This is detailed when original Iveys guitarist Ron Grifffiths and his replacement Joey Molland talk about their first minor hit, “Maybe Tomorrow,” and the long period of inactivity afterward. Finally, McCartney took note, gave them the song “Come and Get It,” and the group became Badfinger. But, among their observations about their tenure with Apple is the fact McCartney saw record making as a Beatle. That is, beyond producing the songs and choosing much of the material, Apple Records had no machinery to do what every other company was doing—having their artists go on the road and appear in concerts. The Beatles didn’t do it, so why should their artists?
Likewise, McCartney’s other success, Mary Hopkin, was molded in Sir Paul’s own image. While she saw herself as a folk singer, Paul pushed her into being a pop star. He gave her one hit, “Goodbye,” that was clearly a McCartney tune with a different singer. In a similar vein, Harrison had the artists he liked work in the style he liked. This is traced in the words of Jackie Lomax, one of the first artists signed. Harrison wrote, and three of the Beatles played on, Lomax’s first single "Sour Milk Sea." It drowned in the massive success of “Hey Jude” and “Those Were the Days” which were released at the same time at the end of 1968. All-star bands were one thing, but knowing how to market them was something else. And if no one is minding the store, you’re going to miss some potential hot talent. David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, and Crosby, Stills, and Nash were among the acts that couldn’t get noticed.
For the first years of the label, it’s clear Lennon just wasn’t interested. He was all about Yoko. After McCartney walked away when Klein took over, Apple essentially financed Yoko’s very expensively produced releases, which suited her husband just fine. Then, after moving to New York, Lennon expanded his horizons and worked with David Peel and Elephant’s Memory. Peel and alumni of the latter band discuss what the Lennon’s were like in the political period just before Lennon withdrew from the music scene after the failure of Sometime in New York City . His new disinterest signaled the creative end of Apple Records. At least, in terms of this documentary.
What’s missing from this overview? Some acts, the Modern Jazz Quartet, Brute Force, Radha Krishna Temple, and Ronnie Spector get brief mentions. Not so Hot Chocolate, a band that actually enjoyed commercial success after their Apple tenure. There’s no mention of Apple’s first release—catalogue Apple 1—of Frank Sinatra and Sammy Kahn performing “Maureen is a Champ,” a tribute to Ringo’s wife. There’s no mention of Zapple, the short-lived offshoot intended for more experimental projects. The Zapple imprint put out two albums from Lennon and Harrison and would have released spoken-word recordings from poets Richard Brautigan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, and Michael McClure if Klein had not pulled the plug. There’s much made of the fact Harry Nillson had a hit with Badfinger’s “Without You.” But there is nothing said about Nilsson and Ringo Starr’s 1974 Son of Dracula soundtrack for the Apple Films comedy on the Rapple label—a co-release of RCA and Apple.