The Longest Cocktail Party

This book chronicles the history of Apple as told by Richard Dilello who joined Apple in the summer of ’68 as ‘house hippy’ ie. assistant to Apple publicist Derek Taylor.

The title of the book is a good description of the atmosphere at Apple in the early days when it was the happiest, most relaxed company in London. The author tells of the chaos caused by the initial publicity of Apple publishing, above the failed boutique at 94 Baker St, was inundated with thousands upon thousands of tapes from people hoping to be on the same record label as the Beatles.

One of the jobs of the author was to file all the press cuttings on the Beatles into various sections and in the book he tells of the press’s turnabout from ecstatic reviews to abuse of John and Yoko.

The author has agreat sense of humour and his book is certainly one of the most funny and entertaining books ever written about the Beatles. His account of the arrival of a couple of Hells Angels from America and their presence at an Apple Christmas Party is equally funny. George Harrison told Apple staff that an entire chapter of Hells Angels from America were going to arrive from America on the way to Straighten out Czechoslovakia’. To the relief of most of the staff only two turned up but the two that did – Billy Tumbleweed and Frisco Pete of the San Francisco chapter certainly made their presence felt.

Another highlight of the book is the excellent photos of the period- mostly taken by the author himself. The photos from George’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ sessions are especially good.

However as most of you know Apple lost a lot of money in the early days and publicist Derek Taylor introduced Allen Klein to the Beatles, a move he regretted ever since and the longest cocktail party was coming to an end. The whole company was reorganised and the press office at Apple was transformed from a happy go lucky hive of activity into an empty shell. Most of the original staff were sacked including Richard Dilello himself after a brief reign as Apple Public Relations Officer during Derek Taylor’s long vacation.

The press office was finally closed in August 1970. At this time the Beatles were breaking up of course and the book gives an informative account of how they broke up, including a section of press accounts of the ligh Court action bought by Paul to dissolve all his remaining conections with the rest of the gro’ip and Apple. It was a very depressing end to the longest cocktail party.

By Richard Porter [March 1985].

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