Saturday, February 18, 2006

I'm A Loser

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.9) and McCartney (.1)
LENNON: "That's me in my Dylan period. . . . Part of suspects I'm a loser and part of me thinks I'm God almighty." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Singer Jackie DeShannon was on the Beatles' summer 1964 North American tour. She recalled that Lennon was writing this song on the plane during the tour. RS (February 16, 1984)

McCARTNEY: "Looking back on it I think songs like 'I'm A Loser' and 'Nowhere Man' were John's cries for help. We used to listen to quite a lot of country and western songs and they are all about sadness and 'I lost my truck' so it was quite acceptable to sing 'I'm a loser'. You didn't really think about it at the time, it's only later you think, God! I think it was pretty brave of John. 'I'm A Loser' was very much John's song and there may have been a dabble or two from me." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

August 14, 1964, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, harmony vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar, harmonica, lead vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar (Gretsch Tennessean [model PX6119])
STARR: drums, tambourine
guitar from Guitar (November 1987)

This was once considered for release as a single in the United Kingdom until Lennon wrote "I Feel Fine." The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

This song was part of the Beatles' live repertoire in 1964 and 1965. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

Friday, February 17, 2006

Here, There And Everywhere


AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.8) and Lennon (.2)
This song had its genesis in John's sleeping patterns. Paul arrived at Kenwood for a songwriting session and John was still in bed. Since it was a nice June day, Paul asked someone to make him a cup of tea and went to sit by John's swimming pool while he waited.

McCARTNEY: "I sat out by the pool on one of the sun chairs with my guitar and started strumming in E, and soon had a few chords, and I think by the time he'd woken up, I had pretty much written the song, so we took it indoors and finished it up. But it's very me, it's one of my favourite songs that I've written. Jazz people used to pick it up because they like the chord structure.
"'Here, There And Everywhere' has a couple of interesting structural points about it: lyrically the way it combines the whole title: each verse takes a word. 'Here' discusses here. Next verse, 'there' discusses there, then it pulls it all together in the last verse, with 'everywhere'. The structure of that is quite neat. And I like the tune. John might have helped with a few last words. When I sang it in the studio I remember thinking, 'I'll sing it like Marianne Faithfull'; something no one would never know. You get these little things in your mind, you think, 'I'll sing it like James Brown might', but of course it's always you that sings it, but in your head there's a little James Brown for that session. If you can't think how to sing the thing, that's always a good clue: imagine Aretha Franklin to come and sing it, Ray Charles is going to sing it. So that one was a little voice, I used an almost falsetto voice and double-tracked it. My Marianne Faithfull impression. So I would credit me pretty much 80-20 on that one." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

June 14, 1966, at Abbey Road, with overdubs added June 16 and 17

McCARTNEY: acoustic guitar, lead vocal (double-tracked)
LENNON: backing vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums

LENNON: "This was a great one of his." Hit Parader (April 1972)

LENNON: "One of my favourite songs of the Beatles." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono


UNITED KINGDOM: Also released as a single, July 23, 1965. It became a No. 1 hit immediately and held that position for four weeks. Final sales totalled 900,000. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Also released as a single, July 19, 1965. It entered the Top 40 August 14, remained on the chart for twelve weeks, and held the No. 1 position for three. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.7) and McCartney (.3)
The song was written on April 4, 1965. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London

McCARTNEY: "John wrote that - well, John and I wrote it at his house in Weybridge for the film. I think the title was out of desperation." Playboy (December 1984)

McCARTNEY: "I seem to remember Dick Lester, Brian Epstein, Walter Shenson and ourselves sitting around, maybe Victor Spinetti was there, and thinking, 'What are we going to call this one?' Somehow Help! came out. I didn't suggest it; John might have suggested it or Dick Lester. It was one of them. John went home and thought about it and got the basis of it, then we had a writing session on it. We sat at his house and wrote it, so he obviously didn't have that much of it. I would have to credit it to John for the original inspiration 70-30. My main contribution is the countermelody to John. If you analyse our songs, John's are often on one note, whereas mine are often much more melodic. I enjoy going places with melodies. I like what John did too, but his are mroe rhythmic. So to take away from the solo note a little bit I wrote a descant to it." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "Later, I knew I reall was crying out for help. So it was my fat Elvis period. You see the movie: He - I - is very fat, very insecure, and he's completely lost himself." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

When they finished the song, feeling very pleased with themselves, they took their guitars downstairs to the living room where Cynthia Lennon and the journalist Maureen Cleave were sitting and played it to them.

McCARTNEY: "Because it was finished, you see. Once we'd done our writing session there was nothing left to be done except put the instruments on. That's what I was there for; to complete it. Had John just been left on his own he might have taken weeks to do it, but just one visit and we would go right in and complete it. So we came down and played the intro, into the verse, descant coming in on the second verse. It was all crafted, it was all there, the final verses and the end. 'Very nice,' they said. 'Like it.'" Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

April 13, 1965, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, backing vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar, lead vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums, tambourine

On the single's first pressing the caption says: "From the United Artists screenplay, Eight Arms To Hold You." That was the original title for Help!
This song was part of the Beatles' live repertoire in 1965. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
In the mid-'80s, the Ford Motor Company paid a reported $100,000 to use this song in a TV ad for its Lincoln-Mercury division. But, unlike Nike's later use of the actual Beatles' performance of "Revolution," this song was performed by a sound-alike group. Los Angeles Times (May 1987)

LENNON: "I meant it - it's real. The lyric is as good now as it was then. It is no different, and it makes me feel secure to know that I was that aware of myself then. It was just me singing "Help!" and I meant it. I don't like the recording too much; we did it too fast trying to be commercial." December 1970, Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Helter Skelter

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
Paul came up with the idea for "Helter Skelter" in Scotland after reading an interview with Pete Townshend in which he described the Who's new single, "I Can See For Miles", as the loudest, rawest, dirtiest and most uncompromising song they had ever done.

McCARTNEY, referring to a Pete Townshend interview in Melody Maker: "He said the Who had made some track that was the loudest, the most raucous rock 'n' roll, the dirtiest thing they'd ever done. It made me think, 'Right. Got to do it.' I like that kind of geeking up. And we decided to do the loudest, nastiest, sweatiest rock number we could. That was 'Helter Skelter.' " Musician (February 1985)

McCARTNEY: "I was always trying to write something different, trying to not write in character, and I read this and I was inspired, Oh, wow! Yeah! Just that one little paragraph was enough to inspire me; to make me make a move. So I sat down and wrote 'Helter Skelter' to be the most raucous vocal, the loudest drums, et cetera et cetera. I was using the symbol of a helter skelter as a ride from the top to the bottom - the rise and fall of the Roman Empire - and this was the fall, the demise, the going down. You could have thought of it as a rather cute title but it's since taken on all sorts of ominous overtones because Manson picked it up as an anthem, and since then quite a few punk bands have done it because it is a raunchy rocker.
"I went into the studio and said, 'Hey, look, I've read this thing. Let's do it!' We got the engineers and George Martin to hike up the drum sound and really get it as loud and horrible as it could and we played it and said, 'No, it still sounds too safe, it's got to get louder and dirtier.' We tried everything we could to dirty it up and in the end you can hear Ringo say, 'I've got blisters on my fingers.' That wasn't a joke put-on: his hands were actually bleeding at the end of the take, he'd been drumming so ferociously. We did work very hard on that track. Unfortunately it inspired people to evil deeds." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

The first version, recorded July 18, 1968, at Abbey Road, was about twenty-seven minutes long. The album version was recorded September 9 with an overdub added September 10. This was recorded on an eight-track machine that EMI had just installed. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

BRIAN GIBSON, technical engineer: "The version on the album was out of control. They were completely out of their heads that night. But, as usual, a blind eye was turned to what the Beatles did in the studio. Everyone knew what substances they were taking, but they were really a law unto themselves in the studio." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: bass, lead guitar, lead vocal
LENNON: bass, lead guitar, saxophone, backing vocal
HARRISON: rhythm guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums
MAL EVANS: trumpet

At the end of the song, Ringo screams, "I got blisters on my fingers!" The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

Convicted murderer Charles Manson took the title as the name for the race war and apocalypse he believed was destined to happen when the Black Panthers would rise up and kill the white "piggies." Manson had his group commit the Tate and LaBianca murders to show blacks how to "rise." In England the term helter skelter applies to an amusement-park slide.
Lennon found Manson's interpretation of "Helter Skelter" absurd. Manson's zealous reading of lyric signs and symbols was typical of Beatle fans, but - also typical, Lennon said - he came up with a message that simply did not exist in the song. December 1970, Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970

MANSON: "Like, Helter Skelter is a nightclub. Helter Skelter means confusion. Literally. It doesn't mean any war with anyone. It doesn't mean that those people are going to kill other people. It only means what it means. Helter Skelter is confusion. Confusion is coming down fast. If you don't see the confusion coming down fast, you can call it what you wish. It's not my conspiracy. It is not my music. I hear what it relates. It says 'Rise!' It says 'Kill!' Why blame it on me? I didn't write the music. I am not the person who projected it into your social consciousness." November 17, 1970, via Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

His followers could also be unbalanced, crazed people looking for a leader, twisting his message in their minds. The Charles Manson gang had it in their heads that "Helter Skelter" was an incitement to kill. They sang "Magical Mystery Tour" as they proceeded to take people away. When Manson himself was caught the only book in his room, and the one he was reading at the time, was my biography of the Beatles. It was a chilling realization of what could happen. And what did happen, once again, in December 1980. Hunter Davies, John Lennon: A Tribute (intro to The Beatles: Illustrated and Updated Edition)

Honey Pie

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
McCARTNEY: "Both John and I had a great love for music hall, what the Americans call vaudeville. I'd heard a lot of that kind of music growing up with the Billy Cotton Band Show and all of that on the radio. I was also an admirer of people like Fred Astaire; one of my favourites of his was 'Cheek to Cheek' from a film called Top Hat that I used to have on an old 78. I very much liked that old crooner style, the strange fruity voice that they used, so 'Honey Pie' was me writing one of them to an imaginary woman, across the ocean, on the silver screen, who was called Honey Pie. It's another of my fantasy songs. We put a sound on my voice to make it sound like a scratchy old record. So it's not a parody, it's a nod to the vaudeville tradition that I was raised on." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

October 1, 1968, with overdubbing October 2 and 4, at Trident Studios

McCARTNEY: piano, vocal
LENNON: lead guitar (Sunburst Epiphone Casino)
STARR: drums
guitar from Guitar (November 1987)

The brass arrangement was scored by George Martin. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

HARRISON: "John played a brilliant solo on 'Honey Pie' . . . sounded like Django Reinhardt or something. It was one of them where you just close your eyes and happen to hit all the right notes - sounded like a little jazz solo." Guitar (November 1987)

LENNON, when asked about "Honey Pie": (laughing) "I don't even want to think about that." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Hold Me Tight

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (.8) and Lennon (.2)
Another Lennon and McCartney song that became part of their Cavern repertoire was 'Hold Me Tight', a McCartney number that Paul and John worked on together. It was written in Forthlin Road, but not recorded until the With The Beatles album.
McCARTNEY: "When we first started it was all singles and we were always trying to write singles. That's why you get lots of these 2 minute 30 seconds songs; they all came out the same length. 'Hold Me Tight' was a failed attempt at a single which then became an acceptable album filler." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "Both of us [wrote this], but mainly Paul." Hit Parader (April 1972)

September 12, 1963, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, lead vocal, handclaps
LENNON: rhythm guitar, backing vocal, handclaps
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal, handclaps
STARR: drums

This song was part of the Beatles' concert repertoire from 1961 to 1963.
A version of this song was recorded February 11, 1963, during the Please Please Me session but not released. The Complete Beatles Chronicle

McCARTNEY: "I can't remember much about that one. Certain songs were just 'work' songs, you haven't got much memory of them. That's one of them. . . . It was a bit Shirelles." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

LENNON: "It was a pretty poor song." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Her Majesty

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
The medley, or 'the Long One' as it was known in the studio, went through a number of changes before reaching its final order. The little fragment known as "Her Majesty," which Paul wrote in Scotland, was originally placed after "Mean Mr. Mustard" but Paul decided it didn't work there and asked the tape operator John Kurlander to edit it out and throw it away. Following normal studio practice, he attached a long piece of leader tape to it to identify it as separate from the rest of the tracks and tacked it on the end of the reel. When an acetate was made of the medley, "Her Majesty" was accidentally included. Paul liked it in its new position, and it was allowed to remain. This accounts for the long silence which precedes it, and the decaying chord with which it opens, which is in fact the last chord of "Mean Mr. Mustard."
McCARTNEY: "That was very much how things happened. Really, you know, the whole of our career was like that so it's a fitting end." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: "It was quite funny because it's basically monarchist, with a mildly disrespectful tone, but it's very tongue in cheek. It's almost like a love song to the Queen." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

July 2, 1969, at Abbey Road, by McCartney

McCartney, as usual, was the first Beatle in the studio and recorded this song quickly - in three takes - before the others arrived. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970

McCARTNEY: acoustic guitar, lead vocal

At 23 seconds, this is the shortest recorded Beatles song.
"Her Majesty" was originally meant to be placed in the middle of the album's medley, between "Mean Mr. Mustard" and "Polythene Pam." When a rough edit of the medley was put together July 30, McCartney changed his mind.

JOHN KURLANDER, second engineer: "We did all the remixes and crossfades to overlap the songs, Paul was there, and we heard it together for the first time. He said, 'I don't like "Her Majesty," throw it away,' so I cut it out - but I accidentally left in the last note. He said, 'It's only a rough mix, it doesn't matter,' in other words, don't bother about making a clean edit because it's only a rough mix. . . .
"I'd been told never to throw anything away, so after he left I picked it up off the floor, put about twenty seconds of red leader tape before it and stuck it onto the end of the edit tape. The next day, down at Apple, Malcolm Davies cut a playback lacquer of the whole sequence and, even though I'd written on the box that 'Her Majesty' was unwanted, he too thought, 'Well, mustn't throw anything away, I'll put it on at the end.'
"I'm only assuming this, but when Paul got that lacquer he must have liked hearing 'Her Majesty' tacked on the end. . . . We never remixed 'Her Majesty' again, that was the mix which ended up on the finished LP."
This is why "Her Majesty" doesn't have a final guitar chord - it lays, unheard, at the beginning of "Polythene Pam." And the jarring electric guitar chord that begins "Her Majesty" is actually from the end of the original "Mean Mr. Mustard." The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962-1970
"Her Majesty" was not originally listed on the album package. Beatles Forever

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hello Little Girl

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (1.00)
LENNON: "This was one of the first songs I ever finished. I was then about eighteen and we gave it to the Fourmost. I think it was the first song of my own that I ever attempted to do with the group." Beatles in Their Own Words

LENNON: "We were all excited, you know, Decca and all that. So we went down, and we met this Mike Smith guy, and we did all these numbers and we were terrified and nervous. You can hear it on the bootlegs. It starts off terrifying and gradually settles down. We were still together musically. You can hear it's primitive, you know, and it isn't recorded that well, but the power's there. It was the tracks that we were doing on stage in the dance halls. We then went back to Liverpool and waited and waited and then we found out that we hadn't been accepted. We really thought that was it. We thought that was the end." (January 1972) The Beatles Off the Record: Outrageous Opinions & Unrehearsed Interviews

McCARTNEY: "Unfortunately the words aren't too wonderful. They're a bit average, but the Fourmost were eager to have a hit and they were very good friends of ours. They were more of a comedy group, a really very funny cabaret act, and when it came to making a record and being serious on a TV show, they always laughed and giggled. They were always having such a laugh, it was very difficult for them. They just weren't the kind of guys who were going to get a major hit. I tried a few times." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

Recorded by the Fourmost on July 3, 1963, at Abbey Road.

Hey Jude

UNITED KINGDOM: Released as a single August 26, 1968. It hit No. 1 within two weeks and held that position for three weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Released as a single August 26, 1968. It entered the Top 40 September 14, held the No. 1 position for nine weeks, and remained on the chart for nineteen weeks. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

This was the Beatles' most successful single. It was a No. 1 hit in Holland, Ireland, Belgium, West Germany, Denmark, Singapore, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, and Sweden, with world sales totaling more than 5 million by the end of 1968 and 7.5 million by October 1972. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Beatles Forever
Billboard published a special chart in 1976 which listed the biggest hits of the past two decades. "Hey Jude" placed second, behind Chubby Checker's "The Twist." Beatles Forever
McCartney said he was "worried stiff" while this song was being released because he wasn't sure whether it was any good. He said he isn't able to make that kind of critical distinction. RS (April 30, 1970)
"Revolution" was originally going to be the A side (it was recorded earlier) and "Hey Jude" was going to be the B side. But those plans were reversed. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London
Lennon reluctantly agreed to relegate his song to the B side. Lennon : The Definitive Biography

"Hey Jude" was the Beatles' most successful single, selling more than 5,000,000 copies worldwide in six months; 7,500,000 in four years. It was number one in the USA for nine weeks, as well as going to number one in Britain and ten other countries. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

AUTHORSHIP McCartney (1.00)
McCARTNEY: "'Hey Jude' was a song which I originally thought of whilst driving my car out to visit Cynthia and Julian Lennon after John's divorce from them. We'd been very good friends for millions of years and I thought it was a bit much for them suddenly to be personae non gratae and out of my life, so I decided to pay them a visit and say, 'How are you doing? What's happening?' I was very used to writing songs on my way out to Kenwood because I was usually going there to collaborate with John. This time I started with the idea 'Hey Jules', which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad sang 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. The adults may be fine but the kids ... I always relate to their little brain spinning round in confusion, going, 'Did I do this? Was it me?' Guilt is such a terrible thing and I know it affects a lot of people and I think that was the reason I went out. And I got this idea for a song, 'Hey Jude', and made up a few little things so I had the idea by the time I got there. I changed it to 'Jude' because I thought that sounded a bit better.
"I finished it all up in Cavendish and I was in the music room upstairs when John and Yoko came to visit and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing up, listening to it as I played it to them, and when I got to the line 'The movement you need is on your shoulder', I looked over my shoulder and I said, 'I'll change that, it's a bit crummy. I was just blocking it out,' and John said, 'You won't, you know. That's the best line in it!' That's collaboration. When someone's that firm about a line that you're going to junk, and he says, 'No, keep it in.' So of course you love that line twice as much because it's a little stray, it's a little mutt that you were about to put down and it was reprieved and so it's more beautiful than ever. I love those words now, 'The movement you need is on your shoulder.' Of course I now feel that those are terribly deep words; I've had letters from religious groups and cults saying, 'Paul, you understand what this means, don't you? The wherewithal is there, whatever you want to do ...' And it is a great line but I was going to change it because it sounded like a parrot or something; not entirely logical. Time lends a little credence to things. You can't knock it, it just did so well. But when I'm singing it, that is when I think of John, when I hear myself singing that line; it's an emotional point in the song.
"The end refrain was never a separate song. I remember taking it down to a late night hashish-smoking club in a basement in Tottenham Court Road: the Vesuvio club. We were sitting around on bean bags as was the thing. I said to the DJ, 'Here's an acetate. Do you want to slip it in some time during the evening?' He played it, and I remember Mick Jagger coming up: 'Fuckin' 'ell, fuckin' 'ell. That's something else, innit? It's like two songs.' It wasn't intended to go on that long at the end but I was having such fun ad-libbing over the end when we put down the original track that I went on a long time. So then we built it with the orchestra but it was mainly because I just wouldn't stop doing all that 'Judy judy judy - wooow!' Cary Grant on heat!" Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY said he was idly singing "Hey Jules" while he was driving: "And then I just thought a better name was Jude. A bit more country and western for me." Beatles in Their Own Words
An influence on McCartney when he began writing this was the Drifters' "Save The Last Dance For Me."

Written at Cavendish Avenue, on the top floor, in Paul's music room. Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCartney and Lennon finished writing the song at Paul's house, on July 26, 1968. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London


McCARTNEY, describing a demo tape he made of the song: "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.' I'm always saying that, by the way, that's me, I'm always never sure if it's good enough. That's me, you know." RS (January 31, 1974)

LENNON: ". . . Paul is quite a capable lyricist who doesn't think he is. . . . 'Hey Jude' is a damn good set of lyrics, and I made no contribution to that. A couple of lines he's come up with show indications he's a good lyricist, but he just never took it anywhere." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

Rehearsed by all four Beatles on Monday, July 29, 1968, at Abbey Road. The next night they recorded it while being filmed for a feature about the music of Britain. On Wednesday they discarded that version and recorded the song again, at Trident Studios. On Thursday a forty-piece orchestra was used to hold single notes for long periods and to clap and sing the "na-na-na" chorus. (McCartney wanted a full symphony orchestra, but George Martin said booking one so quickly was impossible.) the final remix was done early Friday, and by the afternoon acetates were made.

McCARTNEY: "I remember on 'Hey Jude' telling George not to play guitar. He wanted to 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 a lot of our stuff." Musician (February 1985)
"The rule was whosoever's song it was got to say how we did the arrangement for it. That pissed him off . . ." Musician (October 1986)

McCARTNEY: " 'Hey Jude' was a very special take when we did it. In actual fact, Ringo was in the toilet. I started the song without drums, I thought he was in his drum booth. He heard me starting - 'Hey Jude, don't make it . . .' Hey, he does up his fly, leaps back into the studio, and he's creeping past me, I'm doing this take realizing the drummer is trying to make his way back to the booth. He makes his way very quietly, just got there in time for his entry, so it was kind of a magic take." Washington Post via Musician (February 1985)

McCARTNEY: "There is an amusing story about recording it. We were at Trident Studios in Soho, and 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 impeccable. So I think when those things happen, you have a little laugh and a light bulb goes off in your head and you think, This is the take! and you put a little more into it. You think, oh, fuck! This has got to be the take, what just happened was so magic! So we did that and we made a pretty good record." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

McCARTNEY: bass, piano, lead vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar (Gibson J-160E), backing and harmony vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums, tambourine
Forty-piece orchestra
The song begins with McCartney's piano and vocal and, after instruments are added one by one, concludes with about fifty instruments playing and a large number of voices. Beatles Forever

McCARTNEY: "I remember sitting down and showing George the song and George did the natural thing for a guitar player to do, which is to answer every line of vocal. And it was like, 'No, George.' And he was pretty offended, and looking back, I think, Oh, shit, of course you'd be offended. You're blowing the guy out. I said, 'No, no. You come in on the second chorus maybe, it's going to be a big build this.'
"That's the difficulty of a group. You are not the director bossing around a dance company where they naturally expect you to boss them around. You're just a guy in a very democratic unit; which a group, at best, is. We were all equal in voting, our status within the group was equal. We were joking when we made the Anthology: I was saying, 'I realise I was a bossy git.' And George said, 'Oh no, Paul, you never did anything like that!' With a touch of irony in his voice, because obviously I did. But it was essential for me and looking back on it, I think, Okay. Well, it was bossy, but it was also ballsy of me, because I could have bowed to the pressure." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

"Hey Jude" is the Beatles' longest single - 7:11 long - four minutes of which is the fadeout.
The single was the Beatles' first release on Apple. Beatles Forever

PETER BROWN, Beatles associate: "To help publicize the release of 'Hey Jude,' Paul decided to put the closed boutique at Baker and Paddington streets to some good use. Late one night he snuck into the store and whitewashed the windows. Then he wrote HEY JUDE across it in block letters. The following morning, when the neighbourhood shopkeepers arrived to open their stores, they were incensed; never having heard of the song 'Hey Juden' before, they took it as an anti-Semitic slur. A brick was thrown through the store window before the words could be cleaned off and the misunderstanding straightened out." The Love You Make : An Insider's Story of the Beatles

A promotional video was made at Twickenham Studios. The group was filmed for five hours, and about fifty to sixty invited fans participated in singing the long fadeout. The Beatles warmed up for their performance by playing versions of "Hang Down Your Head, Tom Dooley" and other songs.
In the promo Lennon and Harrison are both playing instruments different from the ones they used during the recording session. Guitar (November 1987)

LENNON: "That's his best song." Hit Parader (April 1972)

LENNON: ". . . I always heard it as a song to me. 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. The words 'go out and get her' - 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." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono