Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Welsh Wednesday #30

#30: Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth by Mary Hopkin

Mary Hopkin hails from the small South Wales town of Pontardawe, located in the Swansea Valley near Neath. She was the first artist signed to the Beatles' label Apple (other than the Beatles themselves of course) and came to Paul McCartney's attention on a recommendation from none other than Twiggy, who saw Hopkin on the TV talent show Opportunity Knocks. Her debut single is her best known - an English translation of the Russian folk song Those Were The Days, released in 1968.

After releasing a number of albums and singles over the next three years, as well as representing the UK in the 1970 Eurovision Song Contest (in which she was beaten into second place by Ireland's Dana), she married producer Tony Visconti and retired from the music business, only sporadically venturing into the studio thereafter. She did, however, collaborate with the likes of David Bowie, Sparks, Thin Lizzy and Hazel O'Connor.

Mary has been far more prolific in the 21st Century with five studio albums released since 2005. A collection of recordings she made between 1972 and 1980 that never previously saw the light of day was released in 2007. Entitled 'Valentine, it contained this gorgeous version of Sparks' Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth. The song originally appeared on Sparks' 1974 album 'Propaganda'. This version is far simpler than the original's lush arrangement, keeping true to Hopkin's folk roots.

A brief sabbatical now ensues, some rest and recuperation (and some frenzied writing) over the Easter period. I'll see you back here next Wednesday, OK?


  1. Wow 3rd time in about a week that I've heard a version of this song. When I was posting a video tribute for Billy MacKenzie's birthday, I listened to his version which was released posthumously as well as the Sparks original.

  2. Never heard this version before. It works beautifully.