Recording "Hey Jude"

Monday, July 29, 1968 • For The Beatles

Part of

"The Beatles" (aka the White Album) sessions

May 30 - Oct 18, 1968 • Songs recorded during this session appear on The Beatles (Mono)

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Hey Jude / Revolution 7" Single.
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

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There was no session on Friday, July 26, as Paul McCartney and John Lennon finished writing “Hey Jude“, as reported by The Beatles Monthly Book, September 1968, N°62:

On Friday, July 26, John and Paul spent most of the day at Paul’s house putting the final touches to their latest composition, “Hey Jude”. The following Monday evening at EMI they began to rehearse it with George and Ringo.

Mal Evans

Paul McCartney in "Many Years From Now", by Barry Miles:

I finished it all up in Cavendish and I was in the music room upstairs when John and Yoko came to visit and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing up, listening to it as I played it to them, and when I got to the line, ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder,’ I looked over my shoulder and I said, ‘I’ll change that, it’s a bit crummy. I was just blocking it out,’ and John said, ‘You won’t, you know. That’s the best line in it!’ That’s collaboration. When someone’s that firm about a line that you’re going to junk, and he said, ‘No, keep it in.’ So of course you love that line twice as much because it’s a little stray, it’s a little mutt that you were about to put down and it was reprieved and so it’s more beautiful than ever. I love those words now…

Time lends a little credence to things. You can’t knock it, it just did so well. But when I’m singing it, that is when I think of John, when I hear myself singing that line; it’s an emotional point in the song.

On this day, July 29, The Beatles started recording “Hey Jude“, which would become the A-side of their next single (The B-side, “Revolution“, had been recorded in July).

The session lasted from 8:30 pm to 4:00 am. George Martin did not attend it, and this was the first Beatles session for engineer John Smith.

Six takes of “Hey Jude” were recorded, but overall those were more rehearsals than proper attempts. Only Take 1, 2 and 6 were complete takes. Take 1 was released on The Beatles reissue in 2018. Take 2, faded out at 4’17”, was released on Anthology 3 in 1996.

Live-in-the-studio outtake. While the master version – issued at the end of August 1968 – was long and lavish, this studio run-through of Hey Jude, taped four days earlier, is comparatively abbreviated and purposely stripped-down: live piano and vocal from Paul, live drums, acoustic and electric guitars. The take begins in a jestful manner: John speaks of “the heart of the Black country”, the name of the old smoke-stack industrial region in the middle of England, and Paul responds with a mention of Boston Place, a small London street where the Beatles’ company Apple had just installed an electronics laboratory. (Also, the Beatles had been filmed running along Boston Place for the title sequence of A Hard Day’s Night.)

From the liner notes of Anthology 3

At this stage, the lyrics were not final, and one can notice variations compared to the final recording (“She has found you now go and get her” would become “You have found her now go and get her“; “Remember to let her into you heart” would become “Remember to let her under your skin” in the latest verse).

The Beatles would continue working on “Hey Judeon the next day.

From Twitter – Paul outside Trident Studios, London, 1968. Photo by Linda McCartney #ThrowbackThursday #TBT

Last updated on September 19, 2021

Songs recorded


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 1

Album Officially released on The Beatles (50th anniversary boxset)


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 2

Album Officially released on Anthology 3


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 3


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 4


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 5


Hey Jude

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Recording • Take 6


Musicians on "Hey Jude"

Paul McCartney:
Vocal, Piano
Ringo Starr:
John Lennon:
Acoustic guitar
George Harrison:
Electric guitar

Production staff

Ken Scott:
John Smith:
Second Engineer

Going further

The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

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!

Shop on Amazon

The Beatles Recording Reference Manual: Volume 4: The Beatles through Yellow Submarine (1968 - early 1969)

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.

Shop on Amazon

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.

Read more on The Beatles Bible


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