Friday, September 21, 2012

Rant #809: Hello, "Goodbye"

Every once in a while, I go through my record collection just to remember what I have collected over the years.

I have so many 45s and LPs that it really shows my own personal history, my likes and dislikes and where I was at a certain place and time.

The other day, I did just that, and rediscovered a record that I had pretty much forgotten about.

Discovered by, of all people, model Twiggy, singer Mary Hopkin was virtually plucked from obscurity in 1968 and had a worldwide smash with "Those Were the Days," which took a traditional Russian folk song and made it new again. It rose to No. 2 in the U.S. and worldwide, it hit the top spot in many countries.

It was a phenomenon, an old-sounding song made new again. Kids loved it, teenagers bought into it, and even older people got into it.

And Hopkin had a wispy quality, with her long blond hair and lithe looks, that really epitomized the late 1960s.

The song was not written by Paul McCartney, as has widely been rumored, but its release on the fledgling Apple label proved that someone other than the Beatles could have a hit on the label. McCartney produced the song, and the world waited for a followup from the sulty blond lass, who was born in Wales.

They got it with the song "Goodbye," which debuted in April 1969. Although credited to McCartney and John Lennon, the song has McCartney all over it. It is light and airy, a true pop masterpiece, and melding with Hopkin's lovely vocal, the song, again produced by McCartney, reached No. 13 in the United States.

The picture sleeve--yes, this is the one directly from my collection--is perfect. It shows a close up of Hopkin, with tears coming from her eyes.

Followup singles never reached the heights of those first two 45s, and Hopkin basically faded into obscurity.

Most people think of her as a one-hit wonder, but "Goodbye" put a damper on that notion.

But few remember "Goodbye." It rarely gets played on oldies stations, and when you hear her name mentioned, it is usually in association with "Those Were the Days."

That's too bad. But at least I have the single in my collection to back up the fact that Hopkin was a bit more than a one-hit artist.

If you've never heard the song, please give it a listen.

It's one of McCartney's best pure pop tunes, and well worth your time.

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