- Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK
More from year 1968
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The “Hey Jude” film was to have its world premiere on September 8, 1968, on the TV show “Frost On Saturday“, presented by David Frost.
David Frost was present on this day in the studio, to film some sequences and let the spectators think this was a live recording at the time of the broadcast. It was also a nice trick to fool The Musicians’ Union, which had placed a ban on miming. In this regard, only The Beatles’ lead and backing vocals were recorded live and taped on top of the existing vocals on the track, to guard against mistakes.
Three takes of “Hey Jude” were filmed, the end result film using an edit of takes one and three.
As some point, The Beatles performed the “Frost On Saturday” theme tune, written by George Martin and titled “By George! It’s The David Frost Theme“. Afterwards, David Frost appeared to introduce the “Hey Jude” performance:
Beautiful. Absolute poetry. Welcome back to part three, as you can see, with the greatest tea-room orchestra in the world. Right? Beautiful, beautiful. Absolutely, beautiful. As you can see, making their first audience appearance for over a year, ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!David Frost
They also played an impromptu version of Elvis Presley’s “It’s Now Or Never“, but this was edited out of the broadcast.
For the “Revolution” clip, The Beatles overdubbed a new vocal track onto the studio version. It was broadcast on BBC’s Top Of The Pops, on September 19, 1968.
The two films were directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. The next time The Beatles would be at Twickenham Film Studios with Michael Lindsay-Hogg would be in January 1969 for the “Get Back” sessions.
From The Beatles Monthly Book, October 1968, N°63:
On previous occasions in the past year or two, The Beatles had made little films showing themselves recording, walking around and so forth with their record playing in the background. Naturally, some of these ran into trouble with the telly people because the fellows came pretty close to miming sometimes, and THAT is a terrible Deadly Sin so far as the unions are concerned. You are not allowed to mine to records on telly.
This time The Beatles decided to avoid all the problems by producing a full-scale LIVE performance, done in colour, at Twickenham Film Studios and intended for showing all over the world.
The day before Neil and Suzie got married at the end of August, I was asked to start making all the shooting arrangements with Michael Lindsay-Hogg, a television and film director who has been involved in plenty of big pop shows in the past.
It was Thursday night. By the following Wednesday we had to get together the technical crew, no less than 300 extras and a 36-piece orchestra. In between there was the August bank holiday week-end, which meant it was hard to get hold of half the people we needed to reach to set things up.
How did we get that code of 300 extras together? We got 20 students to distribute invitation leaflets for us. The result was that all sorts of walks of life were represented – postmen, railwaymen, teenagers, senior citizens. I recruited a bunch of Beatle people from outside the recording studio and told them they would be welcome to join us all at Twickenham and bring along a few mates.
Paul decided he would like a ‘twenties atmosphere at Twickenham so the musicians of the orchestra were dressed up in smart white tuxedos and colourful carnations for the occasion.
And very evident amongst the gathered – together 300 was old Billy from Soho. Billy is a real character. If you’ve walked around Wardour Street or Old Compton Street in Soho you may have seen him, possibly with a bottle on his head, selling or giving away flowers. And like as not, he will have pulled out a photograph he’s very proud of. It was taking months ago and shows him with The Beatles in a film cutting room – when the fellows editing “Magical Mystery Tour”. The photo went into the Daily Mirror at the time. So old Billy just had to be in on the “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” filming.
The Beatles arrived at Twickenham around lunchtime – 1:30 PM. The line-up was Paul, playing an upright piano, George on bass, John on guitar and Ringo on drums. PLUS the 36-piece orchestra PLUS 300 singing extras to join in the big build-up on “Hey Jude” towards the end of the number.
While lights and cameras were being set up, Paul entertained on the piano. He hadn’t really planned to do so, but old Billy came up on to the stage and yelled, “Come on, Paul, give us some of the goold old songs”. And Paul did just that!Mal Evans
Last updated on September 20, 2021
By George! It's The David Frost Theme
The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.
We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!
The fourth book of this critically acclaimed series, "The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)" captures The Beatles as they take the lessons of Sgt. Pepper forward with an ambitious double-album that is equally innovative and progressive. From the first take to the final remix, discover the making of the greatest recordings of all time. Through extensive, fully-documented research, these books fill an important gap left by all other Beatles books published to date and provide a unique view into the recordings of the world's most successful pop music act.
If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.