This Mary Hopkin site was last updated October 2002, click on the banner below to see the main menu.
The Original Friendly Society was started back in 1968 by Carole Hopkin, Mary’s sister, and was run from the Beatles Apple Offices in Saville Row. Later the task of running the society was taken over by Mary’s mother in Pontardawe which was Mary’s home town, there it remained until it’s closure in 1973.
Then it was a Fan Club today it is an opportunity for ‘fans’ old and new to keep in touch and continue to appreciate her music.
The fact that her recordings are so few, lends a mystique to all the beautiful songs that she has recorded, and makes searching for them such a wonderful adventure. When I discover a recording I have never heard before the memories and the magic of the first time I ever heard her voice come rolling back.
So as you can probably tell I am hooked on nostalgia. I will not apologise for that, as I love to look back and remember. So if you find yourself saying “Those Were The Days” frequently, please do read on…..
Mary’s story has been told many times over. At some point we may write a sheer unadulterated biography for this website, but for now, here are the basics, pulled from Wikipedia:
Mary Hopkin (born May 3, 1950) is a Welsh folk singer. She is best known as one of the first artists to sign to The Beatles’ Apple Records label.
Alongside playing solo gigs and with her band around the local clubs, Mary released an album of Welsh language songs on a label called Cambrian who were based in her home town of Pontardawe, 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.
Mary’s debut single, ‘Those Were the Days’, produced by Paul McCartney, was released in the UK on August 30, 1968. On 21 February 1969 her debut album, ‘Postcard’, also produced by McCartney, was released.
She represented the United Kingdom in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest singing ‘Knock Knock, Who’s There?’, coming second in the competition. If you mention Eurovision to Mary now, she pulls a disgusted face, not because she came second, but because this represents the pinnacle of the sugary sweet pop world that she hated.
Her second album, ‘Earth Song, Ocean Song’, was released by Apple on October 1, 1971. The record was produced by Tony Visconti and included cover versions of songs written by Cat Stevens, Gallagher and Lyle, and Ralph McTell. This is by far Mary’s favourite album and she regrets being unable to promote it properly, being tied up in a summer season. Her Apple releases have now been remastered and are available on CD and downloads.
After marrying Visconti in 1971, Hopkin withdrew from the pop music scene to have a family. Delaney (who changed his name to Morgan) was born in 1972 and Jessica in 1976. 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 songs ‘Mary Had a Baby’/’Cherry Tree Carol’ on Regal Zonophone Records, which was re-released in 1973. These have been released on CD by Mary Hopkin Music (that’s us) in 2008.
She was in a band called Sundance with Mike Hurst and Mike de Albuquerque of ELO, and then she made an album with the original band called Oasis (nothing to do with those naughty brothers) which also featured Julian Lloyd Webber and Peter Skellern. In 1989 she recorded “Spirit” with Benny Gallagher. Now being re-released on MHM.
Lots of recording projects over the years kept Mary as busy as she wants to be, and none of them were ever intended as a “comeback”, although this is tends to be what happens.
Her daughter, Jessica Morgan, released ‘Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1972’ in 2005 under the label Mary Hopkin Music. When Jessica opened Space Studios later that year with her partner Christian Thomas (the other one, not the Pink Floyd record producer), Mary Hopkin Music was incorporated into the studio which now provides a haven where Mary can record. The discovery of yet more unreleased tracks recorded with Tony Visconti has led to our release of the “Archive” albums on Mary Hopkin Music. Additionally, Mary has since found a huge stash of other songs written by herself. We are working on releasing these too.
Mary lives a nomadic lifestyle, flitting about between countries. Rumour has it that she lives in a chateau in France where she can only be reached by carrier pigeon. While not strictly true, she still values her privacy.
I’m Mary’s daughter and all this was my idea. After lugging around those heavy 2″ tapes to yet one more storage place, I decided it was time to do something with them. I talked with Mary about a DIY approach – after all, in these days of the internet, anything is possible. So we started with the ready-made “Festival Hall”, printed some CDs and I made a website. Through the amazing power of fans, we started selling them! MHM was started from my house, shortly before Chris and I set up Space Studios. Our hallway was lined with boxes of CDs and I was up to my eyes in envelopes and Paypal slips, holding up the post office queue every other day. When we moved into the studio premises, I still did it all myself until I outsourced packing to Pack-it, a social enterprise in Cardiff that still handles my mailing today. But I still write the website, organise releases, do most of the artwork, find barcodes, and everything else as well as acting as Mary’s manager. At least the manager part is simple, mostly saying “No” to offers of tours, gigs, and TV (sorry peeps!).
Other things I do include running Space Studios with Chris, getting my own album promoted, and occasional forays into health and social care consultancy (really!).
I wanted to explain all this to let you know that this is the only way Mary could do what she feels comfortable with. I have bent her arm on a number of occasions, resulting in a few interviews in the press and on radio, but mostly she comes up with her own ideas and I put them into action. So we’re a small operation but perfectly formed. Huge thanks and love must go to Chris’s endless patience with Mary in the studio, Morgan my brother for his work on “You Look Familiar”, and Pat Richmond the #1 fan who runs www.maryhopkin.net and spreads Mary all over social media by her own free will.