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Those Were The Days

Mary Hopkin recorded 'Those Were The Days' four times:

  • 1968 - produced by Paul McCartney and reaching number one around the world
  • 1972 - Live at the Royal Festival Hall
  • 1977 - with Tony Visconti, along with 'Goodbye'
  • in 2018 - with daughter Jessica Lee Morgan and son Morgan Visconti, as a 50th anniversary celebration
  • 1968

    Mary Hopkin Those Were The Days Apple Records

    Mary remembers:

    "The recording was quite a momentous occasion for me. It was in Abbey Road Studios. There was a full orchestra there, which was quite intimidating. The song was fresh and new to me, even though I'd learnt it, so when we started recording I was very timid about it.

    "Paul would come in and say, 'Think about the lyrics and who this person is.' I wasn't happy with what I'd done, so he said, 'Go home and think about it and we'll try again on Monday.' Which I did. And in the meantime John Lennon rang me at home in Wales and said, 'To err is human, to forgive divine. Just try again. You know you'll do it.' That was so sweet because Paul must have told him that I was nervous and didn't quite get the take. That was such a lovely thing to do.

    "I went in on Monday and nailed it, they said... But I was more comfortable with it. Generally the song was about a much older person than I was. I was a little schoolgirl basically. Maybe that's what worked with the song, the fact that I was almost a child, singing an older woman's song. That's what people liked about it. But I felt privileged to have been given that song by Paul."

    This recording is still owned and controlled by Apple Records. It can be distiguished by a cymbalum opening to the song. It's available on legitimate download services.

    The numbers:

  • TWTD was number 1 on the UK Singles Chart.
  • Number 2 on the US Billboard Hot 100 (held off no 1 by Hey Jude)
  • Number 1 on Canada RPM Singles Chart
  • Number 1 Germany
  • Number 1 Switzerland
  • Sold 1.5m copies in USA
  • Awarded Gold Disk by RIAA
  • Global sales 8m
  • 1972

    Mary Hopkin Live at the Royal Festival Hall

    Mary Hopkin Music released Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972 to launch our label. This album is available for download by clicking the picture. We are planning to remaster and re-release the album early in 2021.

    We included a re-mastered version of TWTD on our 2018 EP.

    Mary performed as support to Ralph McTell at The Royal Festival Hall. Somehow this got recorded and we released the album in 2005. We sent it for remastering, removing Mary's spoken intro, and have included it here. Some hiss exists, we can't do much about it but we are very glad to hear Mary sing live. Backing her up are Brian Willoughby on guitar, Danny Thompson on bass, The Pop Arts String Quartet and conductor Tony Visconti.

    1977

    Mary Hopkin Those Were The Days / Goodbye

    Mary re-recorded 'Those Were The Days' and 'Goodbye'. after Mary left Apple, with her then-husband, Tony Visconti. Tony transcribed Richard Hewson's original Apple arrangements. He played the bouzouki to represent the original cymbalom. The children's choir were represented by Mary and Suzy Lynch, who were sped up to sound much younger.

    The recordings were made for compilations, and were contracted to K-Tel, released on tapes, vinyl and even 8-track at the time. However, since the emergence of CDs and digital releases, the two tracks have appeared on numerous compilations, and all out of contract and unauthorised, meaning that Mary and others on the re-recordings do not get royalties.

    To avoid long and costly legal action, Mary Hopkin Music released these two tracks digitally in 2014, with new artwork by Mary to identify them, and they are available on all download and streaming services (the ones that pay royalties!).

    Of course Apple have re-released the original albums and recordings in recent years and their releases are, of course, legitimate and authorised. Another recording of 'Those Were the Days' appears on the Mary Hopkin Music release Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972 and this is also legitimate.

    2018

    Mary Hopkin Those Were The Days 2018

    The new recording was prompted by the 50th anniversary of the original recording. Jessica, Mary's daughter, asked her if she would like to revisit the song. They agreed that it would be a stripped-down version, with sparse guitars. While Mary loves the original arrangement by Richard Hewson, she said "I wanted to perform it in a quieter, more reflective way."

    The recording process is far removed from how it was done in 1968, and is truly a family operation. Jessica recorded piano and guitars (engineered by her partner Christian). Mary recorded her vocals at her home with Jess. Morgan, in New York, added fretless bass and mixed the track. For good measure, it was mastered in South Wales by Donal at Hafod, who has mastered MHM releases since 2010.

    Mary also recorded:

  • Robin Williams - The Grim Rapper, 2002
  • Dolly Parton - TWTD - 2005

    Further reading:

    The story of Those Were The Days by Piers Ford

    Those Were The Days on Discogs

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    LEGAL NOTICE

    Mary Hopkin Music owns and administers original masters of 1977 re-recordings by Mary Hopkin of the songs 'Those Were The Days' and 'Goodbye' ("the Recordings").

    In recent months it has come to the company's attention that certain companies including K-Tel have been involved in unauthorised exploitation of the Recordings as digital downloads and previously in digital formats and has purported to license certain third parties to engage in similar unauthorised exploitation.

    This exploitation has been unlawful and in infringement of the company's rights and formal steps have been taken to prevent further unauthorised exploitation.

    Would all fans of Mary Hopkin please ensure that they only buy official Mary Hopkin product, either released by or licensed from Mary Hopkin Music. If you have any queries please contact us at mhm@spacestudios.co.uk.

    [This notice does not apply to exploitation of 'Those Were the Days' and 'Goodbye' released on Apple Records or Mary Hopkin Music.]