Whenever considering the Apple label – The Beatles’ most philanthropic gesture, and their grand folly – it’s Ron Nasty of The Rutles who springs to mind: “We want to help people to help themselves.”
As Strange Fruit makes clear, Apple was birthed in a beatific bubble of artist-friendliness, but naïvety and idealism gave way to pitiless number crunching as The Beatles fell out of love. For an unofficial documentary, there’s no shortage of supportive film inserts: runtime is a monumental two hours and 40 minutes, and interviewees include an engaging Jackie Lomax (rocking the General Custer look), agit-folkie David Peel – still a magnificent gobshite – and Ron Griffiths and Joey Molland of Badfinger.
Informed comment is provided by Mark Paytress, Apple biographer Stefan Granados and Rough Guide To The Beatles author Chris Ingham. The latter will get tutted out of the fucking building if he comes round here with his “Badfinger sound self-conscious” shtick, but Paytress earns a hug for comparing Yoko Ono with Can and Miles Davis: Why and Paper Shoes lunge from the soundtrack like lions from the id.
Admittedly, little or nothing is said about the Two Virgins furore, White Trash, MJQ, the Hells Angels’ “occupation” of the Apple offices, etc – but Strange Fruit still wins on points.