A Postcard from the Past: Mary Hopkin on CD
"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…
…Oh, my friend, we're older but no wiser,
For in our hearts the dreams are still the same."
1968—those were the days. Days of fanciful costumes, bright colors, peace marches, spontaneous music in Washington Square Park, daffodils in Port Authority lockers, pizza at John’s, watching Busby Berkeley musicals on The Late Show (in the sixties it was a nightly movie with “The Syncopated Clock” by Leroy Anderson as its theme), and music… The previous year, Bonnie and Clyde was released, and twenties and thirties glamor—fashions, music, movies—were back in style.
When I opened my 2010 e-mailbox and found a publicist’s offer for re-released Apple albums, I enthusiastically requested Mary Hopkin albums. In 1968, I nearly wore Postcard thin, playing it over and over. I loved that album (it’s one of many that I regret selling by the boxload). How fond was I of Postcard? Well, the publicist didn’t come through, so I took out my trusty flit gun, opened the wallet, sprayed the moths, and extracted enough coins to purchase the CD.
Revisiting the music of one’s youth is a dodgy business. Sometimes we reunite with beloved favorites, full of meaning and memories. Other times we listen in shock, not believing we actually liked that crap—what were we thinking? Happily, Mary Hopkin’s sweet voice transcends the decades and is pure joy to re-experience.
The opening song on Postcard is Hopkin’s most remembered—“Those Were the Days” (Paul Raskin wrote the lyrics; the music is an old Russian melody). It’s a wistful song about days gone by, and Hopkin’s rendition is contemplative and emotion-filled. In 2005, Dolly Parton recorded an album of covers, including “Those Were the Days,” which she sang in duet with Hopkin. Their version sounds like it’s being sung by a lonely woman catching her reflection in the tavern window, reminiscing about the past—Hopkin had grown into her song.Continued on the next page