Apple Records

Last updated

Apple Records
Apple Records.png
Parent company Apple Corps
Founded1968;51 years ago (1968)
Founder The Beatles
Distributor(s)
Genre
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Official website applerecords.com

Apple Records is a record label founded by the Beatles in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. It was initially intended as a creative outlet for the Beatles, both as a group and individually, plus a selection of other artists including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston. In practice, the roster had become dominated by the mid-1970s with releases of the former Beatles as solo artists. Allen Klein managed the label from 1969 to 1973, then it was managed by Neil Aspinall on behalf of the Beatles and their heirs. Aspinall retired in 2007 and was replaced by Jeff Jones.

The Beatles English rock band

The Beatles were an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. With a line-up comprising John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, they are regarded as the most influential band of all time. The group were integral to the evolution of pop music into an art form and to the development of the counterculture of the 1960s. Their sound, rooted in skiffle, beat and 1950s rock and roll, incorporated elements of classical music and traditional pop in innovative ways. They also pioneered recording techniques and explored music styles ranging from ballads and Indian music to psychedelia and hard rock. As they continued to draw influences from a variety of cultural sources, their musical and lyrical sophistication grew, and they came to be seen as embodying the era's socio-cultural movements.

Apple Corps Multimedia company founded by The Beatles

Apple Corps Ltd is a multi-armed multimedia corporation founded in London in January 1968 by the members of the Beatles to replace their earlier company and to form a conglomerate. Its name is a pun. Its chief division is Apple Records, which was launched in the same year. Other divisions included Apple Electronics, Apple Films, Apple Publishing and Apple Retail, whose most notable venture was the short-lived Apple Boutique, on the corner of Baker Street and Paddington Street in central London. Apple's headquarters in the late 1960s was at the upper floors of 94 Baker Street, after that at 95 Wigmore Street, and subsequently at 3 Savile Row. The latter address was also known as the Apple Building, which was home to the Apple Studio.

Mary Hopkin British singer

Mary Hopkin, credited on some recordings as Mary Visconti, is a Welsh folk singer best known for her 1968 UK number one single "Those Were the Days". She was one of the first to sign to the Beatles' Apple label.

Contents

History

1967–69: Early years

Apple Corps Ltd was conceived by the Beatles in 1967 after the death of their manager Brian Epstein. It was intended to be a small group of companies (Apple Retail, Apple Publishing, Apple Electronics, and so on) as part of Epstein's plan to create a tax-effective business structure. [1] . The first project that the band released after forming the company was their film Magical Mystery Tour , which was produced under the Apple Films division. Apple Records was officially founded by the group after their return from India in 1968 as another sub-division of Apple Corps.

Brian Epstein English personal manager and impresario

Brian Samuel Epstein was an English music entrepreneur who discovered and managed the Beatles. He was often referred to as a "fifth" member of the group.

<i>Magical Mystery Tour</i> (film) 1967 television film starring The Beatles, directed by The Beatles and Bernard Knowles

Magical Mystery Tour is a 1967 British surreal comedy television film starring the Beatles which originally aired on BBC1 on Boxing Day, 26 December 1967, in a monochrome transmission at 8:35 PM. It was repeated in a colour transmission on BBC2 on 5 January 1968. Upon its initial showing, the film was poorly received by critics and audiences. The film received an American theatrical release in 1974 by New Line Cinema, and in select theatres worldwide in 2012 by Apple Films.

At this time, the Beatles were contracted to EMI. In a new distribution deal, EMI and its US subsidiary Capitol Records agreed to distribute Apple Records until 1976, while EMI retained ownership of their recordings. Beatles recordings issued in the United Kingdom on the Apple label carried Parlophone catalogue numbers, while US issues carried Capitol catalogue numbers. Apple Records owns the rights to all of the Beatles' videos and movie clips, and the rights to recordings of other artists signed to the label. The first catalogue number Apple 1 was a single pressing of Frank Sinatra singing "Maureen Is a Champ" (with lyrics by Sammy Cahn) to the melody of "The Lady Is a Tramp" as a surprise gift for the 21st birthday of Ringo Starr's wife Maureen.[ citation needed ]

EMI British music recording and publishing company

EMI Group Limited was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012, it was the fourth largest business group and record label conglomerate in the music industry, and was one of the big four record companies ; its labels included EMI Records, Parlophone, Virgin Records, and Capitol Records, which are now owned by other companies.

Capitol Records American record label

Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label "of note" in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarter building in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.

Frank Sinatra American singer, actor, and producer

Francis Albert Sinatra was an American singer, actor and producer who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

Apple Records and Apple Publishing signed a number of acts whom the Beatles personally discovered or supported, and one or more of the Beatles would be involved in the recording sessions in most cases. Several notable artists were signed in the first year, including James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston, the Modern Jazz Quartet, the Iveys (who became Badfinger), Doris Troy, and former Liverpool singer Jackie Lomax who recorded George Harrison's "Sour Milk Sea". [2]

James Taylor American singer-songwriter and guitarist

James Vernon Taylor is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist. A five-time Grammy Award winner, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, having sold more than 100 million records worldwide.

Billy Preston American R&B musician

William Everett Preston was an American musician whose work encompassed R&B, rock, soul, funk, and gospel. Preston was a top session keyboardist in the 1960s, during which he backed artists such as Little Richard, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Rev. James Cleveland and The Beatles. He went on to achieve fame as a solo artist, with hit singles such as "That's the Way God Planned It", "Outa-Space", "Will It Go Round in Circles", "Space Race", "Nothing from Nothing" and "With You I'm Born Again". Additionally, Preston co-wrote "You Are So Beautiful", which became a number 5 hit for Joe Cocker.

Modern Jazz Quartet American jazz ensemble

The Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) was a jazz combo established in 1952 that played music influenced by classical, cool jazz, blues and bebop. For most of its history the Quartet consisted of John Lewis (piano), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Percy Heath, and Connie Kay (drums). The group grew out of the rhythm section of Dizzy Gillespie's big band from 1946 to 1948, which consisted of Lewis and Jackson along with bassist Ray Brown and drummer Kenny Clarke. They recorded as the Milt Jackson Quartet in 1951 and Brown left the group, being replaced on bass by Heath. During the early-to-mid-1950s they became the Modern Jazz Quartet, Lewis became the group's musical director, and they made several recordings with Prestige Records, including the original versions of their two best-known compositions, Lewis's "Django" and Jackson's Bags' Groove". Clarke left the group in 1955 and was replaced as drummer by Connie Kay, and in 1956 they moved to Atlantic Records and made their first tour to Europe.

1969–73: Klein era

In 1969, the Beatles were in need of financial and managerial direction, and John Lennon was approached by Allen Klein, manager of The Rolling Stones. [3] When Klein went on to manage Apple three of the Beatles supported him, Paul McCartney being the only group member opposed to his involvement. McCartney had suggested his father-in-law Lee Eastman for the job.

John Lennon English singer and songwriter, founding member of the Beatles

John Winston Ono Lennon was an English singer, songwriter and peace activist who gained worldwide fame as the founder, co-lead vocalist, and rhythm guitarist of the Beatles. His songwriting partnership with Paul McCartney remains the most successful in history. In 1969, he started the Plastic Ono Band with his second wife, Yoko Ono. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, Lennon continued as a solo artist and as a collaborator of Ono's music.

Allen Klein American businessman, music publisher

Allen Klein was an American businessman, music publisher, writers' representative and record label executive, most noted for his tough persona and aggressive negotiation tactics, many of which established higher industry standards for compensating recording artists. He founded ABKCO Music & Records Incorporated. Klein revolutionized the income potential of recording artists, who previously had been routinely victimized by onerous record company contracts. He first scored massive monetary and contractual windfalls for Buddy Knox and Jimmy Bowen, one-hit rockabillies of the late 1950s, then parlayed his early successes into a position managing Sam Cooke, and eventually managed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones simultaneously, along with many other artists, becoming one of the most powerful individuals in the music industry during his era.

The Rolling Stones English rock band

The Rolling Stones are an English rock band formed in London in 1962. The first stable line-up consisted of bandleader Brian Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Bill Wyman (bass), Charlie Watts (drums), and Ian Stewart (piano). Stewart was removed from the official line-up in 1963 but continued to work with the band as a contracted musician until his death in 1985. The band's primary songwriters, Jagger and Richards, assumed leadership after Andrew Loog Oldham became the group's manager. Jones left the band less than a month before his death in 1969, having already been replaced by Mick Taylor, who remained until 1974. After Taylor left the band, Ronnie Wood took his place in 1975 and continues on guitar in tandem with Richards. Since Wyman's departure in 1993, Darryl Jones has served as touring bassist. The Stones have not had an official keyboardist since 1963, but have employed several musicians in that role, including Jack Nitzsche (1965–1971), Nicky Hopkins (1967–1982), Billy Preston (1971–1981), Ian McLagan (1978–1981), and Chuck Leavell (1982–present).

Klein took control of Apple and shut down several sub-divisions, including Apple Electronics, and he dropped some of Apple Records' artistic roster. New signings to the label were not so numerous afterward and tended to arrive through the individual actions of the former Beatles; for example, Elephant's Memory were recruited through Lennon and Ravi Shankar through Harrison. McCartney had little input into Apple Records' roster after 1970. Klein managed Apple Corp. until March 1973, when his contract expired. The Beatles' entire pre-Apple catalogue on the Capitol label was re-issued on the Apple label in May 1971, including the singles from "I Want to Hold Your Hand" to "Lady Madonna", and the albums from Meet the Beatles! to Magical Mystery Tour ; the album covers remained unchanged with the Capitol logos.

Elephant's Memory was an American rock band formed in New York City in the late 1960s, known primarily for backing John Lennon and Yoko Ono from late 1971 to 1973. For live performances with Lennon and Ono, the band was known as the Plastic Ono Elephant's Memory Band.

Ravi Shankar Indian Musician and sitar player

Ravi Shankar, whose name is often preceded by the title Pandit (Master) and "Sitar maestro", was an Indian musician and a composer of Hindustani classical music. He was the best-known proponent of the sitar in the second half of the 20th century and influenced many other musicians throughout the world. Shankar was awarded India's highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1999.

I Want to Hold Your Hand original song written and composed by Lennon-McCartney

"I Want to Hold Your Hand" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles. Written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and recorded in October 1963, it was the first Beatles record to be made using four-track equipment.

1973–2007: Aspinall era, Beatles reissues

After Klein's departure, Apple was managed by Neil Aspinall on behalf of the four Beatles and their heirs. Apple Records' distribution contract with EMI expired in 1976, when control of the Beatles' catalogue—including solo recordings to date by George Harrison, John Lennon and Ringo Starr—reverted to EMI (Paul McCartney had acquired ownership of his solo recordings when he re-signed with Capitol in 1975). [4]

The original UK versions of the Beatles' albums were released worldwide on compact disc in 1987 and 1988 by Parlophone. Previously, Abbey Road had been issued on CD by the EMI-Odeon label in Japan in the early 1980s. Although this was a legitimate release, it was not authorised by the Beatles, EMI or Apple Corps. Following the settlement of Apple's ten-year lawsuit against EMI in 1989, new projects began to move forward, including the Live at the BBC album and The Beatles Anthology series. It was after the Anthology project (spearheaded by Neil Aspinall) that the company resumed making significantly large profits again and began its revival.

The label was again newsworthy in 2006, as the long-running dispute between Apple Records' parent company and Apple Inc. went to the High Court (see Apple Corps v Apple Computer ).

2007–present: Jones era, iTunes reissues

In 2007, longtime chief executive Neil Aspinall retired and was replaced by American music industry executive Jeff Jones. [5] The Beatles' catalog was remastered and re-issued in September 2009 and was made available on iTunes in November 2010. [6] [7] When Universal Music Group acquired EMI and the Beatles' recorded music catalogue, Calderstone Productions was formed in 2012 to administer the Beatles' catalogue.

Design

German release of The Iveys' album Maybe Tomorrow Apple Iveys.JPG
German release of The Iveys' album Maybe Tomorrow

Standard Apple album and single labels displayed a bright green Granny Smith apple on the A-side, while the flipside displayed the cross section of the apple. The bright green apple returned for Beatles CDs releases in the 1990s, following initial CD releases by Parlophone.

On the US issue of the Beatles' Let It Be album, the Granny Smith apple was red. The reason was that in the United States that album, being the soundtrack to the movie of the same name, was, for contractual reasons, being manufactured and distributed by United Artists Records and not Capitol Records, so the red apple was used to mark the difference. The red apple also appeared on the back cover, and on the 2009 remastered edition back cover. Capitol's parent company EMI purchased United Artists Records in the late 1970s, and Capitol gained the American rights to the Let It Be soundtrack album (along with the American rights to another, earlier, United Artists Beatles movie soundtrack LP, 1964's A Hard Day's Night ).

Aside from the red apple, other examples in which the apple has been altered include George Harrison's album All Things Must Pass triple album, on which the first two discs have orange apples while the third has a jar label reading Apple Jam; black and white apples on John Lennon's album John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Yoko Ono's album Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band ; a blue apple on Ringo Starr's single "Back Off Boogaloo"; Harrison's album Extra Texture (Read All About It) , on which the apple (in shrunken cartoon form) is eaten away at its core (this was intended to be a joke because it was released at a time when Apple Records was beginning to fold); and a red apple on Starr's compilation album Blast from Your Past . Other types of apples were also used: in 1971, for Lennon's Imagine and Ono's Fly , the apples respectively featured pictures of Lennon and Ono, as did the apples for Ono's 1973 Approximately Infinite Universe and the singles that were released from these three albums.

Zapple Records

The Zapple label of George Harrison's Electronic Sound LP (US issue) Zapple.png
The Zapple label of George Harrison's Electronic Sound LP (US issue)

Zapple Records, an Apple Records subsidiary run by Barry Miles, a friend of McCartney, was intended as an outlet for the release of spoken word and avant-garde records, as a budget label. [8] It was active only from 3 February 1969 [9] until June 1969; two albums were released on the label, one by Lennon and Ono ( Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions ) and one by Harrison ( Electronic Sound ). An album of readings by Richard Brautigan was planned for release as Zapple 3, and acetate disc copies were cut, but, said Miles, "The Zapple label was folded by [Allen] Klein before the record could be released. The first two Zapple records did come out. We just didn't have [Brautigan's record] ready in time before Klein closed it down. None of the Beatles ever heard it." [10] Brautigan's record was eventually released as Listening to Richard Brautigan on Harvest Records, a subsidiary of Apple distributor EMI, in the US only. [10]

The first record that was done for Zapple was by poet Charles Olson. [11] According to Miles, a spoken word album by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, which had been recorded and edited, would have been Zapple 4, and a spoken word album by Michael McClure had also been recorded. [10] A planned Zapple release of a UK appearance by comedian Lenny Bruce was never completed. An early 1969 press release also named Pablo Casals as an expected guest on the label. American author Ken Kesey was given a tape recorder to record his impressions of London, but they were never released. Miles also had the intention of bringing world leaders to the label. [8] Zapple was shut down in June 1969 by Klein, apparently with the backing of Lennon. [12]

Artists

Also released were the soundtracks to Come Together and El Topo (in the US), the onetime Philles Records compilation Phil Spector's Christmas Album and the multi-artist The Concert for Bangla Desh . Cassette and 8-track tape versions of Bangla Desh were marketed by Columbia Records after a deal that permitted the inclusion of Bob Dylan, a Columbia artist, on the album.

Artists who had considerable success in the pop and rock world after their initial sessions at Apple Records include Badfinger (originally known as the Iveys), James Taylor, Mary Hopkin, Hot Chocolate, Yoko Ono and Billy Preston.

Artists who auditioned to appear on the label, but did not make it, include:

Discography

See also

Notes

  1. Gould 2008 , pp. 470–473
  2. "George Harrison produces Jackie Lomax's Sour Milk Sea" . Retrieved 9 April 2017.
  3. Lennon 2006 , p. 323
  4. Kronemeyer, David (15 May 2009). "Deconstructing Pop Culture: The Beatles' Contract History with Capitol Records". MuseWire. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  5. Kozinn, Allan, "Magical Mystery Tour Ends for Apple Corps Executive", The New York Times , 12 April 2007, passim. (link)
  6. Christman, Ed (9 September 2009). "The Beatles: Here, There And Everywhere Except iTunes". billboard.com. Billboard Music. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  7. Bruno, Antony (16 November 2010). "Beatles Catalog Finally Coming to iTunes, Apple Announces". billboard.com. Billboard Music. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  8. 1 2 Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 13. ISBN   978-0-9544528-1-0.
  9. Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. p. 15. ISBN   978-0-9544528-1-0.
  10. 1 2 3 Barry Miles, as quoted by Richie Unterberger in the sleevenotes to the eventual non-Apple release of Listening to Richard Brautigan.
  11. Blaney, John (2005). John Lennon: Listen to This Book (illustrated ed.). [S.l.]: Paper Jukebox. pp. 13, 15. ISBN   978-0-9544528-1-0.
  12. The Archive Hour, BBC Radio 4, 12 June 2004

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References