Jackie Lomax was supposed to be the superstar artist on the Apple label

Jackie Lomax is definitely a footnote in Beatles history. George Harrison championed the guitarist/singer/songwriter who was around Liverpool in the early days with The Beatles. Lomax was touted as the person who was going to be the superstar of Apple Records, but his work with the Apple label proved to be a flop. His obituary in the September 19, 2013 edition of the New York Times carried the headline “Jackie Lomax Dies at 69; British Rock Singer recorded with Members of The Beatles”.

His band The Lomax Alliance had been signed to CBS Records before Brian Epstein’s death. After Epstein’s death and the formation of Apple Records, Apple took over responsibility for Lomax’s recording career. His first single was supposed to be a smash hit as it was penned by Harrison and featured three of the four Beatles as well as Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkins. However, “Sour Milk Sea” did terribly on the charts. The rest of the Is This What You Want album was recorded in Los Angeles with Hal Blaine and other distinguished members of The Wrecking Crew. The album and another single released by Apple went unnoticed. With the 1970 breakup of The Beatles, Apple Records was in a tizzy and the some of the artists on the label were in limbo.

In his 2001 biography George Harrison, Alan Clayson wrote of Jackie Lomax:

“None of the records that he cut with George made Jackie rich. Still, they plodded on, with George sparing no expense. An artist of Jackie Lomax’s calibre deserved nothing less than publicity photos by Justin de Villanueve, a full orchestra if needed one and even the oscillations of one of these new-fangled Moog synthesizers. McCartney, Starr and Clapton were among the famous musicians namechecked on the sleeve of Lomax’s only Apple LP, dog-eared copies of which spoke to casual browsers of deletion racks through its title, Is This What You Want? Few did, however, despite Jackie’s most professional vocal projection and George’s competent – although occasionally cluttered – production.”

The headline for his obituary article in the Los Angeles Times was “Jackie Lomax dies at 69; Signed by Beatles Label but Never Hit It Big”. The headline pretty much summed up his career and the article did a good job of telling the story of the man who was touted as someone who would be the big star of the Apple label.

Some artists who were on the Apple label are well known due to their hits, such as Badfinger, Mary Hopkin, Hot Chocolate, and Billy Preston. However, Jackie Lomax was not among them.

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