San Francisco. One was of the Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti, owner of City Lights Books and publisher of Allen Ginsberg's Howl. In the fifties Ferlinghetti had made some pioneering records of poetry with jazz and his 1958 book A Coney Island of the Mind was the biggest-selling poetry book in the USA, having sold more than 500,000 copies. Lawrence's work is designed more for reading aloud than for the page, so this was a good opportunity for him to get his recent work out.
Michael McClure was originally selected on the strength of his 'Lion Poem', where he roared at the lions in the San Francisco Zoo and they roared back; a very powerful recording that Miles planned to include on the album. Michael now decided that he wanted to make an album with Freewheelin' Frank of the Hell's Angels with himself playing an autoharp given to him by Bob Dylan, and Frank banging a tambourine and reading his satanic poetry. Unfortunately Frank insisted on having his chopper with him in the studio, causing one or two delays in the recording.
Richard Brautigan recorded a selection of poems and stories, often giving the words a heightened reality with sound effects - a stereo recording of the actual stream referred to in 'Trout Fishing in America', for instance. Hours of tape of Richard talking on the telephone and sitting around the kitchen drinking beer with his buddy Price were recorded. The resulting album was called Listening to Richard Brautigan. Each poet had signed a contract issued by Ron Kass and all that remained was to edit the tapes.
Zapple was launched on 3 February 1969. A press release from Jim Mahoney & Association, Public Relations Company of Los Angeles, explained what the Beatles intended the new label to do:
Beatles to introduce Zapple, new label and recording concept, on May 1. The label will be called Zapple and it will emphasize a series of 'spoken word' albums and some music releases of a more wide-ranging and esoteric nature. Price of the Zapple albums will generally be $1.98 or $4.98 depending on the type of release.
Zapple will be a division of Apple Records, which is headed by Ron Kass, who is also chief executive for all Apple music activities. Supervising the Zapple program will be Barry Miles, a British writer-intellectual in his late 20s.
The first three releases on the Zapple label are now being pressed and include:
1. A new John Lennon-Yoko Ono album entitled Unfinished Music No.2 - Life With The Lions;
2. A George Harrison composed-produced electronic musicalbum which was recorded with a Moog;
3. A spoken-word album recorded by poet-writer Richard Brautigan.
Other well-known writer-poets already committed to Zapple releases include: Lawrence Ferlinghetti - America's best selling 'serious' poet; poet-playwright Michael McClure; veteran literary figures Kenneth Patchen and Charles Olson and poet-essayist Allen Ginsberg. Additionally, Zapple will release one of the late Lenny Bruce's last concerts as an album.
It is the hope of Apple Corps Ltd. that the new label will help pioneer a new area for the recording industry equivalent to what the paperback revolution did to book publishing.
The company is now studying new market ideas for the label, which it hopes to eventually retail in outlets where paperback books and magazines are sold. University and College outlets will also be emphasized in Zapple's distribution plans.
Discussions are now in progress with several world figures as well as leaders in the various arts and sciences to record their works and thoughts for the label. The Beatles plan to tape several discussion sessions amongst themselves as an album release - probably for the-fall. It is assumed that Zapple will have little difficulty attracting those people who might not normally record albums because of the general educational tone of the project ...
In December 1968, Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, arrived at Apple. He and the Merry Pranksters had travelled America in his psychedelic bus driven by Neal Cassady, organising the famous Acid Test dances and attempting to blow everyone's mind. Kesey was accompanied by two Hell's Angels - Frisco Pete and Billy Tumbleweed - plus sixteen hangers-on who had been told by George Harrison in San Francisco that Apple would look after them. They were expected because George Harrison had sent round a memo:
Hell's Angels will be in London within the next week on the way to straighten out Czechoslovakia. There will be 12 in number, complete with black leather jackets and motorcycles. They will undoubtedly arrive at Apple and I have heard that they might try to make full use of Apple's facilities. They may look as if they are going to do you in but are very straight and do good things, so don't fear them or uptight them. Try to assist them without neglecting your Apple business and without letting them take control of Savile Row. December 4, 1968.
Derek Taylor lent Kesey a tape recorder and told him to go out and record a street diary of his visit to London, but because Miles was in the USA, no one was there to encourage him or give him direction, and the project went nowhere though the tape recorder did. Two gleaming Harley-Davidsons had preceded the arrival of Frisco Pete and Billy Tumbleweed by air freight at a cost to Apple of £250, and were now parked in Savile Row, attracting curious glances from the gentlemen on their way to be measured for suits identical to the ones they were already wearing. The Angels and their hangers-on took over the Apple guest lounge and hung out, terrifying people and drinking the place dry. Everyone was too scared to tell them they couldn't live there indefinitely, so George Harrison, who had not yet visited his guests, finally came into the office and pointedly asked them when they would be leaving. They got the picture and left peaceably, taking only a few souvenirs.
The guest lounge was also home to a family of American hippies: Emily, her husband Frank and their four children. Emily had received a psychic message during an acid trip instructing her to take John and Yoko to Fiji, and was camping out at Apple until John and Yoko had time to see her. Shirley and Janet from the kitchen refused to enter the room because Emily spent most of her time naked. It was hard to run an efficient record company when several dozen Americans were using the second floor as a crash pad and there was a permanent party going on.
The plug was finally pulled on Zapple by Allen Klein while Miles was in the middle of a second recording trip to America. Two tracks of what would eventually become Allen Ginsberg Tunes William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience had already been recorded at Capitol studios, New York, when overnight the label ceased to exist. John and Yoko's Unfinished Music and George's Electronic Music had been released. Listening to Richard Brautigan had reached acetate stage and a sample sleeve had been made up. It was eventually released on EMI-Harvest in America with a modified sleeve. Charles Olson's album was released after his death on Folkways Records. Some of Ferlinghetti's tracks later surfaced on Fantasy Records, but the album as originally planned was never released. The label was folded before the Michael McClure, Ken Weaver and Charles Bukowski tapes could be edited. The two Allen Ginsberg tracks were frozen in Capitol's tape vaults so Ginsberg began his album over again in an independent studio with Miles producing. This time it was leased to MGM Records, which by then had Ron Kass as its chief executive and Peter Asher as its A & R man.
Apple can be seen to divide into three phases. The first, the original vision, involved an Apple Foundation, the Apple School and other fanciful organisations. This initial phase was based at Baker Street above the boutique and was seen mainly as a way of avoiding tax. Close on a million pounds was spent on the Apple boutique, Apple Electronics, and buying and fitting up Savile Row. Money flowed out of Apple like a river for trips to New York, expensive lunches, air fares and top-of-the-line office equipment. The two other distinct phases can be labelled as and post-Allen Klein. Before Allen Klein, Hell's Angels, mystics and musicians were encouraged to hang out and join the fun, and Paul was the only Beatle who attempted to economise and control spending. Post-Allen Klein came when their accountants pointed out how bad the situation was, causing the other Beatles to panic and get in Klein to clean up the act.
The Beatles managed to avoid most of the day-to-day madness of Apple by first going to India, then disappearing into Abbey Road to record The Beatles, or the White Album, as it is universally known. In the early days of Savile Row, Paul was the Beatle most often seen in the building, in part because he was the only one who could just hop on a bus to get there. Apple had always been more of Paul and John's baby than George and Ringo's, but by the time Apple Records was up and running, John was distracted by his new, all-consuming love affair with Yoko and had no time to produce anyone else's records even though he and Yoko were by then living in Ringo's flat in Montagu Square, quite close to Apple. Until the autumn of 1968 they only appeared at Savile Row for business meetings. Mostly they sat in their basement, utterly absorbed in each other, living on champagne, heroin and caviar in what John described as 'a strange cocktail of love, sex and forgetfulness'.
Over at Apple, it didn't take long for Paul to identify a tremendous drain on resources: anything not bolted down was immediately stolen and one of the office boys was even caught stealing the lead off the roof, dragging it out of the building in mail sacks and passing it to an accomplice parked up the road. Paul particularly objected to the permanent party going on in Derek Taylor's press office. Most bands made do with an independent press officer to represent them: the Rolling Stones, for instance, used Les Perrin's office, but the Beatles were running their own record company and were responsible for promoting the other acts on Apple as well as themselves. It is true that the Apple press office quickly became a haven for Fleet Street hacks, drunken rock journalists and underground press writers who dropped by for a quick joint. The drink and drugs bill was astronomical; as the December 1968 in-house magazine slyly commented, 'Lebanese export companies, we learn, are pleased by the amount of business we are putting their way.' However, the cost of the press department was as nothing compared to the entertainment expenses of some of the directors, who were known to spend thousands of dollars for a few days at a top New York hotel, or the Beatles' own expenses. For instance, whenever John and Yoko visited, Yoko ordered a pot of caviar costing £60, about five weeks' wages for one of the cooks who served it.
The work of the press office was not restricted to publicity: Derek, his two assistants and the 'house hippie' were also used by the Beatles every time they wanted something done. Someone had to blow up 400 balloons for John and Yoko's show at the Robert Fraser Gallery; the house hippie was dispatched to spend the day at Duke Street. John and Yoko wanted to send two acorns to every world leader as a peace gesture; John asked the press office to get them. The problem was, it was the wrong time of year for acorns. Weeks were spent digging in Hyde Park and Regents Park to find acorns hidden by squirrels for the winter, and many that were found were mouldy. In desperation they appealed to the public. Someone offered to sell them some at £1 each. Special boxes had to be bought, labels printed, addresses found ...
There was only one really noticeable cut-back in press-office expenses. The nameless in-house magazine they published was terminated after just two issues when Derek violated confidentiality by printing a bunch of inter-office memos, including one referring to a Swiss bank account.
PAUL: We just didn't know how to run it. I had theories but they were too mill-owner for everyone. I tried to cut down on the staff, which is what any sensible person would have done, but the era was not a cut-down-on-the-staff era; the massive cutbacks and the belt-tightening came later. I wanted Apple to run; I didn't want to run Apple. I wanted Apple to be reasonably efficient and to take in more money than it was spending, but even though we had 'Hey Jude', 'Let It Be' and 'Those Were the Days' and big successes like that, our spending more than matched it. I just saw it as a recipe for disaster and in fact that's what it was.
That period for me felt like I was in an Alice in Wonderland scenario. I would say, 'Now what's to be done here? Ah, I know, cut spending.' That would start in my brain as a reasonable assumption but by the time it reached my mouth, it was like the devil was speaking. It was like a traitorous utterance. I once did try and get rid of one of the secretaries in Derek's place. She was a very nice-looking girl, that was the problem, I probably should have chosen someone not as good-looking. I said, 'Look, Derek, you really don't need however many secretaries it was, this is really just the press club. It's like an annexe to a Fleet Street bar. And people are just coming in here to hear you pronounce on this and that, and the drinks bill for the press office!' But immediately George came into the office: 'You're not going to do that. You can't do that!' 'But we're losing money. We've got to do something!' 'No, you're not doing it, and if you do, we'll immediately reinstate her.'
So I started to think my logic was suspect and that to try and make money was a suspect act. It was a rather uncommunist thing to do, an ignoble thing to try and make it work. And anything I said seemed to come out wrong. I really couldn't say anything without feeling I was being devious. And yet I knew I wasn't.
I remember saying something to John once. He was doing his finances funny, and he'd been charging personal stuff to Apple. Someone warned me that he was going to get into a real problem and I remember saying to him, 'Look, I'm not trying to do anything, I'm really trying to help you ...' and as I said it I heard my devilish voice, like 'I'm trying to trick you!' I said, 'Look, John. I'm right.' And he said, 'You fucking would be, wouldn't you? You're always right, aren't you?' So to be right was wrong! He admitted I was right but to be right didn't bring any rewards, it brought scorn, and so it became very very difficult to do anything, it really just became impossible, so I started to get very very nervous and paranoid about everything.
During the third phase, post-Allen Klein, everything was turned upside down. The money tap was turned off. Half the staff lost their jobs and the remaining employees were fearful. Ron Kass was fired and John and Yoko established themselves in his newly vacated office on the ground floor and began their peace campaign, allowing anyone who wanted to interview them to do so. Paul bowed out and spent most of his time with Linda and their first child together, Mary. They had an extended vacation before Mary's birth, and retired to Scotland not long after it, leaving Apple in the hands of John, Yoko and John's latest guru, Allen Klein.
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