Interview for Goldmine Magazine • Wednesday, January 1, 1992

"She's A Joan Baez Type, But We'll Soon Alter That"

Press interview • Interview of Mary Hopkin
Published by:
Goldmine Magazine
Interview by:
Bill De Young
Read interview on Goldmine Magazine
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Mary Hopkin is surprised and flattered to learn that she is something of a mythical figure in America. In the States, general knowledge of Hopkin is pretty much limited to seven singles and three albums she released between 1968 and ’72, and even then, you’d be hard–pressed to find too many people who could hum anything other than “Those Were The Days.”

Little–heard though they may have been, Mary Hopkin’s American releases were on the legendary Apple label, owned, operated — and eventually all but abandoned — by the Beatles. She was discovered, and her career set in motion, by Paul McCartney himself.

And that’s enough to put Mary Hopkin in the pop music history books. The fact that most of her Apple records were good, unlike so much of the non–Beatles Apple catalog, only makes her more of a legend.

Add to that her reluctance to do interviews (this is only the second one she’s granted since 1988) and the fog of myth descends and settles in.

Hopkin’s talking because EMI Records, in its admirable attempt to free the Apple catalog from its musty out–of–print limbo, is issuing Those Were The Days: The Best Of Mary Hopkin in the U.K. on April 3. An American deal with Capitol is reportedly in the works.

Those Were The Days is essentially a re–issue of the 1972 Apple album of the same name, Hopkin’s third and final release for the label. It collects all of her singles and most of the B–sides, lots of really, really good tracks that were not included on 1969’s Post Card or 1971’s Earth Song Ocean Song.

This new–old album has been assembled by Hopkin herself, and in addition to being chronologically sequenced (so that “Goodbye” follows “Those Were The Days,” etc.), she’s added several tracks that weren’t on the original collection, plus one outtake that’s never seen the light of day in any form.

She was born May 3, 1950 in Pontardawe, South Wales (coincidentally just a few kilometers north of Swansea, hometown of fellow Apple artists Pete Ham and Mike Gibbons of Badfinger) and with her angelic soprano voice sang folk songs with her mates at school. Accompanying herself on guitar, she’d performed on a couple of regional TV shows.

Mary Hopkin’s Cinderella story goes like this: Her Welsh agent, Bert Veale, signed her up to appear on British ITV’s Opportunity Knocks talent show, and against her better judgment (Hopkin said the program was “like the Gong Show“) she went on, and won. The date was May 6, 1968.

The long–legged and very famous model Twiggy saw Hopkin on that first show (in the weeks to follow, she’d go on to win a record number of times) and told Paul McCartney about it. McCartney happened to be looking for talent for the soon–to–be–launched Apple label, and on Twiggy’s recommendation, he tuned in to the next Opportunity Knocks, and immediately had his office find Mary Hopkin.

“I got in touch, and her and her mum came down and we had a little lunch in Oxford Street somewhere,” McCartney recalled in a 1987 interview. “Mary was really a sort of folk singer, so I said, “But, for record success, there’s this song that’s not a mile way from folkie. It’s got a folkie feel. It could be a big hit, with the right treatment, the right arrangement.”

McCartney told the story of how he found “Those Were The Days” in a London nightclub: “There would sometimes be cabaret clubs. I’d go down late, about 11:30, and catch the early show. It was kind of a good thing to do, you know, because around Berkeley Square there was the Blue Angel. I used to go down there quite regular and check out the cabaret.”

One night at the Blue Angel—it was probably in 1966—he saw an act called Gene and Francesca. “They were an American act, and I’d never heard of them before,” he said. “But they did this little song; they said “Here’s a little song of our own that we’ve worked up.’ I always thought ‘Ooh, that’s a good little song. If it hadn’t been written, someone would have to write that.'”

He was knocked out by “Those Were The Days,” which Gene (Raskin) had adapted from a traditional Lithuanian folk song.

“I got the office to try and find those people,” McCartney said. “He was an architect, I remembered. Because it was almost a hobby for them, this little thing they did on holidays.

“They found them anyway, and said ‘You know that song wot you writ? Well, ‘eed (he’d) like to do it,’ kind of thing. We got a little tape of them singing it, and I worked it all out with Mary.”

Produced by McCartney, “Those Were The Days” was released the same day as the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” (in August 1968) and went on to sell eight million singles, even knocking “Hey Jude” out of the number one spot in the U.K.

(McCartney, ever hit–conscious, had Hopkin record her vocals in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish, and “Those Were The Days” became an across–the–board international smash.)

“Those Were The Days” is Hopkin’s favorite from her batch of Apple singles (she liked the acoustic songs from Post Card, the album he produced for her, too).

Almost immediately, as McCartney’s attention began to wane, she grew disenchanted with the singles she recorded as follow–ups. She was a folk singer, not a pop artist, and despite being voted Britain’s Top Female Vocalist in 1969, she was miserable making the endless rounds of TV shows and ribbon–cutting ceremonies her Apple handlers sent her on. She lamented about the “sugar–coated” image that Apple had bestowed upon her, and about the things she was expected to do as an “all–around entertainer.”

Worst of all were the summer seasons. “A summer season,” Hopkin explains, “is a three–month gig at a summer resort, like a beach resort. In this country, we’ve got Blackpool and Margate, all over Britain wherever the beaches are. Sometimes it takes place on the pier, or in the local theatres. You perform six to eight times a week for three months.

“And unless you like that sort of thing, it’s pretty horrendous. You end up singing the most dreadful material.”

And then there were the pantomime shows, usually at Christmas, where fairy tales and sundry “light material” was given the musical treatment. Again, for weeks on end.

The low point, for Hopkin, came with her representation of Great Britain in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest. For this show of shows, she was given the insufferably bland “Knock Knock Who’s There” to sing. As she said in this interview, such things did great damage to her confidence, but she was young and naïve at the time and trusted the advice of her manager, Stan Sherrington (who was also her brother–in–law).

“Knock Knock Who’s There” was the second of three Hopkin singles produced by Mickie Most, who was brought in after McCartney drifted off (his last single for Hopkin, “Que Sera Sera” featured just him and Ringo Starr on the backing track).

Hopkin and Most didn’t get along, though, and her next sessions were produced by Tony Visconti, who’d been at the boards for the Iveys’ Maybe Tomorrow album on Apple, and would eventually go on to fame as David Bowie’s producer (Hopkin sang harmony on Bowie’s Sound And Vision in 1975).

With Visconti, Mary Hopkin was able to make an album (Earth Song Ocean Song) that she felt truly captured the acoustic flavor she’d craved from the start.

But it was too late. The record got no support from the fast–rotting Apple; Hopkin was booked into another hated summer season and was unable to tour to promote the record. Despondent, she let her Apple contract expire (although in truth there was no one left to stop her).

Hopkin and Visconti married in 1971, and he produced a couple of singles for her on his Good Earth label (now divorced, the Viscontis produced two children too).

Throughout the ’70s, she continued to perform in pantomime and summer seasons (what else did she know how to do?); in 1980 she formed part of the trio Sundance, and in ’84 she made an album (with Julian Lloyd Webber and Peter Skellern) as Oasis. Neither project saw American release.

Mary Hopkin’s last recording to date was on George Martin’s 1988 all–star production of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood, on which she played the part of Rosie Probert.

Today, Hopkin lives in England. She writes songs with her 21–year old son and talks in vague terms about returning to the music business on her own terms.

As for her Apple period, well, how to be diplomatic? For Mary Hopkin, the memories aren’t all bad, but those really weren’t the days.

Goldmine: Prior to signing with Apple, you made several records on the Welsh label, Cambrian.

Mary Hopkin: I did a few EPs in the Welsh language, and I think they were particularly enjoyed in the Welsh settlements in America and South America. There was a television program, basically Welsh folk music and contemporary music, and I did a few of those. It was a good experience. And I used to sing for pocket money with the band we’d formed, with three local boys.

We listened to English pop music, mostly. We did actually have a Welsh pop chart, but it was mostly folk music at that time. These days, they’ve gone on to do covers of a lot of the current American and English pop charts. I think they sound horrendous. In fact, I listen to the stuff I did then, covers of English songs, and they sound awful.

Goldmine: What did you want to be in those days? Did you have designs on a folk singing career?

Mary Hopkin: Joan Baez and Bert Jansch were the first guitar–playing folk singers I ever really listened to; I was introduced to them by a friend of my father’s, who was a keen folk enthusiast. I learned to play guitar from Joan Baez records and things, but left to my own devices, I think, I’d have developed into a singer/songwriter. My development was rather halted halfway, when I was thrown in at the deep end of the music business.

Goldmine: The old story is that Howard Hughes was a great fan of your Welsh–language records.

Mary Hopkin: I was rather amused by that. You could picture him as a recluse, sitting with his Kleenex on his lap, listening to this little Welsh girl. Very strange. Very odd.

Goldmine: Your “big break” came on the ITV talent program Opportunity Knocks. What was that like?

Mary Hopkin: It was all terribly, terribly embarrassing at the time. It wasn’t something I wanted to be a party to. But I was sort of (talked) into doing it by the agent who was finding us work while I was still at school. Without my knowledge, he put my name down for this show. I was mortified when I heard he had done it. You can’t condemn that kind of show, because they can do a lot for people, and certainly it would’ve taken me a lot longer, if at all, to get into the music business, but the whole thing is terribly embarrassing. I did the audition, because my agent said it would be good experience to attend an audition.

Goldmine: Do you remember what you sang on the show?

Mary Hopkin: The first thing I did was “Turn Turn Turn,” the Pete Seeger song. I just went on and did the Joan Baez songs I had learned up to that point. They’re a bit show business for my liking, those light entertainment shows. It smacks of cabaret and summer seasons.

Goldmine: I presume this is where Twiggy comes into the picture.

Mary Hopkin: Hmm, yes. She was watching it, one of the many who do watch that sort of program. I’m not one of them. But I am grateful to Twiggy; she’s lovely and she certainly gave me a momentous start in the music business. I did the show on the day after my 18th birthday; I was still supposed to be studying for my final exams at school, my university entrance exams. Twiggy saw the show, and I think the next day saw Paul McCartney. He was telling her all about the new Apple label. And she said she’d seen this girl on Opportunity Knocks, and he should check me out.

So I received a telegram, two days after the show, which I ignored for a few days. It said, “Ring Peter Brown at Apple Records” and I had never heard of either of them. I was a great Beatles fan, and I’d heard of the Apple Boutique, but nothing else. We didn’t know Apple Records was on the way.

I left it on the shelf for three days, and then my mother said it would be polite to ring back. So I did, and I was put on to whom I thought was Peter Brown. And this chap had a distinct Liverpool accent.

I started wondering at that point, making the connection with Apple but he asked me if I’d come to London and sing for him. I said, well, that depends and he realized I was being very cautious, so he asked my mother to come to the phone. So my mother came to the phone, and he said, “Oh, this is Paul McCartney. Would you like to bring your daughter to London to sing for me?”

That was it really. I was whisked off there the next day and sang for him; we demoed at the little Dick James Demo Studios. I sang a few songs for him; then I was called back about two or three weeks later, and he sang a little song for me, sort of hummed it, and said, “I’ve had this song lying around for years. It’s called “Those Were The Days.'” And he said, “Let’s go in and do it.”

Goldmine: “Those Were The Days” sold eight million singles and bumped “Hey Jude” from number one in England. Was there a game plan for your career, for following up its huge success?

Mary Hopkin: It was a bit haphazard, really. I think everyone was taken by surprise by the success of “Those Were The Days.” I don’t think anyone expected that to happen so quickly, you know. It went straight to the top of the charts, and it was number one in 13 different countries at one time, so I was whisked around the world and spent the next year promoting it.

Goldmine: Did you have the impression that Paul wanted “a girl singer” on Apple, and was trying to groom you, to fit you into the mold?

Mary Hopkin: I’m not sure what he wanted. It was definitely an experiment. I felt as though it (Post Card) was an experiment to see what I was capable of, and that was not very much at that time. I didn’t take it that seriously at that time, I thought, “This is all right.” I didn’t realize I’d spend the next 20 years trying to live it down.

Goldmine: On Post Card, you cut those big, show–stopping songs, like “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Someone To Watch Over Me.” Was Paul pushing those on you?

Mary Hopkin: Not really. Paul and I talked things over. I didn’t know what I was capable of anyway, and I thought, “He must know better than I do.” I mean, I didn’t really question it. There were songs I was obviously much more comfortable with, like the Donovan songs. I was completely at ease with those, and those would’ve led directly into Earth song Ocean Song, where I did choose the songs.

Goldmine: On that first album, you sang Donovan’s acoustic ballad “Lord Of The Reedy River.”

Mary Hopkin: I loved that. The three of us just sat there, it was all done live, and I sang direct from Donovan’s lyric book, where he had just printed the words out. It was lovely, and that’s the way I would’ve liked to work. I don’t think there were any of their songs on Post Card, but as soon as I met Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, we clicked. We were obviously on the same wavelength.

Goldmine: Did Paul score all those big orchestral arrangements on Post Card?

Mary Hopkin: Paul was always involved. He would go sit with George Martin and they would work it out. Sometimes it would come from George, and sometimes Paul would sing a little riff and say “this feel” or “that feel.” I can’t remember who did exactly what now. But Paul was very much involved.

Goldmine: What did sudden success do to you?

Mary Hopkin: It didn’t change me very much, I don’t think. I was pretty naïve about a lot of things; having grown up in Welsh valleys, you’re quite protected and sheltered from the Big Bad World. I was experiencing a lot of new things, but probably because of my solid Welsh upbringing I rejected a lot of the things I didn’t want to associate with in the music business.

I remember one quote from Paul in the press. He said, “She’s a Joan Baez type, but we’ll soon alter that.” That didn’t go down well with me; even though I thought Joan Baez was wonderful, I didn’t want to be too influenced by her. Like all young people, you listen to artists when you’re 12 or 13, and you learn their songs, but that doesn’t meant you end up being like them. You want to develop your own songs.

Goldmine: The Beatles were having serious problems by 1969. Did you feel that Paul was paying less attention to your career?

Mary Hopkin: Of course. A year went by before he wrote “Goodbye.” And that was after I’d said, “Look, how about another single?” But I understood. Obviously his priority was the Beatles, that’s natural. He said he wrote “Goodbye” in about 10 minutes. I’m not sure how true that is! It probably is.

Goldmine: The two of you played acoustic guitar together on “Goodbye” right?

Mary Hopkin: Yes, we did. And Paul put a thigh–slap on there—on his own thigh, I might add! It’s a good song for its kind, but whether it was suited to me, I don’t know. It was easy for me to do those songs. They were fun little pop songs. So it was very easy for me to say, “Oh. Okay. Yes.” But as soon as I realized what was happening, I started putting the reins on, and putting my foot down about what material I was going to do.

I trusted Paul’s judgment, anyway. I would never condemn him for what he did; because he did what he felt was right for me. And I really enjoyed working with him.

Goldmine: Were you aware of the chaos at Apple, and did it affect you?

Mary Hopkin: I was aware that it was disorganized; I think everyone involved in Apple would agree on that. I think they were just finding their feet; it was early days for them, and a lot of them were new to it anyway. [Beatles publicist] Derek Taylor mentioned in an interview over here that my management setup was pretty dreadful. I had no one to represent me at the time. Eventually, my brother–in–law took over as manager, but there was no one at Apple.

Every time I did a television show, I always had an escort, a sort of acting manager. There were a couple of people, Terry Doran and Alistair Taylor. My sister didn’t manage me, which you sometimes read in the press—she was sort of pushed into the position of chaperone–come–spokesman, because I had no one else to represent me.

Goldmine: Did you feel that they were overly concerned with your image?

Mary Hopkin: I don’t remember any formal discussions about it. Coming straight from school, I suppose I looked very innocent and little girl–ish. What I didn’t think was necessary was extra sugar–coating on the top of that. I felt they were exaggerating the image. If I’d been sitting in a bar with a drink, a glass of wine or something, and a photographer turned up, it would be whisked out of my hand and replaced with a Coke or a lemonade or something, by whoever was with me from Apple at the time.

I thought that was rather silly, because it must’ve been embarrassing to Apple to have someone like me on the label, anyway. I thought, why exaggerate this image when it’s sickly enough as it is.

Goldmine: Tell us about “Que Sera Sera,” the last single Paul produced for you.

Mary Hopkin: At the time, it was just one of Paul’s fun ideas. It was one sunny afternoon, we were sitting in Paul’s garden, and he said, “Do you like this song?” I said, “Well, I used to sing it when I was three!” And he said, “My dad likes it, let’s go and do it.” And so Ringo came along; it was all done in an afternoon. I was sort of swept along with Paul’s enthusiasm, really.

By the time I was halfway through the backing vocals, I said, “This is awful.” I really thought it was dreadful and I didn’t want it released.

Goldmine: Mickie Most came in and produced the next single, “Temma Harbour.”

Mary Hopkin: Had it been done by another artist who’d established themselves in a different vein, had I been an established singer/songwriter, for example, you can then do very twee little songs and get away with it. Like Sting did that “Happiness” song. Someone like that, because he’s established, he can sing a twee song and everybody gets the joke.

But when Mary Hopkin did something like that, the general public wouldn’t understand. Now I write very tongue–in–cheek, bitchy little songs. That’s what happened with the sugary image that was presented. It made it all very ghastly; songs like “Temma Harbour,” anything sugary, are really very nauseating to me.

Goldmine: Why Mickie Most?

Mary Hopkin: The reason I worked with Mickie was that obviously Paul and I agreed that it wasn’t going to work out, because he hadn’t the time, and I had to get more material out. We came up with Mickie Most, and I thought, “Oh, that might be good,” because he’d produced Donovan, who was very sensitive and does beautiful music.

Unfortunately, Mickie took a different approach with me. And that’s when the rot set in.

The crunch was when Mickie visited me at my final summer season. We’d been going over some songs to record, and he said, “Choose the keys, and I’ll go away and record them. When you’ve got a chance, you come down and do the vocals.” I said no way; I have to be there. I want to discuss the arrangements. I don’t want to be a session singer, just come in at the end and stick a vocal on top, thank you very much.

Goldmine: There is a perception that after the Beatles broke up, no one at the label paid any attention to the other Apple artists.

Mary Hopkin: I didn’t mind that, because I left Apple, by choice, after Earth Song Ocean Song. I was so demoralized by that time, because I’d finally done the album I wanted to, and Apple was encouraging about that, but I was then tied up in doing these horrendous summer shows, which preventing me from promoting that album. So it sort of fizzled out without a trace, because I wasn’t there to promote it. I remember reading a lovely write–up in Rolling Stone. But by that time it was too late. I’d been pushed more and more into the show business side.

It’s very easily done, because when you’re surrounded by people who’ve been in the business for years, handed around to different agents, you say yes, the first time, because you don’t know what it’s all about. It’s hard to explain, but it’s easy to be manipulated when you’re 18, 19, and people say, “Ah, but you only have to do this one, and then you’ll be free to do the kind of material you want.” They have their ways of persuading you.

Goldmine: Was it the best of times or the worst of times?

Mary Hopkin: I was so young at the time, I didn’t take it seriously. I didn’t realize immediately that it might harm me psychologically. I’m not sure how it’s harmed me as far as the public is concerned.

Goldmine: You represented England in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest, and you’ve said it was a real low point for you.

Mary Hopkin: I did lose my confidence. I really don’t want to sound too upset about it all, but at the same time it was unpleasant. I’d say.

The music quality is appalling. The only decent thing that came out of it was ABBA, that kind of music. It was another embarrassing experience, an experience to crown them all really. I wish it had never happened. I was promised that that quality of songs for the competition would be improved, that they would be decent songs.

Goldmine: And what happened?

Mary Hopkin: Well, they were dreadful. I was conned, basically. Not by the BBC, but just by people around me, who said it was very important that I do this. The song was “Knock Knock Who’s There.” I was devastated when I heard that, because by that time I was committed to doing it.

That’s the problem, you see, you weren’t told exactly what was going on. So by the time you’d committed yourself, professionally, you couldn’t back out. It would be unprofessional.

Goldmine: Aside from a few scattered singles and group recordings, you haven’t appeared much on record shelves since the Apple days. What are you doing now?

Mary Hopkin: I’m writing songs now, working either on my own or with other writers, in various styles. The songs that are important to me are the ones I’m writing with my son, Morgan, who’s living in New York. He’s 21, and he’s writing some amazing music. He sends me backing tracks and I write the melody and lyrics. And so far the response has been really good. We’re really enjoying it. We’re very much in tune. He writes what I hear, what I can’t put down, because as a musician he’s excellent. I’m fine with vocals, and basic guitar and piano, but I wouldn’t be able to put down a whole backing track as well as he does.

Goldmine: Are you considering re–entering the music business?

Mary Hopkin: Although I’m not consciously looking for a record deal—I’ve had some unpleasant experiences in the past—I’m not interested unless I have full control over what I do. But my idea would be to have them released and do videos, and that’s it.

Goldmine: So, how do you feel about the Those Were The Days album being released on CD?

Mary Hopkin: I’m not unhappy it’s coming out. Fortunately, I can sort of remove myself emotionally from it. I’m delighted that people who enjoyed the tracks then will get to hear them again. It’s always lovely. That’s why I don’t want to condemn them, really because if it gives people pleasure, it’s good. As a singer, it sort of demoralized me, but we shouldn’t harp on that, should we? I’ve moved on.

Goldmine: Do people still recognize you, stop you on the street and say, “Mary Hopkin! “Those Were The Days'”!?

Mary Hopkin: I’m afraid so, yes. I’ve never liked that side of it. I’ve always really liked the music side when I’m in control of the music. Basically, I’m not a performer. I’ve never been comfortable onstage, really. I am a singer and now, hopefully, a songwriter. I love that. I feel as if I’m finally expressing myself in the way I want to.

So the Apple days were like being in kindergarten, really, just falling over a lot and the whole world witnessing all my spelling mistakes.

Song By Song

Those Were The Days: The Best Of Mary Hopkin was compiled in 1972, and in its new greatly expanded form, by Hopkin herself. After our interview was completed, she was asked to comment on each of the album’s 17 tracks:

  • “Those Were The Days” : Good quality. I’m proud of that. It was a delight to do, especially since Pavarotti and his pals sang it.
  • “Goodbye” : Jolly little song. I think slightly in the wrong direction, but it was fun at the time. I think it was good of Paul to write it for me.
  • “Temma Harbour” : No. No. I did say no to this at the time. It was one of those long drawn–out arguments, really. I lost. Another artist, with some credibility, could’ve done that really well.
  • “Knock Knock Who’s There” : That wasn’t Mickie’s fault, even though he produced it. That was from the other side of things, nothing to do with Apple. It was just a lot of other people wanting me to do the Eurovision Song Contest. It was the accepted thing, if you were a popular singer then, that you would represent the country that year, you know.
  • “Think About Your Children” : I lost a lot of confidence because of the material I was doing. And I suppose I’ve only myself to blame anyway, but all I can say is that I was very young at the time, and however much I disagreed, there were about 15 people who would oppose me. It was very hard to stand up to all these experienced businessmen.
  • “Que Sera Sera” : As far as I remember, it’s just Paul and Ringo. I don’t think he added anything else. It was all finished in that one afternoon.
  • “Lontano Dagli Occhi” : That was another song contest, in Italy. Again, it seemed like a good idea at the time. I had never been to Italy, and I thought, “Good, I’ll go to Italy.”
  • “Sparrow” : “Sparrow” was lovely, because that’s when my friendship with [songwriters] Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle started. And we’ve been friends ever since, which is about the most wonderful thing that’s come out of my time with Apple. It was a little somber, on reflection, but at the time I was happy with it.
  • “Heritage” : I think that’s one of the ones where I just sat in the studio with Benny and Graham on acoustic guitars. I loved everything they were involved with.
  • “Fields Of St. Etienne” : That’s one of my all–time favorites. Beautiful song. Apparently, the first time it was released on an album, it was a different arrangement. It might’ve been the chap who did “Those Were The Days,” Richard something. Paul produced the other version, which was a bit over the top. And having been told that they were re–releasing it, I begged them to find the version I did with Benny and Graham. Which I think this is.
  • “Jefferson” : The country “Ya–hoo” song. Pleasant, fun, yes, not their best song. But it was fun working with them; we were great friends by then.
  • “Let My Name Be Sorrow” : I think my friend Ralph McTell found this—a French writer, I think. I loved it; it’s all a bit melodramatic, looking back, the way I sang it and the way it was arranged. They were a bit over the top. Vocally, my voice hadn’t matured enough to cope with any of these really. Many of the heavier ones. I can’t blame Paul for thinking I should sing light, jolly little songs, really. But there could’ve been a happy compromise—I could’ve sung some more of the contemporary folk things.
  • “Kew Gardens” : Oh, that’s a delightful little song. That’s a twee song, but it’s very sweet. It’s not one of my all–time favorites, but since Ralph wrote it, it’s a very sensitive little song.
  • “When I Am Old One Day” : I haven’t even heard it since then. We recorded it, but I think we had enough tracks for the album, and that was one of the ones that got left out in the end.
  • “Silver Birch And Weeping Willow” : Quite honestly, I didn’t want to include my absolute favorites on this album, because they didn’t fit in with it as a collection of songs. So I chose the lighter songs, really. “Silver Birch” is another gentle, sweet song of Ralph’s.
  • “Water Paper and Clay” : I liked it very much.
  • “Streets Of London” : I wasn’t ever happy with my vocal on that. It’s a beautiful song, but only Ralph can sing it really. It’s in this collection because I do love the Earth Song Ocean Song album. It had such a beautiful atmosphere there. It has all the best musicians—Ralph, Danny (Thompson) and Dave (Cousins, of the Strawbs) and Tony produced it very well and wrote lovely string arrangements. It was all very sensitive, and that’s the way I wanted to work.


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