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Hey Jude

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Hey Jude

"Hey Jude"
"Hey Jude" 45
Single by The Beatles
B-side "Revolution"
Released 26 August 1968
Format 7"
Genre Rock, pop rock
Length 7:11
Label Apple
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin
Certification 4× Platinum (RIAA)
The Beatles singles chronology
"Lady Madonna"
"Hey Jude"
"Get Back"
Alternative cover
1982 reissue

"Hey Jude" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The ballad evolved from "Hey Jules", a song McCartney wrote to comfort John Lennon's son, Julian, during his parents' divorce. "Hey Jude" begins with a verse-bridge structure incorporating McCartney's vocal performance and piano accompaniment; further instrumentation is added as the song progresses. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a fade-out coda that lasts for more than four minutes.

"Hey Jude" was released in August 1968 as the first single from the Beatles' record label Apple Records. More than seven minutes in length, it was at the time the longest single ever to top the British charts.[1] It also spent nine weeks at number one in the United States, the longest for any Beatles single. "Hey Jude" tied the "all-time" record, at the time, for the longest run at the top of the US charts. The single has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on professional critics' lists of the greatest songs of all time. In 2013, Billboard named it the 10th biggest song of all time.[2]


  • Inspiration and writing 1
  • Production 2
    • Abbey Road rehearsals 2.1
    • Trident Studios recording 2.2
    • Mixing 2.3
  • Composition and structure 3
  • Release 4
  • Promotion 5
  • Critical reception 6
  • Awards and accolades 7
  • Auctioned lyrics 8
  • Cover versions and performances 9
  • Personnel 10
  • Charts 11
    • Weekly charts 11.1
    • Year-end charts 11.2
    • All-time charts 11.3
  • Certifications 12
  • Notes 13
  • References 14
  • Sources 15
  • External links 16

Inspiration and writing

In May 1968,[3] [9]

I started with the idea "Hey Jules," which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces...[8]

Paul McCartney, 1997

The song's original title was "Hey Jules", and it was intended to comfort Julian Lennon from the stress of his parents' separation.[4] McCartney later said, "I knew it was not going to be easy for him", and that he changed the name to "Jude" "because I thought that sounded a bit better".[8]

According to music journalist Chris Hunt, in the weeks after writing the song, McCartney "test[ed] his latest composition on anyone too polite to refuse. And that meant everyone."[10] On 30 June, after recording the Black Dyke Mills Band's rendition of his instrumental "Thingumybob", in Yorkshire, McCartney stopped at a village in Bedfordshire and performed "Hey Jude" at a local pub.[11] He also regaled members of the Bonzo Dog Band with the song while producing their single "I'm the Urban Spaceman", in London, and interrupted a recording session by the Barron Knights to do the same.[10] Ron Griffith of the group the Iveys – soon to be known as Badfinger and, like the Black Dyke Mills Band, an early signing to the Beatles' new record label Apple Records – later recalled that on their first day in the studio, McCartney "gave us a full concert rendition of 'Hey Jude'".[12][nb 1]

When introducing the composition to Lennon, McCartney assured him that he would "fix" the line "the movement you need is on your shoulder", reasoning that "it's a stupid expression; it sounds like a parrot." Lennon replied: "You won't, you know. That's the best line in the song."[13] McCartney retained the phrase;[4] he later said of his subsequent live performances of the song: "that's the line when I think of John, and sometimes I get a little emotional during that moment."[13]

If you think about it ... Yoko's just come into the picture. He's saying. "Hey, Jude – Hey, John." I know I'm sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me ... Subconsciously, he was saying, Go ahead, leave me. On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead.[14]

John Lennon, 1980

Although McCartney originally wrote "Hey Jude" for Julian, John Lennon thought it had actually been written for him. In a 1980 interview, Lennon stated that he "always heard it as a song to me" and contended that, on one level, McCartney was giving his blessing to Lennon and Ono's relationship, while, on another, he was disappointed to be usurped as Lennon's friend and songwriting partner.[14]

Other people believed McCartney wrote the song about them, including Judith Simons, a journalist with the Daily Express.[15] Still others, including Lennon, have speculated that in the lyrics to "Hey Jude", McCartney's failing long-term relationship with Jane Asher provided an unconscious "message to himself".[16] McCartney and Asher had announced their engagement on 25 December 1967,[17] yet he began an affair with Linda Eastman in June 1968;[18] that same month, Francie Schwartz, an American who was in London to discuss a film proposal with Apple, began living with McCartney at his St John's Wood home.[19][20] When Lennon mentioned that he thought the song was about him and Ono, McCartney denied it and told Lennon he had written the song about himself.[21][nb 2]

Author Mark Hertsgaard has commented that "many of the song's lyrics do seem directed more at a grown man on the verge of a powerful new love, especially the lines 'you have found her now go and get her' and 'you're waiting for someone to perform with.'"[21] Music critic and author Tim Riley writes: "If the song is about self-worth and self-consolation in the face of hardship, the vocal performance itself conveys much of the journey. He begins by singing to comfort someone else, finds himself weighing his own feelings in the process, and finally, in the repeated refrains that nurture his own approbation, he comes to believe in himself."[23]


Abbey Road rehearsals

Having earmarked the song for release as a single, the Beatles recorded "Hey Jude" during the sessions for their self-titled double album, commonly known as "the White Album".[24][25] The sessions were marked by an element of discord within the group for the first time, partly as a result of Ono's constant presence at Lennon's side,[26][27] and also reflective of the four band members' divergence following their communal trip to Rishikesh in the spring of 1968 to study Transcendental Meditation.[28] Author Peter Doggett describes the completed version of "Hey Jude" as a song that "glowed with optimism after a summer that had burned with anxiety and rage within the group".[29]

The Beatles first taped 25

  • Full lyrics of this song at MetroLyrics
  • "HEY JUDE (Legal Title), BMI Work #562357".  

External links

  • Carr, Roy; Tyler, Tony (1978). The Beatles: An Illustrated Record. London: Trewin Copplestone Publishing.  
  • Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.  
  • Clayson, Alan (2003). Ringo Starr. London: Sanctuary.  
  • Cross, Craig (2005). The Beatles: Day-by-Day, Song-by-Song, Record-by-Record. Lincoln, NE:  
  • Doggett, Peter (2011). You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After the Breakup. New York, NY: It Books.  
  • Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.  
  • Hertsgaard, Mark (1995). A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of The Beatles. New York:  
  • Hertsgaard, Mark (1996). A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. London: Pan Books.  
  • Leng, Simon (2006). While My Guitar Gently Weeps: The Music of George Harrison. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard.  
  • Lowry, Todd (2002). Lennon and McCartney Hits: Keyboard Signature Licks. Hal Leonard.  
  • MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand).  
  • Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York, NY:  
  • Miles, Barry (2001). The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years. London: Omnibus Press.  
  • O'Dell, Chris (2009). Miss O'Dell: My Hard Days and Long Nights with The Beatles, The Stones, Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and the Women They Loved. New York, NY: Touchstone.  
  • Riley, Tim (2011). Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life. London: Random House.  
  • Ryan, Kevin;  
  • Schaffner, Nicholas (1978). The Beatles Forever. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.  
  • Schultheiss, Tom (1980). A Day in the Life: The Beatles Day-By-Day. Ann Arbor, MC: Pierian Press.  
  • Simpson, Paul (2004). The Rough Guide to Elvis. London: Rough Guides.  
  • Sounes, Howard (2010). Fab: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney. London: HarperCollins.  
  • Womack, Kenneth (2014). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.  


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  1. ^ Griffith added that he and his fellow Iveys were "gobsmacked" by the performance.[12]
  2. ^ In a 1971 interview with Jonathan Cott, Lennon recalled his and McCartney's conversation: "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."[22]
  3. ^ Produced by the National Music Council of Great Britain,[36] the documentary was released in October 1969.[34]
  4. ^ Described by Ian MacDonald as "a tense moment",[43] this disagreement between Harrison and McCartney was recalled by the pair in a similar argument they had while filming Let It Be in January 1969,[34] regarding the lead guitar part on "Two of Us".[44] Partly as a result of McCartney's criticism, Harrison briefly quit the band on 10 January.[34][45]
  5. ^ In 2013 McCartney agreed to write the foreword to Sheffield's book "Life on Two Legs", partly because of his positive experience when recording "Hey Jude".
  6. ^ Writing in his 2006 memoir, Emerick says that "Obviously something at Trident had been misaligned", and the solution for "Hey Jude" was to add "massive amounts of treble equalization".[61]
  7. ^ Toft adds: "because it had been bounced down [mixed] with the main vocal, it could not be removed. I just managed to bring the fader down for a split second on the mix to try to lessen the effect."[70]
  8. ^ The catalogue numbers for "Hey Jude"/"Revolution" – Apple 5722 in the UK and 2276 in the US – were consistent with the numerical sequencing of the Beatles' previous releases on Parlophone and Capitol. Apple's other three debut singles followed a new sequencing, starting with "Those Were the Days", which was issued as Apple 2 and Apple 1801.[84]
  9. ^ Having told Smith, "The truth about me is that I'm pleasantly insincere", McCartney said: "You can't pretend to me that an Oxfam ad can reach down into the depths of your soul and actually make you feel for those [starving] people – more, for instance, than you feel about getting a new car."[79]
  10. ^ EMI archives do not record the names of the studio musicians, but it has been established that two of the cellists were Bobby Kok and Peter Halling, and two of the flautists were Bill Jackman and Brian Warren.


Region Certification Sales/shipments
United States (RIAA)[179] 4× Platinum 4,000,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone


Chart Position
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 10

All-time charts

Weekly charts


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[137] and Mark Lewisohn.[39]


Paul McCartney sang the song in the closing moments of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics hosted in London. On 4 August 2012, McCartney led the crowd in a rendition of "Hey Jude" while watching cycling at the velodrome.[136]

The Shadows did an instrumental cover in 1986 on their album Moonlight Shadows.

"Weird Al" Yankovic included "Hey Jude" in his first polka medley, "Polkas on 45", from his 1984 album "Weird Al" Yankovic in 3-D.[134] Katy Perry performed a cover of the song as part of the 2012 MusiCares Person of the Year concert honouring McCartney.[135]

A 1968 cover by Wilson Pickett attracted success and attention for the guitar work, by a young Duane Allman. Eric Clapton commented, "I remember hearing [it] and calling either Ahmet Ertegun or Tom Dowd and saying, 'Who's that guitar player?'...To this day, I've never heard better rock guitar playing on an R&B record. It's the best."[133]

"Hey Jude" was one of the few Beatles songs that Elvis Presley covered, when he rehearsed the track at his 1969 Memphis sessions with producer Chips Moman, a recording that appeared on the 1972 album Elvis Now.[131] A medley of the Beatles' "Yesterday" and "Hey Jude" was included on the 1999 reissue of Presley's 1970 live album On Stage.[132]

Cover versions and performances

In 2002, the original handwritten lyrics for the song were nearly auctioned off at [130]

Julian Lennon discovered that "Hey Jude" had been written for him almost twenty years after McCartney composed the song. He recalled of his and McCartney's relationship: "Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit – more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad."[12] In 1996, Julian paid £25,000 for the recording notes to "Hey Jude" at an auction. He spent a further £35,000 at the auction, buying John Lennon memorabilia. John Cousins, Julian Lennon's manager, stated at the time: "He has a few photographs of his father, but not very much else. He is collecting for personal reasons; these are family heirlooms if you like."[129]

Auctioned lyrics

In July 2006, Mojo placed "Hey Jude" at number 12 on its list of "The 101 Greatest Beatles Songs" (between "Eleanor Rigby" and "Come Together").[127] On a similar list compiled four years later, Rolling Stone ranked the song at number seven.[128]

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "Hey Jude" at number eight on the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time", making it the highest-placed Beatles song on the list.[123] Among its many appearances in other best-song-of-all-time lists, VH1 placed it seventh in 2000 and Mojo ranked it at number 29 in the same year, having placed the song seventh in a 1997 list of "The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time".[124] In 1976, the NME ranked it 38th on the magazine's "Top 100 Singles of All Time", and the track appeared at number 77 on the same publication's "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2014.[124] In January 2001, "Hey Jude" came in third on Channel 4's list of the "100 Greatest Singles".[125] The Amusement & Music Operators Association ranks "Hey Jude" as the 11th-best jukebox single of all time.[126] In 2008, the song appeared in eighth place on Billboard‍ '​s "All Time Hot 100 Songs".[66]

"Hey Jude" was nominated for the Grammy Awards of 1969 in the categories of Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal, but failed to win any of them.[119] In the 1968 NME Readers' Poll, "Hey Jude" was named the best single of the year,[120] and the song also won the 1968 Ivor Novello Award for "A-Side With the Highest Sales".[121] In 2001, "Hey Jude" was inducted into the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences Grammy Hall of Fame.[122]

Awards and accolades

Among more recent commentators, Alan Pollack admires "Hey Jude" as "such a good illustration of two compositional lessons – how to fill a large canvas with simple means, and how to use diverse elements such as harmony, bassline, and orchestration to articulate form and contrast."[74] Pollack considers that the song's long coda provides "an astonishingly transcendental effect",[74] while AllMusic's Richie Unterberger similarly opines: "What could have very easily been boring is instead hypnotic because McCartney varies the vocal with some of the greatest nonsense scatting ever heard in rock …"[16] In his book Revolution in the Head, Ian MacDonald wrote that the "pseudo-soul shrieking in the fade-out may be a blemish" but he praised the song as "a pop/rock hybrid drawing on the best of both idioms".[118] MacDonald concluded: "'Hey Jude' strikes a universal note, touching on an archetypal moment in male sexual psychology with a gentle wisdom one might properly call inspired."[115] Lennon said the song was "one of [McCartney's] masterpieces".[14]

Writing in 1971, Robert Christgau of The Village Voice called it "one of [McCartney's] truest and most forthright love songs" and was critical of its omission from The Beatles.[117] In their 1975 book The Beatles: An Illustrated Record, critics Roy Carr and Tony Tyler wrote that "Hey Jude" "promised great things" for the ill-conceived Apple enterprise and described the song as "the last great Beatles single recorded specifically for the 45s market". They noted also that "the epic proportions of the piece" encouraged many imitators, yet these other artists "[failed] to capture the gentleness and sympathy of the Beatles' communal feel".[116]

Upon the single's release, Derek Johnson of the NME wrote: "The intriguing features of 'Hey Jude' are its extreme length and the 40-piece orchestral accompaniment – and personally I would have preferred it without either!" While he viewed the track overall as "a beautiful, compelling song", and the first three minutes as "absolutely sensational", Johnson rued the long coda's "vocal improvisations on the basically repetitive four-bar chorus".[112] Time magazine described the coda as "a fadeout that engagingly spoofs the fadeout as a gimmick for ending pop records". The same reviewer contrasted "Hey Jude" with its B-side, "Revolution", saying that "The other side of the new disk urges activism of a different sort", due to McCartney "liltingly exhort[ing] a friend to overcome his fears and commit himself in love".[113] Rolling Stone also attributed the song's meaning as a message from McCartney to Lennon to end his negative relationships with women: "to break the old pattern; to really go through with love".[114] Other commentators interpreted "Hey Jude" as being directed at Bob Dylan, then semi-retired in Woodstock.[115][116]

Critical reception

The final film was a combination of several different takes[106] and included filmed "introductions" to the song by David Frost (who introduced the Beatles as "the greatest tea-room orchestra in the world"),[107] and Cliff Richard, for their respective, eponymous TV programmes.[106] As filming wore on, Lennon repeatedly asked Lindsay-Hogg if he had the footage he needed. After twelve takes, McCartney said, "I think that's enough", and filming concluded.[106] It was first aired in the UK on Frost on Sunday on 8 September 1968,[108] and the film was later broadcast for the United States on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour on 6 October.[109] According to Riley, the showing on Frost on Sunday "kicked 'Hey Jude' into the stratosphere" in terms of popularity.[110] Hertsgaard pairs it with the release of the animated film Yellow Submarine as two events that created "a state of nirvana" for Beatles fans, in contrast with the problems besetting the band regarding Ono's influence and Apple.[111]

The Beatles hired Michael Lindsay-Hogg to shoot a promotional film for "Hey Jude", after he had previously directed a clip for "Paperback Writer" in 1966. They settled on the idea of filming with a live, albeit controlled audience. In the film, the Beatles are first seen by themselves, performing the initial chorus and verses, and then are joined by the audience who appear as the last chorus concludes and coda begins; the audience sings and claps along with the Beatles through the song's conclusion. Hogg shot the film at Twickenham Film Studios on 4 September 1968, with McCartney himself designing the set. Tony Bramwell, a friend of the Beatles, later described the set as "the piano, there; drums, there; and orchestra in two tiers at the back."[103] The event marked Starr's return to the group, after McCartney's criticism of his drumming had led to him walking out during a session for the White Album track "Back in the U.S.S.R."[104][105] During his two-week absence, Starr announced that he had left the band.[103]

A failed early promotional attempt for the single took place after the Beatles' all-night recording session on 7–8 August 1968.[99] With Apple Boutique having closed a week before, McCartney and his girlfriend, Francie Schwartz, painted Hey Jude/Revolution across its large, whitewashed shop windows.[100] The words were mistaken for anti-Semitic graffiti (since Jude means "Jew" in German),[100] leading to complaints from the local Jewish community,[79][101] and the windows being smashed by passers-by.[102] Discussing the episode in The Beatles Anthology, McCartney explained that he had been motivated by the location – "Great opportunity. Baker Street, millions of buses going around …" – and added: "I had no idea it meant 'Jew', but if you look at footage of Nazi Germany, ‍ '​Juden Raus‍ '​ was written in whitewashed windows with a Star of David. I swear it never occurred to me."[13] According to Barry Miles, McCartney caused further controversy in his comments to Alan Smith of the NME that month when he said: "Starvation in India doesn't worry me one bit, not one iota … And it doesn't worry you, if you're honest. You just pose."[79][nb 9]


On 30 November 1968, NME reported that sales had reached nearly six million copies worldwide.[96][97] "Hey Jude" became the biggest-selling debut release for a record label ever, selling an estimated eight million copies worldwide and topping the charts in eleven countries.[90] In 1999, it was certified 4x platinum by the RIAA, representing four million units shipped in America.[95][98]

In the UK, where "MacArthur Park" had failed to top the chart, "Hey Jude" remained the longest number-one hit for nearly a quarter of a century. It was surpassed in 1993 by Meat Loaf's "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)", which ran to 7:58 as a single.[95]

The single was a highly successful debut for Apple Records,[89] and contrasted with the public embarrassment the band faced after the recent closure of their short-lived retail venture, Apple Boutique.[54] "Hey Jude" began its sixteen-week run on Britain's official singles chart on 7 September 1968, claiming the top spot a week later. It lasted two weeks on top before being replaced by Hopkin's "Those Were the Days", which was produced by McCartney.[90] "Hey Jude" was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) on 13 September; that same week, NME reported that two million copies of the single had been sold.[91] The song entered the Billboard Hot 100 in the US on 14 September, beginning a nineteen-week chart run there.[92] It reached number one on 28 September and held that position for nine weeks,[93] for three of which, "Those Were the Days" held the number-two spot.[92] This was the longest time spent by a Beatles single at number one,[94] as well as being the longest-playing single to reach number one.[93] The song was the 16th number-one hit for the band in America, tying Elvis Presley's record at the time for most number-one songs there. Billboard ranked it as the number-one song for 1968.[93]

Lennon wanted "Revolution" to be the A-side of the single, but the other Beatles did not agree.[86] In his 1970 interview with Rolling Stone, he said "Hey Jude" was worthy of an A-side, "but we could have had both."[87] In 1980, he told Playboy he still disagreed with the decision.[88]

"Hey Jude" was released on 26 August 1968 in the United States and 30 August in the United Kingdom,[77] backed with "Revolution" on the B-side of a 7" single.[78] It was one of four singles issued simultaneously to launch Apple Records – the others being Mary Hopkin's "Those Were the Days", Jackie Lomax's "Sour Milk Sea", and the Black Dyke Mills Band's "Thingumybob".[79] In advance of the release date, Apple declared 11–18 August to be "National Apple Week" in the UK,[79][80] and sent gift-wrapped boxes of the records, marked "Our First Four", to Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family, and to the British prime minister.[81] The release was promoted by Derek Taylor, who, in Doggett's description, "hyped the first Apple records with typical elan".[82] "Hey Jude" was the first of the four singles, since it was still designated as an EMI/Parlophone release in the UK and a Capitol release in the US, but with the Apple Records logo now added.[83][nb 8] In America, "Hey Jude" was the first Beatles single to be issued in a company sleeve rather than a picture sleeve.[85]

[The Beatles] are confident and cheerful and the human condition will be thrilled by the coming results of their willing and enduring Beatle bondage … they will give all of us new wonders to soothe our pain.[76]

Derek Taylor, "Hey Jude" press release, August 1968


Riley considers that the coda's repeated chord sequence (I-VII-IV-I) "answers all the musical questions raised at the beginnings and ends of bridges", since "The flat seventh that posed dominant turns into bridges now has an entire chord built on it." This three-chord refrain allows McCartney "a bedding ... to leap about on vocally",[75] so he ad-libs his vocal performance for the rest of the song. In Riley's estimation, the song "becomes a tour of Paul's vocal range: from the graceful inviting tones of the opening verse, through the mounting excitement of the song itself, to the surging raves of the coda".[23]

The verse-bridge structure persists for approximately three minutes, after which the band leads into a four-minute-long coda, consisting of nineteen rounds of the song's double plagal cadence.[62] During this coda, the rest of the band, backed by an orchestra that also provides backing vocals, repeats the phrase "Na-na-na na" followed by the words "hey Jude" until the song gradually fades out. In his analysis of the composition, musicologist Alan Pollack comments on the unusual structure of "Hey Jude", in that it uses a "binary form that combines a fully developed, hymn-like song together with an extended, mantra-like jam on a simple chord progression".[74]

The second verse of the song adds accompaniment from acoustic guitar and tambourine. Tim Riley writes that, with the "restrained tom-tom and cymbal fill" that introduces the drum part, "the piano shifts downward to add a flat seventh to the tonic chord, making the downbeat of the bridge the point of arrival ('And any time you feel the pain‍ '​)."[72] At the end of each bridge, McCartney sings a brief phrase ("Na-na-na na …"), supported by an electric guitar fill,[34] before playing a piano fill that leads to the next verse. According to Riley, this vocal phrase serves to "reorient the harmony for the verse as the piano figure turns upside down into a vocal aside". Additional musical details, such as tambourine on the third verse and subtle harmonies accompanying the lead vocal, are added to sustain interest throughout the four-verse, two-bridge song.[73]

"Hey Jude" begins with McCartney singing lead vocals and playing the piano. The patterns he plays are based on three chords: F, C, and B (I, V and IV).[1] The main chord progression is "flipped on its head", in Hertsgaard's words, for the coda, since the C chord is replaced by E.[71] Everett comments that McCartney's melody over the verses borrows in part from John Ireland's 1907 liturgical piece Te Deum, as well as (with the first change to a B chord) suggesting the influence of the Drifters' 1960 hit "Save the Last Dance for Me".[62]

1968 sheet music cover (Maclen Music, Inc., New York)

Composition and structure

In the song's final bridge section, at 2:58,[66] the spoken phrase "Fucking hell!" appears. Scott admits that although he was told about it, he could not hear the words originally.[10] Lennon attributed the expletive to McCartney, according to Emerick,[55] who reports Lennon's comment in his autobiography: "'Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,' Lennon gleefully crowed, 'but I insisted we leave it in [at Trident], buried just low enough so that it can barely be heard. Most people won't ever spot it ... but we'll know it's there.'"[67] Womack considers that the expletive was actually uttered by Lennon.[66] Malcolm Toft, the mix engineer on the Trident recording,[68] also attributes it to Lennon.[69] In Toft's recollection, Lennon was overdubbing his harmony vocal when, in reaction to the volume being too loud in his headphones, he first called out "Whoa!" then, two seconds later, swore as he pulled the headphones off.[70][nb 7]

Everett writes that the song's "most commented-on feature" is its considerable length, at 7:11.[62] The precedent for issuing such a long track on a single had recently been set by Richard Harris' hit recording of "MacArthur Park",[63] the composer of which, Jimmy Webb, was a visitor to the studio around this time.[64] According to Webb, Martin admitted to him that "Hey Jude" was only allowed to run over seven minutes because of the success of "MacArthur Park".[65]

Scott, Martin and the Beatles mixed the finished recording at Abbey Road.[10] The transfer of the Trident master tape to acetate proved problematic due to the recording sounding murky when played back on EMI's equipment.[10] The issue was resolved with the help of Geoff Emerick,[54][55] whom Scott had recently replaced as the Beatles' principal recording engineer.[56] Emerick happened to be visiting Abbey Road,[57] having recently refused to work with the Beatles any longer, due to the tension and abuse that had become commonplace at their recording sessions.[58][59] A stereo mix of "Hey Jude" was then completed on 2 August and the mono version on 8 August.[60][nb 6]


Trident was paid £25 per hour by EMI for the "Hey Jude" sessions. Sheffield said that the studio earned about £1000 in total at the time, but by having the Beatles record there, and in turn raving about the facility, the value was incalculable.[52] The band carried out further work at Trident during 1968,[53] and Apple artists such as Lomax, Mary Hopkin, Billy Preston and the Iveys all recorded there over the next year.[50][nb 5]

The Beatles then asked the orchestra members if they would clap their hands and sing along to the refrain in the coda. All but one of the musicians complied (for a double fee), with the abstainer reportedly saying, "I'm not going to clap my hands and sing Paul McCartney's bloody song!"[39] Apple Records assistant Chris O'Dell says she joined the cast of backing singers on the song;[50] one of the label's first signings, Jackie Lomax, also recalled participating.[51]

According to Sheffield, there was dissension initially among the orchestral musicians, some of whom "were looking down their noses at the Beatles, I think". Sheffield recalls that McCartney ensured their cooperation by demanding: "Do you guys want to get fucking paid or not?" During the first few takes, McCartney was unhappy about the lack of energy and passion in the orchestra's performance, so he stood up on the grand piano and started conducting the musicians from there.[49]

On 1 August, the group carried out overdubs on the basic track, again at Trident. These additions included McCartney's lead vocal and bass guitar; backing vocals from Lennon, McCartney and Harrison; and tambourine,[34] played by Starr.[47] They then added a 36-piece orchestra over the long coda, scored by Martin.[39] The orchestra consisted of ten violins, three violas, three cellos, two flutes, one contra bassoon, one bassoon, two clarinets, one contra bass clarinet, four trumpets, four trombones, two horns, percussion and two string basses.[47] With the introduction of what musicologist Walter Everett terms the "bottom-heavy" orchestral instruments, particularly the string basses, McCartney's bass part was cut from the start of the coda onwards.[48]

The Beatles recorded four takes of "Hey Jude", the first of which was selected as the master.[39] With drums absent for the first 50 seconds of the song, McCartney began this take unaware that Starr had just left for a toilet break. Starr soon returned – "tiptoeing past my back rather quickly", in McCartney's recollection – and performed his cue perfectly. McCartney added: "his timing was absolutely impeccable."[40]

The master track for "Hey Jude" was recorded at Trident Studios on 31 July.[33] Trident's founder, Norman Sheffield, recalled that Mal Evans, the Beatles' aide and former roadie, insisted that some pot plants he had brought be placed in the studio to make the place "soft", consistent with the band's wishes.[46] Sheffield served as recording engineer for the session. The line-up on the basic track was McCartney on piano and lead vocal, Lennon on acoustic guitar, Harrison on electric guitar, and Ringo Starr on drums.[39]

Trident Studios recording

During the rehearsals that day,[35] Harrison and McCartney had a heated disagreement over the lead guitar part for the song.[31] Harrison's idea was to play a guitar phrase as a response to each line of the vocal,[38] which did not fit with McCartney's conception of the song's arrangement, and he vetoed it.[39][40] In a 1994 interview, McCartney said, "looking back on it, I think, Okay. Well, it was bossy, but it was ballsy of me, because I could have bowed to the pressure."[40] Ron Richards, a record producer who worked for Martin at both Parlophone and AIR Studios,[41] said McCartney was "oblivious to anyone else's feelings in the studio", and that he was driven to making the best possible record, at almost any cost.[42][nb 4]

[37] Author Simon Leng views this as indicative of how Harrison was increasingly allowed little room to develop ideas on McCartney compositions, whereas he was free to create empathetic guitar parts for Lennon's songs of the period.[nb 3][35].Ken Scott with Martin and EMI recording engineer [34] The film shows only three of the Beatles performing "Hey Jude", however, since [33]Music! The 30 July rehearsals were filmed for a short documentary titled

[32] compilation in 1996.Anthology 3 was issued on the [31] describes as a "jovial" session,Kenneth Womack A take from 29 July, which author and critic [24] (Abbey Road was still limited to four-tracks).eight-track recording machine to utilise their Trident Studios These dates served as rehearsals, however, since they planned to record the master track at [30]

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