A Bit Like You And Me Radio

January 16, 2013

Mary Hopkin - Those Were the Days (1968)

Born in 1950, Mary Hopkin was raisede in Pontardawe, Wales by her Welsh-speaking family. She had been in a local group called Selby Set and Mary prior to releasing a Welsh-language EP for the local Cambrian record label. Soon, she was appearing on the British ITV television network on Opportunity Knocks, a British talent show. When she won, it was witnessed by the famed model Twiggy, who contacted Paul McCartney of The Beatles and newly-formed Apple record label to suggest getting her signed. Hopkin became one of the first acts signed by the Apple record label and released numerous singles for them, reaching the number one spot in the UK once, and the number two spot twice. In 1971 she married music-producer Tony Visconti and briefly retired to raise a family, appearing only as a guest singer over the next few years for artists such as Thin Lizzy, David Bowie, Tom Paxton, and others. She touched on brief success again after her comeback in 1976 with the song “If You Love Me (I Won’t Care),” reaching number thirty-two in the UK.

This song, Hopkin’s first single, was released in 1968 and reached number one in the UK, Germany, and Switzerland. In the US, it reached number two. It had been recorded in four languages other than English (Spanish, German, Italian, and French), for its release in other countries. The melody of the song is from a Russian romance song composed by Boris Fomin, titled “Dorogoi dlinnoyu” (translated to “By the Long Road”). It had English lyrics written for it by American musician and playwright Gene Raskin, which were based on the Russian poet Konstantin Podrevskii’s original words. This version of the song, both the melody and the singing, was produced by Paul McCartney.

album art

Mary Hopkin - Those Were the Days (1968)

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Lyrics:

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 think 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

Then the busy years went rushing by us
We lost our starry notions on the way
If by chance I'd see you in the tavern
We'd smile at one another and we'd say

“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
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days”

Just tonight I stood before the tavern
Nothing seemed the way it used to be
In the glass, I saw a strange reflection
Was that lonely woman really me?

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
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

Through the door, there came familiar laughter
I saw your face and heard you call my name
Oh, my friend, we're older but no wiser
For in our hearts, the dreams are still the same

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
Those were the days, oh yes, those were the days

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