Singles Collection Vol 1: August 1968 - March 1969
Singles Collection Vol 2: March 1969 - July 1969
Singles Collection Vol 3: July 1969 - October 1969
Singles Collection Vol 4: October 1969 - March 1970
Singles Collection Vol 5: May 1970 - December 1970
Singles Collection Vol 6: November 1970 - June 1971
Singles Collection Vol 7: July 1971 - January 1972
Singles Collection Vol 8: November 1971 - 1972
Singles Collection Vol 9: November 1972 - May 1973
Singles Collection Vol 10: June 1973 - February 1974
Singles Collection Vol 11: March 1974 - February 1975
Singles Collection Vol 12: March 1975 - October 1991
In a perfect
world, Apple themselves would have seized upon this idea years ago,
although its doubtful whether even they would have sourced
(or even cared about) every one of the songs spread across this
12-CD, 258-track digest.
the Apple singles catalog itself is only the starting point
Scattered throughout, foreign language rerecordings, unreleased
acetates, mono and stereo variations, radio spots, interview snippets
and more build up into the most complete portrait of the Beatles
Apple dream that you could ever hope to build, while the careers
of the labels non-Beatle acts are detailed with as much precision
as the Beatles own.
Of course the
Beatles dominate the package, both collectively (23 tracks, including
dialogue from Let It Be and a bizarre union with British
DJ Kenny Everett) and individually (88), with the later discs given
over more or less exclusively to John, Paul, George and Ringos
mid-late 1970s output.
But, even if you have the original records, thats not such
a bad thing - between them, the four were responsible for some of
the most memorable 45s of the period, and one forgets how effortlessly
their ideas dovetailed with one another, even in isolation.
of Beatledoms favorite hobbies, compiling solo tracks into
some approximation of a post-split "Beatles" album
well, you can stop now.
They did it themselves on single, long ago, while individual cuts
like McCartneys "Another Day," Starrs "Back
Off Boogaloo," Harrisons "My Sweet Lord" and
the Lennons "Happy Christmas" might even shade the
best of the big bands output.
chronology of the set does not always work to its advantage. Disc
One certainly creaks a little beneath five consecutive versions
of Mary Hopkins "Those Were The Days" (in English,
Italian, Spanish, German and French), no matter how timeless the
song itself is. But move onto Disc Two, and the same ladys
"Sparrow" is rendered into Welsh with heartstoppingly
lovely results. And if the sequencing of the non-Beatles tracks
occasionally throws up some horrific juxtapositions (another Hopkin
jewel is immediately followed by the blustering "King of Fuh";
the Iveys are forced to follow a Plastic Ono Band acetate), then
that only reinforces the sheer dexterity of the labels founding
True, no 45s
spun off the labels most challenging releases (Life With
The Lions, Electronic Sounds etc), but any catalog that can
find room for David Peel, the Black Dyke Mills Brass Band and the
Radha Krishna Temple (not to mention Yoko Ono) certainly wasnt
chasing platinum records. Not all the time, anyway.
big wheels - actual (Badfinger, Billy Preston, Ravi Shankar) and
proposed (Doris Troy, Ronnie Spector, James Taylor) - are all well
represented, of course, but its the minor league attractions
that raise the most ears. Lon and Derrek Van Eatons low-fi
Spectorisms have a lilting appeal that is as thrilling today as
it was out-to-lunch back then, while the signing of Chris Hodge
suggests that Apple knew the way the winds were blowing in Britain,
long before the Brits themselves had figured it out - "Contact
Love" is the best early T Rex single that Marc Bolan never
made. Plus, five years before the world and its mother was raving
about Hot Chocolates smooth blending of pop, funk and politics,
John Lennon was encouraging them to reggaefy "Give Peace A
Chance," and change his sainted lyrics as well!
The Apple dream
did not last, although it survived for longer than a lot of people
remember. The label was still issuing non-Beatle related material
into 1972, four years after its inception, and nine discs into this
package, and though Harrisons "This Guitar Cant
Keep From Crying," midway through Disc 12, marks the end of
Apples days as a functioning outlet, there were at least sufficient
odds and ends to fill the disc with surprises - CD re-edits, odd
rerecordings, and even an unanswered mystery, in the form of a mid-1970s
single by Nola York, that had no Apple connection whatsoever, beyond
an inexplicable Apple catalog number.
A labor of
love from start to finish, then, The Apple Singles Collection
represents one of the most intelligent, and intelligently compiled
anthologies - official or otherwise - ever to materialize. It also
reminds us how very few record labels there have been, whose entire
output remains worth listening to, decades after the original vinyl
turned to muffled scratchiness. So what if the hits didnt
fly effortlessly out of the door? Who cares if nobody remembers
Trash today? And does it matter that the sun went down on the Sundown
Playboys before it had ever really risen? Each and every one of
them was Apple to the core. And thats the only recommendation
you should require.
Thompson is the author of many well reviewed rock biographies, including
the recent Virgin Books' Red Hot Chili Peppers biography, works
on The Cure and Kurt Cobain. He wrote Cream: The World's First Supergroup
which was published early last year. In the past, Dave has written
for Live! Music Review and he is also a regular contributor to Rolling
Stone, Mojo and Q magazines. Click
here to buy Dave's books.
The Apple Singles Collection is part of the BigO Audio Archive.
We secured a set at the end of 2005. Only a few extremely rare tracks
were from MP3 sources.