Thursday, February 12, 2009

Beatles Song: Hey Jude

"Hey Jude" is a song oozing with Beatles facts. It was the most successful single by the group in their history and became a number one hit in countries around the world. This is astonishing inasmuch it is the longest single, and radio stations at the time played few songs over three minutes in length. The song, recorded on July 28, 1968, was issued as a single in the UK and U.S. exactly one month later. It remained on American charts for nineteen weeks. The song was originally the B Side to "Revolution," but the order was reversed. The song later appeared on what came to be known as the Hey Jude album.

McCartney was not sure if the song was any good and had misgivings about the lyrics. One fact that he has explained in interviews and at concerts is that he believed the line "the movement you need is on your shoulder" to be both redundant and meaningless. Lennon said it was the best line of the song and convinced McCartney to keep it in.

The song was composed as McCartney drove to play the song for John and Yoko. He wrote the song, called "Hey Jules" in the beginning, to comfort Julian Lennon over the break-up of John and Cynthia. He changed the title to "Hey Jude" because it fit better with the song's cadence. In his 1980 Playboy interview, Lennon said that he thought the song was subconsciously written for him--John--with the meaning being that he should go out and "get" Yoko.

The song was rehearsed at Abbey Road. The next day it was performed again and taped. These versions were changed when the song was re-recorded at Trident Studios the day after that. A "partial" orchestra was then added for the concluding chorus.

Another great fact is that Ringo was using the restroom when the track started. McCartney had not envisioned drums on the track, when when Ringo climbed up on his drum kit, McCartney said it was fortuitous, as Ringo came in at just the right time to make the drums work on the track (and all the other instruments do indeed come in one by one after the piano kicks off the song). Lennon felt that this was McCartney's best work ever.

Another promotional video was made at Twickenham Studios, where several dozen fans participated on the chorus, a scene shown in Anthology (and on The Smothers Brother in 1969as a promo video).

McCartney sings the lead, with all other Beatles joining in the chorus. Lennon does add some backing vocal on the last verses, however. McCartney played bass and piano for the studio version, Lennon an acoustic (his Gibson J-160E), Harrison lead, and Starr drums. On the promotional video, Lennon plays his stripped-down Epiphone Casino.

1 comment:

  1. I was in the promo video, the guy with the tambourine. If anyone who reads this was there as well please contact me at