In Canada, The Applejacks were a vital part of the British Invasion of 1964. In fact, they were probably one of the quirkiest and most interesting of the British Invasion groups ... yet their records did not make a huge chart impact here in Canada like fellow British group invaders like The Searchers, The Dave Clark Five or The Animals. The Applejacks hailed from Solihull in England and its members included Al Jackson (vocals), Phil Cash (guitar), Martin Baggot (guitar), Gerry Freeman (drums), Don Gould (electric organ), and yes a girl ... Megan Davies (bass guitar). The British press called their sound ... the "Solihull Sound" ! Their Applejacks name may have been borrowed from the Jet Harris and Tony Meehan "Applejack / The Tall Texan" 45 that was issued in September 1963 in England by Decca (Decca F11710).￼￼
The Applejacks were often compared to The Honeycombs in that both groups featured a girl musician ... and this was indeed a true rarity for a British Invasion group back then. The Honeycombs featured a stomping girl drummer named Honey Lantree. Similarly, former cub-mistress Megan Davies of The Applejacks looked so cool playing an electric bass ! Megan was often thought to be the sister of Ray Davies of The Kinks, because The Applejacks covered a Kinks song called "I Go To Sleep" in 1965, but that was not the case ... the two Davies British "popsters" were not related.
The Applejacks covered two really good Beatles songs in Canada. The first and most important of these was "Like Dreamers Do". The song was originally recorded by The Beatles with Pete Best on drums for Decca when they auditioned for them at their West Hampstead, London studios on New Year's Day 1962. The Beatles never released the song under their own name, so it is one of those rare covers that Beatles record collectors treasure. Oddly, it was Mike Smith who produced the song for The Applejacks .. and it was the same Mike Smith working for Decca who had supervised the infamous Decca audition of The Beatles on January 1st., 1962. Paul McCartney and John Lennon had written the song in 1957 and The Beatles own studio version appears on the Anthology 1 set. The Applejacks version appears on the 1979 UK Lp "The Songs Lennon And McCartney Gave Away" (UK EMI NUT 18). While Paul has stated that the song was a throwaway, it is actually a pretty good song on it's own merits. The Applejacks met The Beatles at a television rehearsal (Thank Your Lucky Stars) in early 1964 and it was as a result of this meeting that they were offered the song. Allegedly, Paul and John had asked them what they were going to follow up their hit "Tell Me When" with. The song appeared in England as Decca F.11916 and charted there as high as number 20. In Canada the song was released on a London 45 (London L.9681) and the London single saw limited chart action on either ends of the country (eg Halifax and Vancouver), but not however in the major central markets of Montreal and Toronto.
Here from 1960s, Brian Matthews of the BBC introduces The Applejacks as they sing "Like Dreamers Do" on television in colour:http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x1qug0_the-applejacks-like-dreamers-do_music
The Applejacks released three hard-to-find singles on the blue London label in Canada during 1964 :
London L.9658 Tell Me When / Baby Jane (April 1964)
London L.9681 Like Dreamers Do / Everybody Fall Down (July 1964)
London L.9709 I'm Gonna Send My Love (Three Little Words) / You're The One For Me
All three 45s were pressed and distributed in Canada by London Records Of Canada Limited. In 1964, the company’s head office was located at 180 Graveline Road, St. Laurent, Quebec with branch offices in St. Laurent, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, and Burnaby. The discs were pressed by Compo and bear similar label format to the standard United Artists 45s of the period that were also pressed by Compo at the Lachine, Quebec pressing plant. Promo copies feature a red and white DEMONSTRATION RECORD NOT FOR SALE sticker on the disc's label.
The Applejacks released an album in England as The Applejacks (Decca LK 4635). The album was issued in its entirety in Canada (probably early 1965) ... with a total of 8 songs per side. That never happened in the USA. The album was issued in Canada in mono only as London LL.3401 - The Applejacks. This Canadian London album is highly collectable as it was their only North American album release. It was not issued by London in the USA given the poor chart success of their first three London singles.￼￼
1. Tell Me When
2. Wishing Will Never Make It So
3. Over Suzanne
4. Hallo Josephine
5. As A Matter Of Fact
6. Too Much Monkey Business
7. Memories Of You
8. Ain't That Just Like Me
1. Kansas City
2. I Wonder
3. Three Little Words (I Love You)
4. Baby Jane
5. No Time
6. See If She Cares
7. What's The Matter Little Girl
8. What'd I Say
(Note - the song on Side 2, track 3 "Three Little Words" is in fact the same track as the London L.9709 single I'm Gonne Send My Love (Three Little Words).
The CHNS Halifax, Nova Scotia chart for the week of August 16th. through August 22nd. 1964 shows that the Like Dreamers Do 45 by The Applejacks is at number 34 (down from 30 the previous week). Nobody I Know by Peter And Gordon was at number 41 in the sae chart.
Vancouver, British Columbia AM radio station CFUN charted two of The Applejacks Canadian 45s on their weekly "C-FUNTASTIC FIFTY" chart as follows: ￼￼
CFUN 4/25/64 9 15 1 Tell Me When London L. 9658
CFUN 7/11/64 3 32 2 Like Dreamers Do London L. 9681
(* CFUN chart information by courtesy of Brian Tarling and his book "Vancouver Charted Songs 1956 to 1978", www.vancouverchartedsongs.ca and 45 image of the Canadian London 45 Like Dreamers Do by courtesy of Brian Tarling and Larry Senetza, Vancouver).
Following the release of the album and the lack of chart success in Canada for their third London 45, no further albums or singles were issued by London in Canada by The Applejacks. London Records of Canada did, however, include The Applejacks cover of The Beatles "Baby's In Black" on their compilation album "England's Greatest Hitmakers" (London LL.3430). This is a great cover version of the song and well worth seeking out.
On this LP there are cool tracks by The Zombies, The Rolling Stones, Them, Dave Berry, Lulu And The Luvvers, Tom Jones, Mike Leander, The Bachelors, etc. One track is included in this set by The Applejacks and it is an excellent cover of The Beatles 65 album track Baby's In Black (Side 2, Track 6)
A few months later in 1965, The Applejacks appeared in a weird 100 minute colour film showcasing a number of greater and lesser known British Invasion groups called "Go-Go Bigbeat !", a film that featured The Animals, Brian Poole And The Tremeloes, The Hollies, The Tornados, The Cheynes, Lulu And The Luvvers, Millie Small, The Applejacks and others. In the film, The Applejacks perform their version of "Like Dreamers Do".￼
In England, Decca issued the following singles by The Applejacks between 1964 and the end of 1965:
Tell Me When / Baby Jane (Decca F 11916) 1964 (#7 UK, #135 U.S.)
Like Dreamers Do / Everybody Fall Down (Decca F 11916) 1964 (#20 UK)
Three Little Words (I Love You) / You're the One (Decca F 11981) 1964 (#23 UK)
Bye Bye Girl / It's Not a Game Anymore (Decca F 12106) 1965
I Go to Sleep / Make Up or Break Up (Decca F 12216) 1965 (a great cover of The Kinks song)
I'm Through / We Gotta Get Together (Decca F 12301) 1965
By 1967, The Applejacks had ended their time with Decca and had been picked up by CBS. CBS issued one really cool Motown-inspired single called "You've Been Cheatin'" but this was not issued in Canada.
In 1966, drummer Gerry Freeman married bassist Megan Davies. After 1966 the band toured the world on cruise liners as on-board entertainment. Well The Applejacks never toured Canada ... but it would have been something to see them playing in Halifax or Vancouver. Perhaps the Canadian fans would have brought toffee apples to the show (!) Their brand of 1960s Britpop ... perhaps along with that of The Honeycombs ... exported to Canada in 1964 ... has acquired a very well deserved cult status since that time. The Beatles connection is also another interesting aspect of The Applejacks Canadian discography from the 1964-1965 period.￼