Tuesday, December 04, 2007
'A' Is For 'Apple'
On this night 40 years ago, the Apple Boutique opened at 94 Baker Street, brightly adorned with the psychedelic designs of Dutch artists The Fool--much to the chagrin of the merchants in the area. (Soon after it's unveiling, the Beatles were forced to paint over the mural.) Until a permanent residence for Apple was established at 3 Saville Road, the top floor of the boutique served as an office. Judging from the film and photos from that opening night, it looked like a splendid party, with guests including Eric Clapton, Cilla Black, and Richard Lester. Only John and George represented the Beatles at the party--Ringo could be excused as he was in Rome filming Candy. (If you'll indulge the fan in me to speak for a moment--I think John looks very handsome with this hairstyle, glasses, and suit. Something about the sideburns during these few months...The last photo of John, which is one of my faves, is from Yoko's exhibition at the Lisson Gallery, which also took place around the same time.) I wish more color footage from the party existed!
The original idea of establishing Apple Corp was to spend money by investing in music-related ventures, in essence obtaining tax breaks and avoiding paying upwards of 3 million pounds in taxes. The spirit of the company, however, was to reflect the spirit of the age--music, films, avant-garde projects, electronics, publishing, etc. in a form of "western communism," as Lennon stated. They wanted to give artists a chance to be discovered without "crawling on their knees in some office" (yet again, a Lennon statement). A very noble intent--but soon the boutique and other divisions of the company were draining funds like a sieve. For an in depth look at the workings of Apple, two books are highly recommended: Apple to the Core by Peter McCabe and Robert D. Schonfeld, and one of my favorite Beatles-related books ever: The Longest Cocktail Party by Apple House-Hippie Richard Diello. The first scan is from Apple promotional poster designed by The Fool. (They also painted John's piano, a carriage for Julian, and George's fireplace. One of their finest works was for the cover of the Incredible String Band's 5000 Spirits, or Layers of the Onion.)
(Reference: The Beatles: 10 Years That Shook The World by the editors of Mojo, p. 280)