Imagine, if you will, a world where the musicians, writers, artists, film-makers, inventors, designers, and other creative types were free of the corporate world and allowed the resources and creative freedom to do whatever they wanted. That is what The Beatles set out to do in 1968. By 1967, they were starting to see the money pouring in from all of their previous years of hard work. They were also about to see a large quantity of that money fly away in the form of taxes. So, they started to explore the idea of forming a company, but not just any company, but a company where the artists would be in charge. Also, a venture that would see them taxed at a much lower rate.
Apple Corps was conceived by Brian Epstein and the band by 1967 when they had released their Magical Mystery Tour film under their new Apple Films division. No matter that, commercially, Magical Mystery Tour was flop and resoundingly panned by the critics. they went ahead with the idea. Initially they planned to open boutiques and shops to cash in on the hippie movements accessories; Tie-Dye, beads, clothing, posters, lava lamps etc…and Epstein established a small group of companies (Apple Retail, Apple Publishing, Apple Electronics and so on), as part of a plan to create a tax-effective business structure. But then in August, ‘67, Epstein was found dead. Paul and John the took the positions of driving force behind the various commercial ventures, even setting up corporate offices in Baker Street. But, right in the middle of forming this tax haven/creative utopian company, the creators picked up and went to India to follow their guru.
Apple Records was officially founded by the group after their return from India in 1968, as another sub-division of Apple Corps.
Despite a hefty investment, little of substance was forthcoming from these assorted misfits outside of the music that emerged from one division of the potential empire; Apple Records.
The Beatles ‘discovered’ and signed a marvelous group of artists. Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Billy Preston, The Modern Jazz Quartet and The Iveys (who later became Badfinger).
Even discounting those Apple platters that featured as artist the collective or individual names of the company's bosses, music that stands the test of time superbly was released under the stamp of this enterprise. Music which remains available still and both popular and exciting more than 40 years after the majority of it was produced.
The Beatles - Strange Fruit: The Beatles' Apple Records is the story of a record label which came to exist under extraordinary circumstances, produced extraordinary records and was operated under extraordinary guidelines.
Featuring new interviews with former label M.D. Tony Bramwell, members of Badfinger, The Iveys and Elephant's Memory, Jackie Lomax, Brute Force and David Peel, plus musician and Beatles expert Chris Ingham, author and journalist Mark Paytress and Apple biographer Stefan Granados.
The film also includes archive footage of Apple artists and the organization for which they recorded as well as interviews from the vaults, location film, rare photographs and of course, the music upon which the label made its name.
Available tomorrow, April 24, the video is a must for Beatles fans, and collectors of ‘60s music and memorabilia and anyone that remotely calls themselves a music aficionados.
Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved