"Hello Goodbye" is a song by the Beatles. Though the songwriting credit is Lennon/McCartney, it was written only by Paul McCartney. "Hello Goodbye" was released as a single in November 1967, and topped the charts in both the United States and Britain where it spent seven weeks at number one. The song appeared on the American Magical Mystery Tour LP, which was later adopted as the official UK version of the album, but not on the British 'Magical Mystery Tour' EP.
John Lennon wasn't fond of the song, which he called "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions." His distaste for the song grew further when it pushed "I Am the Walrus" to the B-side of the single. Though Lennon had anticipated "I Am the Walrus" being the A-side of the single, Paul McCartney and George Martin believed that "Hello Goodbye" was the more commercial tune. This dispute fed the conflict over single releases between Lennon and McCartney which prompted Lennon to say after the Beatles' breakup, "I got sick and tired of being Paul's backup band".
The final lines of the song, where the entire band sings "Hela, hey-ba hello-a" (the portion that plays over the end titles of the Magical Mystery Tour film) came spontaneously in the studio. When the song was released, McCartney gave a more mystical explanation of the meaning of his song in an interview with Disc: "The answer to everything is simple. It's a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life."
At least three promotional videos were filmed for "Hello Goodbye", but not aired by the BBC due to the Musicians Union's strict rules on miming. Paul McCartney directed the footage, which was filmed at the Saville Theatre in London, formerly owned by The Beatles' manager Brian Epstein.
Alistair Taylor, who worked for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, once asked McCartney how he wrote his songs, and McCartney took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration on his harmonium. He asked Taylor to shout the opposite of whatever he sang as he played the instrument. Taylor later said, "I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already." In any case, McCartney soon had completed a demo of his newest single — originally titled "Hello Hello."
In 2008, American retailer Target featured various renditions of the song as part of its "Hello Good Buy" campaign.
The song is used as leader for a Dutch television program (the program is called also Hello Goodbye) from the NCRV, where people are interviewed at the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in the Netherlands who are waiting for family or friends to come home after a long period (Hello) or who have come to say goodbye to family or friends who will leave for a long time.
* Paul McCartney – vocals, bass, piano, bongos, conga
* John Lennon – backing vocals, lead guitar, organ
* George Harrison – backing vocals, lead guitar
* Ringo Starr – drums, maracas, tambourine
* Kenneth Essex – viola
* Leo Birnbaum – viola
B-side: "I Am the Walrus"
Released: 24 November 1967
Recorded: Abbey Road, 2 October–2 November 1967
Genre: Pop rock
Label: Parlophone (UK), Capitol Records (U.S.)
Producer: George Martin