Sunday, July 1, 2018

Hey Jude

We have striven over the years for the Zen of continuity here at AM, each article leading to the next, but then, it's the anniversary of this or that or someone dies who disconcertingly has nothing to do with the topic of the day – and so our posts are not always as fluid as we’d like. How to associate Kate Bush with the Beatles, then, on the 50th anniversary of "Hey Jude" leads to a bit of a stretch. The obvious Beatles' influence over the young Kate notwithstanding, I could only find this from the BBC in 1984 that truly associates Kate with The Beatles:

This is Radio One, on new year's eve. And we're playing Kate Bush's favorite songs of all time, and here's one by John Lennon, who was killed in the most appalling way earlier this month, and Kate I'm wondering if you are too young at the age of twenty-two to have fully understood what all of the media fuss was about. So many people were affected so traumatically for so long. Could you really understand what Lennon and the Beatles meant to them?

Yes, absolutely! I think probably people of about sixteen or seventeen, that's the age where it wouldn't really mean that much. But even at my age they really meant so much. I wasn't aware of them first happening and then being the "new thing" but I was aware of them as the most incredible source, and of Lennon being the most fantastic songwriter. He really was one of my favorite artists - not as The Beatles, but as Lennon. And in fact, in compiling this list a couple of months ago, before the news, I'd chosen this track as one of my favorites. So it wasn't meant as a tribute, it was genuinely planned as one of the tracks.

Why this of all his songs?

For me, it's just magic. Um, his voice; the production - it's the most incredible production; uh, little backward voices. They're really things that I love. And just, the song and everything - it's wonderful. And I - I'm really sad because he's left the biggest hole in the business that we've known yet, I think.

Here's John Lennon's "Number Nine Dream." [The record is played. In AM’s opinion, there is no single record that Kate's music reflects the influence of more clearly than this track. All references to Peter Gabriel's influence, or Pink Floyd’s - even as regards production - pale beside a comparative listening between "Number Nine Dream'' and any of a dozen of Kate's recordings.]

Kate, the time has now come for me to spring on you that question: What is your all-time favorite single?

My all-time favorite single. Very, very difficult question, it really is, because just, just trying to compare songs, you know, let alone trying to put one higher than all the others... I think I would say at this point in time John Lennon's "Number Nine Dream'' - for lots of reasons. [We never get those reasons.]

That's it; all we've got. Kate's favorite all time song is "Number Nine Dream." Oh, well, there's that at least, so, on to "Hey Jude."

The Beatles spent two days in July 1968 at Abbey Road Studio Two (EMI) rehearsing "Hey Jude" (AM10) a song written by McCartney for Julian Lennon upon his parent's marital breakup (Paul subsequently changed the name from Jools to Jude). During that period a rough mix was recorded so that George Martin could write an orchestral accompaniment. On July 31st, the group left Abbey Road, which was still equipped with only a four-track recording deck, and went to Trident Studios with it's new eight track capabilities. Although they recorded four takes, they decided the first of the day was best and began overdubbing. "Hey Jude" came together the next day, with the bass and final vocals recorded in the afternoon and a 36-piece orchestra recorded in the evening. Many of the musicians stayed well into the night to add hand claps and background vocals to the coda, though one musician stated that he didn't want to "clap hands and sing on Paul McCartney’s bloody song." Within the week, mono and stereo mixes were completed. Only Brian Wilson had ever utilized more studio time for the creation of a single (over 90 hours of recorded material exists for "Good Vibrations; some 65 hours for the completion of "Hey Jude").

Despite the meticulous nature of the recording, at the 2:59 mark, the phrase, “Fucking hell!’ is audible, following the the word, "Chord." The obscenity was included, though buried deep within the mix.

Despite the song's 7:11 running time (which was unprecedented for a single), "Hey Jude" became a smash hit upon its worldwide release — the first on the Beatles' Apple label — at the end of August. It stayed at No. 1 in the U.S. for nine weeks. It didn't have a bad B side either in "Revolution;" the superior up-tempo version helped to make this one of the biggest selling double-A sided singles of all time. "Hey Jude" is the song most often referred to in literature; "Elenore Rigby" holds the No. 2 position.

Written by: Lennon-McCartney (Credited)
Recorded: 29-31 July, 1 August 1968
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Ken Scott, Barry Sheffield
Released: 30 August 1968 (UK), 26 August 1968 (US)
Paul McCartney: vocals, piano, bass
John Lennon: backing vocals, acoustic guitar
George Harrison: backing vocals, electric guitar
Ringo Starr: backing vocals, drums, tambourine
Uncredited: 10 violins, 3 violas, 3 cellos, 2 double basses, 2 flutes, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 1 bassoon, 1 contrabassoon, 4 trumpets, 2 horns, 4 trombones, percussion

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