- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Hey Jude / Revolution 7" Single.
- EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road
More from year 1968
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On this day, The Beatles continued working on “Hey Jude“, which was rehearsed the day before. They recorded seventeen takes (numbered takes 7-23). At the end of the session, two tape reductions were created, and a rough stereo mix was made so that George Martin could work on the song’s orchestral score, which would be recorded some days later at Trident Studios. But in the end, none of the work produced on this day would be used; and The Beatles would restart from scratch the day after when they moved to Trident.
During the session, The Beatles played an impromptu version of “St. Louis Blues“, which was released on the 50th Anniversary White Album box set in 2018. They also played a version of Ray Charles’ “Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying“.
A film crew from The National Music Council of Great Britain was present in the studio, to capture footage for a documentary named “Music!“. The documentary was released in theatres in October 1969 in the UK (as an accompanying film for Mel Brooks’ “The Producers“) and was shown on US TV, on February 22, 1970. It contains two segments from this “Hey Jude” session and shows the band working mostly on Take 9, with Paul McCartney on vocals and piano, John Lennon playing an acoustic guitar and singing, and Ringo Starr on drums.
The film crew was supposed to work in such a way that no one would realize they were there, but of course, they were getting in everyone’s way and everyone was getting uptight about it.Ken Scott, Engineer
In the film, it can be noted that George Harrison was in the studio control room, with George Martin and recording engineer Ken Scott. At the beginning of the session, Harrison and McCartney had a heated disagreement over the lead guitar part for the song.
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 realize 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 – From “Many Years From Now” by Barry Miles, 1997
[George] wanted to do 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.Paul McCartney – 1985 interview
An awful lot has been written about the Beatles being at odds with each other the entire time they were recording the White Album, but that to me is completely false. […] You’ve got to take into consideration, they were working on that album for close to six months, and there isn’t a project I have worked on — even a two-week project — where at some point someone hasn’t lost their temper. So, spread that over six months and it’s going to happen a few times. But I repeat, it wasn’t that bad. And there were also outside influences that people don’t take into consideration. We were working on ‘Hey Jude’, and the first night, when everyone was up and the Beatles were still sorting out the arrangement, a couple of guys came by the studio because the next night there was going to be a film crew coming in for a documentary [Music!] being made by the National Music Council of Great Britain. ‘Don’t worry,’ they told us. ‘We’ll be in tomorrow but you won’t know we’re here.’ Yeah, right.
The next night, the film crew came in and of course they were in everyone’s faces. Well, there ended up being a huge row between George and Paul — George was playing a guitar phrase that responded to each of Paul’s vocal lines and Paul vetoed it. However, this wasn’t because the band members weren’t getting along; it was because the outside sources were putting everyone on edge, someone was going to blow his top and it just happened to be those two.Ken Scott – From The Beatles ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ (soundonsound.com)
The day after, the Beatles would continue working on “Hey Jude” from Trident Studios.
Last updated on September 5, 2021
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.