Kevin Fischer is a veteran broadcaster, the recipient of over 150 major journalism awards from the Milwaukee Press Club, the Wisconsin Associated Press, the Northwest Broadcast News Association, the Wisconsin Bar Association, and others. He has been seen and heard on Milwaukee TV and radio stations for over three decades. A longtime aide to state Senate Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature, Kevin can be seen offering his views on the news on the public affairs program, "InterCHANGE," on Milwaukee Public Television Channel 10, and heard filling in on Newstalk 1130 WISN. He lives with his wife, Jennifer, and their lovely young daughter, Kyla Audrey, in Franklin.
Guess who turned 72 last week?
Paul McCartney played to a sold-out crowd at Miller Park last June. Journal Sentinel photo: Rick Wood
Questions were raised recently about his health.
Paul is one of the most prolific songwriters ever. But he didn’t just write for the Beatles and himself. Paul wrote for lots of other folks. One of them was young British singer Mary Hopkin. Her biggest hit was “Those Were the Days.”
Once upon a time there was a tavern
Where we used to raise a glass or two
Remember how we laughed away the hours
And dreamed of all the great things we would do
Those were the days my friend
We thought they'd never end
We'd sing and dance forever and a day
We'd live the life we choose
We'd fight and never lose
For we were young and sure to have our way.
Paul didn’t write that song, but he did write the follow-up for Hopkin who recorded for Apple, the record company launched by the Beatles. From the Daily Mail:
She tells a revealing story about the route that led her to record on the Beatles’ new Apple label.
‘Twiggy had watched me on TV and happened to be seeing Paul McCartney the following day. The next thing I knew, I got a telegram from Peter Brown, who helped establish the Beatles’ record label.
‘Then I got a call, which I assumed was from Peter Brown, asking me to come to London. “That depends,” I said. I couldn’t drop everything. I had my A-levels to sit in a month. I was 18. He laughed: “Oh, it depends, does it? Well, go and ask your mum.”
‘She took the phone and I heard her saying: “No. Never. Really?” It turned out I’d been talking to Paul himself. I nearly died of embarrassment.’
In London, Paul took Mary and her mother, Betty, out to lunch at an Angus Steak House.
‘I’d been a Beatles fan since I was 13. I couldn’t make eye contact with him. It was surreal. Mum kept the conversation going. It felt as though I were detached, observing everything from the ceiling.
‘In some ways, George had always been my favourite. He was so dark and mysterious. But Paul was the best-looking and I’d thought he was the most approachable.
‘I’ve no idea what I based that on since I’d never met him, but you form an idea about people in the public eye, don’t you?’
After lunch, Paul took Mary and her mother back to Dick James’ office. With Brian Epstein, James was joint owner of Northern Songs, the publisher of the Beatles’ sheet music. Paul picked up his guitar and sang Those Were The Days.
‘I thought it was beautiful. But then Paul could have sung from the telephone directory and I’d have thought it was beautiful. His voice was like honey. And to have him singing especially for me . . . When would I wake up from this dream?
‘He explained he’d heard the Ukrainian song in a club and it had stayed with him. But he hadn’t been able to find anyone with the right voice to sing an English version. Until now.
‘It was haunting and poignant. I loved it immediately. When I die, I know it’ll be played when they make the announcement.’
The record sold over eight million copies worldwide, at one point shifting 35,000 copies a day in the UK alone, but it didn’t make Mary a fortune.
‘I wish I’d had the sense to record one of my compositions on the B side but I didn’t know better.’ She sailed to the top of the charts, unseating the Beatles’ Hey Jude. Mary Hopkin was hot property.
Here's the Hopkin follow-up that made it to #2 in the UK. It couldn’t top “Get Back” by the Beatles. In the States, the song written by McCartney reached #13 in 1969.
Note: Next week's Friday Night Forgotten Oldie will be posted on Thursday, July 3.