Sunday Spin: Hey Jude


40 years ago yesterday, Paul McCartney and John Lennon put the final touches on "Hey Jude." Within a month the song, the first single on the newly formed Apple Records, was number one on the U.S. charts, where it remained for nine straight weeks. Written to comfort Julian Lennon during John's divorce to Cynthia Lennon, "Hey Jude" is both deeply simple and a spot of grandeur that pop doesn't often muster. The single has sold over eight million copies since 1968, and myriad artists have covered it with varying degrees of success. Like some tin pan alley "Amazing Grace," the tune touches some deeply shared part of us, some pain or longing or loss we all share in our own way, and Lord knows we always need songs that can do that.

Here's the original '60s promo film with The Beatles just before the moustache years.

Hugh Laurie does his Alvin-esque rendition of the song on A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Silly stuff that could probably get his medical license pulled.

During this short "Hey Jude" rehearsal outtake (the track went through 25 takes), George Harrison distils the expansive, enduring nature of The Beatles music in a sentence or two. Watch for it about a minute in.

The Across The Universe version has staging oddly reminiscent of Monty Python's "Every Sperm Is Sacred" from Meaning of Life. Go figure.

Finally, Wilson Pickett and The Bee Gees take us to church with this funky lil' '70s romp through "Jude."

[Published on: 7/27/08]

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acomma Sun 7/27/2008 04:35PM
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Wouldn't it be 40 years?

Tenz Sun 7/27/2008 04:48PM
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acomma couldn't be more correct. it even says that it has sold over 8 million copies since 1968

snappy Sun 7/27/2008 06:15PM
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Editor note: that one was a pure typo. Sorry. Fixed.

iwantstogetfunkedup Sun 7/27/2008 07:51PM
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Damn, Wilson Pickett is the man!! Not too sure about the Bee Gees, but I enjoyed the clip anyway...

PunkJazz Sun 7/27/2008 09:09PM
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what about the version from the royal tenembaums?

C00lmike Mon 7/28/2008 12:14AM
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Wow. Nice alvin-style 'Hey Jude' House M.D.

C00lmike Mon 7/28/2008 12:25AM
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Also, just watched the last clip, and I am in full agreement with funkedup, Wilson Pickett is the man

Chaloupka starstarstarstarstar Mon 7/28/2008 07:58AM
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That dude from the Bee Gees has maybe the sweetest hair I've ever seen!

Nice clips tho.

SCIRGR84EVS Mon 7/28/2008 08:22AM
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seek out the Wicked Pickett studio version of Hey Jude, ft Duane Allman's finest guitar work in his short but illustrious career. It was Duane who recommended that Wilson put down Hey Jude and it became one of his biggest hits. The band hits that coda with purpose - shame, they just don't make em these days like they did back at Mussel Shoals. rest peacefully brer duane.

SCIRGR84EVS Mon 7/28/2008 08:22AM
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and same to wilson... forgot that he left us too.

salmon401 Mon 7/28/2008 10:13AM
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The Wilson Pickett version was fun despite the Bee Gees, although the best part might be the very end when Wolfman Jack comes out and does a belly flop on Wilson Pickett. How totally random is that?

philhitz Mon 7/28/2008 01:17PM
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great tune for the beatles - but by far the worst cover by the grateful dead ever -- don't believe me - check out the fillmore east '69 release

Flat5 Mon 7/28/2008 10:13PM
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"No, it doesn't go like that it goes like that. But it goes like that and it goes through everything..." wow

CircleLimit starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/29/2008 11:57AM
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SCIRGR84EVS, you're right, Duane Allman's session work was excellent. On the studio version of Wilson Pickett's "Hey Jude" cover, Duane comes flying in at the coda. I read that Eric Clapton heard that track and had to know who was playing lead guitar immediately. That led to their collaboration on Derek & The Dominoes' "Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs". Nice clips!