In the 1920's, Russian singer Alexander Wertinsky was the first to record the traditional song Dorongo Dlinnoyu. The Russian title means "by a long road." In 1962, American musician and playwright Gene Raskin wrote English lyrics for the song and recorded it as Those Were The Days, he also illegally took full credit and registered a copyright for both the song and the new lyrics. That version was later made popular by American folk group The Limeliters. Paul McCartney had heard Raskin perform the song around 1965 and became fond of it. A few years later when McCartney was preparing to launch Apple Records, he received a call from famous British model Twiggy. She wanted to bring his attention to a young singer that had appeared on Opportunity Knocks - a UK television show that was an early version of the show Star Search. The 17-year old singer from Wales - Mary Hopkins - had been a three time winner on the show. After McCartney called her to an audition he decided to sign her for his new label. He had her record the song he had grew so fond of - Those Were The Days. McCartney produced the song, and he played acoustic guitar on the recording, and he had Hopkin record the song in English, Spanish, French, Italian and German. At the same time, The Beatles were prepared to release Hey Jude as the first single on their new label. The label was launched in 1968 with Hey Jude and Those Were The Days released at the same time - the first two singles on Apple Records. For a few weeks while Hey Jude was number one on the US charts, Those Were The Days held the #2 spot. And in the UK, Those Were The Days actually knocked Hey Jude off the top position.
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