Pontardawe, Wales, UK
Claim to Fame
Those Where the Days
Psychedelic, Folk-Rock, AM Pop
Mary Hopkin (born 3 May 1950), credited on some recordings as Mary Visconti, is a Welsh folk singer best known for her 1968 UK number one single "Those Were The Days". She was one of the first musicians to sign to The Beatles' Apple label.
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Mary Hopkin (born May 3, 1950) is a Welsh folk singer. She is best known as one of the first artists (along with James Taylor) to sign to the Beatles` Apple Records label.
EARLY SINGING CAREER
Mary was born in Pontardawe, Wales to a Welsh-speaking family and began her musical career as a folk singer with a local group called the Selby Set and Mary. She released an EP of Welsh language songs for a local record label called Cambrian who were based in her home town, before signing to the Beatles` Apple Records. The model Twiggy saw her winning the British ITV television talent show Opportunity Knocks and recommended her to Paul McCartney. She became one of the first artists to record on the Beatles` Apple record label.
Her debut single, "Those Were the Days", produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK on August 30, 1968 (catalogue number APPLE 2). Despite competition from a well-established star, Sandie Shaw, who released her version of the same song as a single that same year, Hopkin`s version became a number one hit in the UK singles chart, and reached #2 in the United States. On 2 October 1968 Hopkin appeared at St Paul`s Cathedral, London for the "Pop Experience" where she sang "Morning Of My Life," "Turn Turn Turn," and "Plaisir D`amour." On 21 February 1969 her debut album, Postcard, also produced by McCartney, was released. It included covers of three songs from Donovan, who also played on the album, and one song each from George Martin and Harry Nilsson. It reached number three on the UK Albums Chart, although it proved to be her solitary success story in that particular chart.
The next single was "Goodbye," written by Paul McCartney (but credited to Lennon-McCartney), released on 28 March 1969 (APPLE 10); it reached #2 in the UK singles chart. It was kept off the top of the charts by the Beatles` single Get Back. "Goodbye" has never been officially released by the Beatles, although a demo version can be found on some of the Beatles` bootlegs.
She represented the United Kingdom in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest singing "Knock Knock, Who`s There?". Author & Historian John Kennedy O`Connor notes in The Eurovision Song Contest — The Official History, that she gave a very comfortable performance and sang in a crystal clear voice, but despite being the pre-contest favourite, Mary came second to "All Kinds of Everything", performed by Irish singer Dana. "Knock Knock, Who`s There?" was released as a single on 23 March 1970, reaching #2 again in the UK. Her second, folky album, Earth Song, Ocean Song, was released by Apple on October 1, 1971. The record was produced by her husband Tony Visconti and included cover versions of songs written by Cat Stevens, Gallagher and Lyle, and Ralph McTell.
AFTER THE HIT SINGLES
After marrying Visconti in 1971, Hopkin withdrew from the pop music scene to have a family. Although reportedly unhappy with show business, Hopkin did not stop recording. She travelled to Australia with Visconti in January 1972 and performed at a large outdoor rock festival in South Australia, as well as giving concerts in several major cities. With the help of Visconti, 1972 saw the release of the Christmas song "Mary Had Baby"/"Cherry Tree Carol" on Regal Zonophone Records, which was re-released in 1973. Later that year, the single "Summertime Summertime"/"Sweet And Low" was released on Bell Records under the name of Hobby Horse.
Although no other singles or albums came out in her name until 1976, she sang on numerous recordings that her husband Visconti produced, such as those featuring Tom Paxton, Ralph McTell, David Bowie (Low), Bert Jansch, The Radiators From Space, Thin Lizzy, Carmen, Sarstedt Brothers, Osibisa, Sparks, Hazel O`Connor and Elaine Paige.
On all of these recordings (and also on her husband`s own album Inventory) she is credited as Mary Visconti. During this time, she also appeared on various TV shows such as Cilla Black`s and various radio programmes.
RETURN TO RECORDING
In 1976, she returned to recording under her own name and released the single "If You Love Me" (originally recorded by Edith Piaf). The B-side, "Tell Me Now", was an original composition by Hopkin.
Her next single was "Wrap Me In Your Arms", with the B-side again written by Hopkin ("Just A Dreamer"). These singles came out on Visconti`s Good Earth Records label. Several songs recorded for an album at the time have now been released under Hopkin`s own label, Mary Hopkin Music.
Two members of Steeleye Span (Bob Johnson and Pete Knight) chose Hopkin to play "Princess Lirazel" on their concept album The King of Elfland`s Daughter. She also appeared at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival with Bert Jansch. 1976 also saw the birth of her second child. Before the 1970s ended, Decca released a compilation LP of Hopkin`s Cambrian
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