120: Hey Jude / Revolution

September 5, 2017

Podcast, Podcasting

49 years ago, The Beatles launched their Apple label with one of rock’s most successful single releases. Paul’s “Hey Jude,” backed with John’s “Revolution” – if not officially a double A-side release – surely ranks as among the finest 7″ records the group ever produced. It was also, as George observed years later, a real turning point in the band’s fortunes: a high point after which things could only go downhill. In this episode, Richard and  Robert discuss the context of this record, as well as the writing, the recording and the public presentation of Apple’s first issue: a record that spent two weeks atop the UK charts and nine at number one in the US.
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    23 Responses to “120: Hey Jude / Revolution”

    1. John Says:

      Great job fellas as usual.Keep them coming.Going through a rough time in my life.This podcast helps more than you know.Thanks making. my sad song better


      • John K. Walker Says:

        Similar painful situation with myself. Please continue to utilize SATB and every other resource to keep going on. Life will get better, and God really does love all His children throughout all of our emotional suffering.


    2. James L Says:

      Footnote to “the who was Paul’s date to the Yellow Submarine premiere” question. It looks like Jenny Boyd. I bet Donovan was spitting feathers!


    3. Paul T Says:

      Shock – another great show. Paul’s ad-libbing is and probably will be unmatched. Insane creativity – how do you think of such stuff?

      Re John’s expletive, read on:

      Trident’s Barry Sheffield engineered the track and in ‘Recording The Beatles’, Trident house engineer Malcolm Toft explains why John issued an expletive during his backing vocal: “At 2’59” [actually 2.57] you will hear a ‘whoa’ from him in the background. About two seconds later you will hear ‘fucking hell’. This was because when he was doing a vocal backing, Barry sent him the foldback level too loud and he threw the cans on the ground and uttered the expletive. Because it had been bounced down 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 and lessen the effect. John was the one who insisted they keep the expletive but bury it in the background; he got a kick out of the idea that nobody else would hear it, but ‘we’ll know it’s there.’”


    4. Matt Demakos Says:

      I don’t believe Paul’s story about the origin of “Hey Jude” anymore. There is no way this song has anything to do with a five-year-old boy! Hogwash! Not buying it! No lyric relates to a child. All the lyrics suggest a grown man leaving one woman for another.

      “Take a sad song and make it better”
      Lennon was the songwriter and one who could make a sad song better, not his son.

      “Remember to let her into your heart, then your can start to make it better.”
      How the heck does this relate to a boy whose dad is leaving?

      “You were made to go out and get her”
      Nothing to do with Julian but everything to do with John going for Yoko. Paul sees they were meant for each other.

      “The minute you let her under your skin….”
      Not about no boy.

      “And anytime you feel the pain…
      Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.”
      Almost could be about the boy but grown people in heavy situations have the world upon their shoulders, not children. Who would write it that way if you had a young boy in mind?

      “…who plays it cool.”
      Not what children in such situations do, perhaps older children. I could be wrong.

      “You have found her now go and get her.”
      Who is this “her,” if it is about Julian?

      “You’re waiting for someone to perform with.”
      Yoko was a performance artist and so was John. The line may predate any performance art they did together but it certainly isn’t about Julian, especially with the sexual connotation. I have always read this line as a bit sexual and it is simply incredibly odd to include such a line if the song were about Julian.

      “The movement you need is on your shoulder.”
      Well, this could be about Julian, shrug it off.

      Paul did admit to it being partly about his own personal relationship, I know. But I feel he just said that over the embarrassment of writing a song about John and Yoko. At the time, he couldn’t admit that, still being friends with Cynthia. The song is obviously saying to make the move, switch, end it with Cynthia.

      When John took him to task, he even had to lie to him and make up that it was about his own relationship. It doesn’t come off that way, though. There is something more serious here than a unmarried relationship.

      Lennon knew it was about him. He was no dummy.

      McCartney can’t admit the truth now because how could he face Julian if he did? He used him for a song. It would be creepy for him to admit the truth now. This song is about a guy who is breaking with one girl and who has a friend who is giving him the courage to go forth with the other.

      It has nothing and never did have anything to do with Julian. I’m not buying it anymore! So there!

      Count me out!



      • Cajun Queen Says:

        I dunno if I’d agree with all the specific individual points cited in Matt D’s mini-essay. But yeah, I’d agree with the overall: I’ve always thought it never seemed like it was “about Julian” (or, at a minimum, only a very tricky or generous reading of the lines would let you think so) Maybe just the title word is all that relates.


        • James Says:

          I’ve always thought the song was about John–“The movement you need is on your shoulders” being Paul’s way of saying “Shake it off. Don’t carry that weight.” John got that immediately. Paul and Jane had just split. Perhaps, in a way, he was saying to John, “If I can make the transition, you can too.” Not foreseeing problems with Yoko, he may have also thought that she would help–his old friend seeming a little lost at the time.

          This doesn’t mean Paul’s story about “Hey Jules” being the initial conception is a lie, but the song ended up an encouragement to John, not his son. You can see how Paul wouldn’t want to be seen as championing John and Cynthia’s divorce–and it may not have been his intention.


      • Jim Mullahy Says:

        I think what Paul means is that the seed of the idea came to him through Julian’s situation. Thinking like the songwriter he is, Paul saw a situation and set it to words and music. After the first line, he took the song in a different direction, altogether.


    5. James Says:

      Great show. A side note on “Sisters O Sisters”—it could be read as avant, using the girl group formula to convey such sentiments. Also, I wish you’d get Adam Ippolito on the show. I’ve heard that he the arranger (uncredited) for much of the AIU material—much of which is great.


    6. Marshall Says:

      LOVE the production elements! More of that please! Well done.


    7. WingsFan2012 Says:

      Great single and hope it is on the possible 50th anniversary White Album box set next year!


    8. Aaron Snell Says:

      You guys asked about people who were present during the filming of the Hey Jude video as members of the crowd. My uncle was there, and you can see him at 6:30 here:


      (He’s the white-blond haired man in the bottom right corner who’s looking straight and the camera and bobbing his head from side to side.)

      The funny thing is, he didn’t really care for the Beatles, and doesn’t to this day (he’s from California and considers the Beach Boys to be the kings of the 60s). He only went to the filming because he happened to be bumming around London and they were pulling people in off the streets with the offer of a free meal. So he did it for the food, and the import of the experience was lost on him!


    9. Cajun Queen Says:

      In my mind Jude is the most important late-period duet (Together with Two of Us, of course) Jude is an insanely good pop song, partly because of the blending and interaction once Lennon joins in. I know most wouldn’t agree, but I myself wouldn’t love Jude nearly as much if Lennon wasn’t there.


    10. Cajun Queen Says:

      re: the Revolution promo video.
      yeah, I love it a lot, but no longer quite as much as I used to. When I look at it now, my first thought from top-of-head is “Geez, it’s too bad this is faked.”
      Or put another way: Just imagine if that performance was totally live: man, it would just blow your mind, huh.
      To give some benefit of the doubt, I suppose some part of the decision to mime the instruments was just a product of the times in the late 60s; maybe if they were taping that vid today, they would make a different decision on that.


    11. David M Says:

      Hey Jude is clearly one of their best moments, but I wouldn’t be too disappointed if I never heard it again.


    12. Craig Davison Says:

      Re: Paul Screaming for REVOLUTION video. Seems to me it was done to save John’s voice. Even on the record, John’s scream sounds “punched in.” Can’t imagine him screeching like that while cutting the vocal master. My theory, anyway.


    13. jeremy sams Says:

      There’s some really snazzy, almost Sondheimian rhyming going on in HJ. Paul niftily echoes the same words in the same place in each verse.’Don’t make it BAD, take a SAD song’. ‘Don’t be aFRAID, you were MADE to …” “Don’t let me DOWN, you have FOUNd her…”. Really neat. And actually, most impressively, hardly noticeable. He pulls similar tricks, even more slyly, in the beautiful Middle Eight of “The End of the End” – an intermittently gorgeous song from Memory almost Full….


    14. Pablo Ramon Says:

      Great show as always… I don’t understand Richard’s baseball analogy…when an umpire calls “time” on the batter?? Is that a thing?


    15. Joseph Dwyer Says:

      It’s a good point you make about Jagger’s birthday/Hey Jude acetate story. Given Jagger’s actual birthday is the 26th July and recording for Hey Jude didn’t start until the 29th July… although EMI would run off tapes on the nights session an acetate would take a bit longer. The source that story is Spanish Tony however. In regards to the Macca scream on the clip for Revolution, my take on it was it allowed John to play the lead guitar bit.


    16. bob Says:

      Can anyone identify the first version/outtake played on the podcast and where it can be had?


    17. Jeff Says:

      So I think what happened is Paul’s telling the truth that he came up with the idea for the song and maybe the opening line “Hey Jules, don’t make it bad, take a sad song, and make it better” something like that was initially inspired by Paul thinking about talking to little Julian about his parents split or at least going to visit him and Cynthia. I don’t doubt that.

      I think a bit later when Paul was really developing the song, other themes came into the picture and lines that probably pertain more to John/Yoko situation or even Paul himself became more dominant for the rest of the lyrics. But I believe that the initial inspiration was Paul wondering what he’s going to say to this little boy who’s dad just moved out.


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