- Published on 1965 – 1970
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 13 on “The Beatles 1967-1970” (Blue Album)
- Track / on “Past Masters Volume 2“
Beatles quotes about “Hey Jude”
JOHN 1968: “Well, when Paul first sang ‘Hey Jude’ to me… or played me the little tape he’d made of it… I took it very personally. ‘Ah, it’s me,’ I said, ‘It’s me.’ He says, ‘No, it’s me.’ I said, ‘Check. We’re going through the same bit.’ So we all are. Whoever is going through a bit with us is going through it, that’s the groove.”
JOHN 1972: “That’s his best song.”
PAUL 1974: “I remember I played it to John and Yoko, and I was saying, ‘These words won’t be on the finished version.’ Some of the words were: ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder,’ and John was saying, ‘It’s great!’ I’m saying, ‘It’s crazy, it doesn’t make any sense at all.’ He’s saying, ‘Sure it does, it’s great.'”
JOHN 1980: “He said it was written about Julian. He knew I was splitting with Cyn and leaving Julian then. He was driving to see Julian to say hello. He had been like an uncle. And he came up with ‘Hey Jude.’ But I always heard it as a song to me. Now I’m sounding like one of those fans reading things into it… Think about it: Yoko had just come into the picture. He is saying. ‘Hey, Jude’– ‘Hey, John.’ Subconsciously, he was saying, ‘Go ahead, leave me.’ On a conscious level, he didn’t want me to go ahead. The angel in him was saying, ‘Bless you.’ The devil in him didn’t like it at all, because he didn’t want to lose his partner.”
PAUL 1985: “I remember on ‘Hey Jude’ telling George not to play guitar. He wanted to do echo riffs after the vocal phrases, which I didn’t think was appropriate. He didn’t see it like that, and it was a bit of a number for me to have to ‘dare’ to tell George Harrison– who’s one of the greats– not to play. It was like an insult. But that’s how we did alot of our stuff.”
PAUL circa-1994: “There is an amusing story about recording it… Ringo walked out to go to the toilet and I hadn’t noticed. The toilet was only a few yards from his drum booth, but he’d gone past my back and I still thought he was in his drum booth. I started what was the actual take– and ‘Hey Jude’ goes on for hours before the drums come in– and while I was doing it I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums. And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable.”
About “Hey Jude”
“Hey Jude” was released as a non-album single in August 1968. It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon–McCartney partnership. The single was the Beatles’ first release on their Apple record label and one of the “First Four” singles by Apple’s roster of artists, marking the label’s public launch. “Hey Jude” was a number-one hit in many countries around the world and became the year’s top-selling single in the UK, the US, Australia and Canada. Its nine-week run at number one on the Billboard Hot 100 tied the all-time record in 1968 for the longest run at the top of the US charts, a record it held for nine years. It has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on music critics’ lists of the greatest songs of all time.
The writing and recording of “Hey Jude” coincided with a period of upheaval in the Beatles. The ballad evolved from “Hey Jules”, a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon’s young son Julian, after Lennon had left his wife for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono. The lyrics espouse a positive outlook on a sad situation, while also encouraging “Jude” to pursue his opportunities to find love. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a coda featuring a “Na-na-na na” refrain that lasts for over four minutes.
“Hey Jude” was the first Beatles song to be recorded on eight-track recording equipment. The sessions took place at Trident Studios in central London, midway through the recording of the group’s self-titled double album (also known as the “White Album”), and led to an argument between McCartney and George Harrison over the song’s guitar part. Ringo Starr later left the band only to return shortly before they filmed the promotional clip for the single. The clip was directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg and first aired on David Frost’s UK television show. Contrasting with the problems afflicting the band, this performance captured the song’s theme of optimism and togetherness by featuring the studio audience joining the Beatles as they sang the coda.
At over seven minutes in length, “Hey Jude” was the longest single to top the British charts up to that time. Its arrangement and extended coda encouraged many imitative works through to the early 1970s. In 2013, Billboard magazine named it the 10th “biggest” song of all time in terms of chart success. McCartney has continued to perform “Hey Jude” in concert since Lennon’s murder in 1980, leading audiences in singing the coda. Julian Lennon and McCartney have each bid successfully at auction for items of memorabilia related to the song’s creation.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, piano, bass guitar, handclaps
- John Lennon – backing vocal, acoustic guitar, handclaps
- George Harrison – backing vocal, electric guitar, handclaps
- Ringo Starr – backing vocal, drums, tambourine, handclaps
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