Monthly Archives: December 2010


You could buy the complete Apple Records catalog on iTunes or you could buy this bargain CD of some of the best songs Apple ever released. I’m including the descriptions of the 21 tracks on this great anthology. If you’re a fan of Apple Records, this is a must-buy!
1 Those Were The Days / Mary Hopkin
The multi-million selling debut 45 by Mary Hopkin was UK No. 1 for six weeks in 1968 and was produced by Paul McCartney, who discovered this 1920s Russian folk song in a London night club.

2 Carolina In My Mind / James Taylor
Taken from his self-titled debut album, this is the original version of ‘Carolina In My Mind’, cut in London in 1968. Issued as a US single, it features Paul McCartney on bass and George Harrison on backing vocals.

3 Maybe Tomorrow / The Iveys
The Iveys were brought to Apple by former Beatles roadie Mal Evans and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’ was a hit in Holland and a minor hit in the US, before the band changed its name to Badfinger.

4 Thingumybob / The Black Dyke Mills Band
Paul McCartney’s theme tune for a 1968 British TV comedy drama series, recorded by the most famous brass band in the world.

5 King Of Fuh / Brute Force
Brute Force is a New York songwriter and this single was championed by John Lennon and George Harrison, but ‘Fuh’ rhymes with ‘Uh’, and ‘the Fuh king’ was therefore banned back in 1969.

6 Sour Milk Sea / Jackie Lomax
Jackie Lomax has a great blue-eyed soul voice that more than does justice to this otherwise unavailable ‘White Album’-era song by George Harrison. Paul and Ringo provide rhythm and Eric Clapton plays lead guitar.

7 Goodbye / Mary Hopkin
Mary’s hugely successful follow-up to ‘Those Were The Days’ was written by Paul McCartney, and features Paul providing his own thigh-slapping percussion throughout.

8 That’s The Way God Planned It / Billy Preston
Billy Preston’s breakthrough UK hit, reaching No. 11, features the stellar line-up of Billy on keyboards, George Harrison on guitar, Keith Richards on bass, Ginger Baker on drums and Eric Clapton on lead guitar.

9 New Day / Jackie Lomax
An original non-album Lomax 45 that was co-produced with Mal Evans, and single-handedly defines the Jackie Lomax sound: British soul meets R&B with horns.

10 Golden Slumbers-Carry That Weight / Trash
A powerful interpretation of two songs from The Beatles’ Abbey Road, recorded by Trash, a heavy Scottish group that came to Apple via their producer, former Shadows drummer Tony Meehan.

11 Give Peace A Chance / Hot Chocolate Band
This completely re-worded British reggae version of John Lennon’s peace anthem was brought to Apple in a one-off deal by the band that became hugely popular in the Seventies with a string of classic disco hits.

12 Come And Get It / Badfinger
Written and produced by Paul McCartney for The Magic Christian film starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr, ‘Come And Get It’ was a massive worldwide hit and the first record issued by The Iveys under their new name of Badfinger.

13 Ain’t That Cute / Doris Troy
Soul singer-songwriter Doris Troy had scored hits before coming to Apple in 1969, and she and George Harrison wrote ‘Ain’t That Cute’ from scratch in the studio — the first time George had ever written a song that way.

14 My Sweet Lord / Billy Preston
George Harrison produced this soulful, gospel version of his most famous solo song, which he gave to Billy Preston before he had recorded it and released it himself.

15 Try Some Buy Some / Ronnie Spector
Ronnie Spector, one-time Ronette and former wife of legendary producer Phil, recorded this George Harrison original in 1971. George later re-cut it himself for Living In The Material World, using the exact same backing as Ronnie’s single.

16 Govinda / Radha Krishna Temple
‘Govinda’ is a Sanskrit hymn to Krishna, and was a UK Top 30 hit for the Radha Krishna Temple in 1970. Produced by George Harrison, who also plays bass and accordion.

17 We’re On Our Way / Chris Hodge
In 1972, Chris Hodge, a young British pop singer with a fascination for UFOs, caught the attention of Ringo Starr who signed Chris to Apple. ‘We’re On Our Way’ was recorded at Apple’s own studio in the basement of 3 Savile Row, London, and was a hit in America.

18 Saturday Nite Special / The Sundown Playboys
‘Saturday Nite Special’ is a lover’s lament sung in Cajun French by this cross-generational collective from Louisiana, USA, who came to Apple when their teenage accordionist sent in the song on a whim.

19 God Save Us / Bill Elliot & The Elastic Oz Band
John Lennon and Yoko Ono wrote this fundraiser for the defense in the famous Oz Obscenity Trial of 1971 and produced it too with Mal Evans and Phil Spector. Vocalist Bill Elliot later signed to George Harrison’s Dark Horse label.

20 Sweet Music / Lon & Derrek van Eaton
New Jersey’s Lon & Derrek van Eaton were one of the last acts to sign to Apple in 1971 and the first to make use of Apple’s then state-of-the-art recording studio. George Harrison produced ‘Sweet Music’ and Ringo played drums.

21 Day After Day / Badfinger
The band’s third single for Apple was produced by George Harrison, who duetted with the band’s Pete Ham on the slide guitar solo. It went UK Top 10 in 1972, and peaked at No. 4 Billboard in the US, in the same week that Nilsson’s cover of Badfinger’s ‘Without You’ was at No. 1.


I’ve chosen Ed McBain’s Downtown because this is one of the few novels I know of that takes place on Christmas Eve. Michael Barnes, a Florida orange grower who finds himself in a Manhattan bar with a couple of hours to kill, is swindled, robbed, framed for murder. With the help of a sexy cab driver, Barnes figures out why all this adversity happened to him. If you like screwball comedies with a dark side, give Downtown a try. GRADE: B+

FAME: What the Classics Tell Us about Our Cult of Celebrity by Tom Payne

Tom Payne explores the world of Paris Hilton, Madonna, Lady Gaga, and the Rich & Famous. From Greek mythology and Roman history, to the stories of the Christian martyrs and the French Revolution, Payne shows how celebrity and fame have followed predictable patterns. I learned that Mae West originally said “No” to being on the cover of Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band until the Beatles wrote her a personal letter. That letter changed her mind and opened the door to more Fame. Of course, Fame is fleeting for most people, mostly Andy Warhol’s iconic “15 minutes of fame.” If you’re interested in cults of personality and the vagaries of Fame, this is the go-to book. GRADE: B+


Just in time for the holidays comes John Mortimer’s delightful A Rumpole Christmas. This slim collection contains “Rumpole and Father Christmas,” “Rumpole’s Slimmed-Down Christmas,” “Rumplole and the Boy,” “Rumpole and the Old Familiar Face,” and “Rumpole and the Christmas Break.” My favorite among this group was “Rumpole’s Slimmed-Down Christmas” where Rumpole’s wife Hilda (aka, She Who Must Be Obeyed) arranges for a stay at a health resort for the holidays. Of course, a murder changes everyone’s Christmas plans. If you haven’t read any Rumpole stories, this is a good place to start. If you’re a Rumpole fan, you’ll enjoy the holiday spirit in these wonderful stories. GRADE: B+
(This completes the final month of my 2010 Short Story Reading Challenge. I read and reviewed one short story collection per month in 2010. To find out more about the Short Story Reading Challenge, be sure to click: “”>Short Story Reading Challenge.