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Hey Jude


  • The subject of "Hey Jude" is open to much debate, despite Paul's insistence that it was about Julian's parents divorcing -- Julian himself never learned the song was about him until two decades later. John saw it as a subconscious attempt by Paul to reconcile his own loss of John to Yoko. Some have also seen it as Paul's subconscious attempt to "make it better" by leaving his own girlfriend, Jane Asher, for Linda Eastman. Some claim that there are Jewish connections ("Jude" being German for "Jew"), while others have suggested drug connections due to the "under your skin" line. Several associates and hangers-on have claimed the song is about them, as well.
  • John can clearly be heard shouting something after the last "Let her under your skin," right on the beat, and then exclaiming "f***ing hell!" at 2:58. (It has been suggested that he says "Got the wrong chord!" after flubbing a guitar move.) Remarkably, the expletive has never been removed or censored on radio.
  • Paul's vocal on the coda may be the Beatles' most famous bit of vocal gymnastics. Triple-tracked, it features two Pauls working their way up over two octaves from low E to high F and a third ad-libbing, breaking off to scat "Make it, Jude" before the explosive high note and the resulting second half. (That second half coda begins at 3:12, and is actually longer than the song it anchors!)

    Here's the full text of Paul's ad-libbed vocal lines over the entire coda, from 3:58 on:

    "Ju-Judy Judy Judy Judy Judy OW, WAHOW!"
    "Ow hoo, na na na"
    "JUDE Jude JUDE Jude Joooo..."
    "Na na na na na, yeah yeah yeah"
    "Yeah you know you can make it, yeah Jude, you not gotta break it"
    "Don't make it bad Jude"
    "Take a sad song and make it better"
    "Oh Jude, Jude, Hey Jude, WHAAAAOOOOW"
    "Ooo, Juuuude"
    "Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey-ee-yay-yay-yay"
    "Hey, hey, hey"
    "Now Jude Jude Jude Jude Jude Jude, yeah yeah yeah yeah"
    "Woh yeah yeah"
    "Ah nanananananana cause I wanna"
    "Nanananana ... nanalala ow ow ow"
    "Oh God"
    "The pain won't come back Jude"
    "Yeah, eh hehe heh"
    "Make it Jude"
    "Goodeveningladiesandgentlemen mymymymy my my mahhhh"
    "A-well a naaaa-nanan" (fade)

    There are 19 repetitions of the "Na... na-na na-na-na-na / na-na-na-na / Hey Jude" chorus in the coda.

  • The original mono release of this song ends after the "A-well a" ad-lib, running 7:11 total; most of the versions found on CD, taken from the stereo mix, fade about four seconds earlier.
  • This was the longest single ever released up to that time in America, the longest #1 single ever in Billboard, but not, as some claim, the longest Beatle song officially released -- that honor goes to "Revolution 9" at 8:13. ("I Want You (She's So Heavy)" runs 7:47, making "Hey Jude" the third longest Beatles song.)
  • This was also the first Beatles single -- indeed, the first musical release of any kind -- to be released on their own custom label, Apple. (Although, curiously, the single featured Capitol / Parlophone label numbers.)
  • "Hey Jude" spent an unprecedented nine weeks at Number One in the US, making it the biggest Beatles single ever in America. It has sold over eight million copies, three million in just the first two months.
  • The rehearsal featured an unplanned intro by John and Paul (John: "From the heart of the black country!" Paul: "When I was a robber in Boston place / You gathered round me with your fine embrace") can be heard on Anthology 3. "Boston Place" is a street in London where the group had just set up Apple Electronics (and also the street the lads were chased down in the opening scene of A Hard Day's Night, while the "Black Country," was a reference to England's industrial factory center near and in Birmingham.
  • Paul sat down at the piano during the rehearsal of one of Apple's new acts, The Iveys (later Badfinger), and played a full impromptu version of "Hey Jude" for them. "We were gobsmacked," recalled one member later.
  • The lyrics to "Hey Jude" were purchased anonymously for approximately $40,000 at a 1996 Sotheby's auction. It was later revealed that Julian Lennon himself had made the winning bid.
Covered by: Area Code 615, Chet Atkins, The Bar-Kays, Count Basie, Shirley Bassey, John Bayless, Mr. Acker Bilk, Bill Black, Ace Cannon, Ray Charles Singers, Petula Clark, Richard Clayderman, Judy Collins, Jessi Colter, Ray Conniff, Bing Crosby, The Crusaders, De Danann, Pete Drake, Don Ellis, Jose Feliciano, Maynard Ferguson, Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops, Ella Fitzgerald, Paul Frees, Grateful Dead, Wayne Gratz, The Guess Who, Ofra Harnoy, Woody Herman, John Holt, Willis "Gator" Jackson, Tom Jones, Stan Kenton, King Curtis, Al Kooper, James Last, Yusef Lateef, The Lettermen, Enoch Light, Arthur Lyman, Peggy March, R. Stevie Moore, The Music Machine, Peter Nero, Wilson Pickett, Elvis Presley, Boots Randolph, Jorge Rico, Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Earl Scruggs, The Shadows, George Shearing, O.C. Smith, Sonny and Cher, Stars on 45, Ray Stevens, Take That, The Temptations, Tiny Tim, Toots and the Maytals, Stanley Turrentine, University of Iowa Marching Band, Sarah Vaughn, Tony Vega, The Ventures, Jr. Walker and the All-Stars, Dionne Warwick, Robbie Williams, Roger Williams
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