The A-side of the second Beatles' single of 1968 was a definite masterpiece. This was the Beatles most successful single in their career (chart wise and volume wise). The song is an original Lennon/McCartney composition written mainly by Paul entitled "Hey Jude". This song was inspired by John Lennon's son Julian as Paul was driving out to John's home in order to console Julian and his mother Cynthia after the break up of John and Cynthia Lennon. The song title was sung as "Hey Jules" but was changed to "Hey Jude".
This single was also the first Beatles single released on their own Apple label. The A-side featured a whole Granny Smith Apple while the B-side of the label would featured half of a Granny Smith Apple. The label was designed by Gene Mahon. The vinyl format (45/EP and LP) were released on the original Apple Records label from 1968 until the end of 1975. The label once again became active in the early 1990s and the Apple label is now featured on many of the Beatles issues including LPs, CDs, DVDs, etc.
"Hey Jude" was recorded during the White Album sessions but was always intended as a contender for the single. It is also their longest single at over seven minutes.
The first recording session for "Hey Jude" took place on Monday July 29 1968 at EMI studio two. Six takes of the song were recorded. The instrumentation for these takes included Paul on piano and voice, John on acoustic, George on electric and Ringo on the drums. The complete takes of the song were on takes one, two and six. Take two of the song at this stage can be heard on the Apple/EMI/Capitol 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3".
The next day on Tuesday July 30 1968, more takes of "Hey Jude" were performed and this time the location of the recordings were at Trident Studios in St. Anne's Court, London. These takes ranged from take 7 to take 25. The specifics included a film crew being hired to film the Beatles recording the song although at this stage it sounds as if the Beatles are simply rehearsing the song. The instrumentation for this evening includes Paul on voice and piano, John on acoustic guitar and Ringo on drums. George had no role but was present in the control room as can be seen in the film. Some of the takes from this evening appear on Yellow Dog's "Unsurpassed Masters" series...namely volumes four and six. A stereo mix of the last take was completed and given to George Martin (probably for the orchestra arrangement).
The next day on Wednesday July 31 1968, the Beatles essentially started the song from scratch and recorded the basic track on this evening. Once again the song was recorded at Trident Studios. This was an eight track recording rather than using the four track at EMI. This instrumentation consisted of Paul on piano and guide vocal, John on acoustic and Ringo on drums . Take one was used for the commercial version.
The next day on August 01 1968, and again at Trident Studios, overdubs for the commercial recording of "Hey Jude" were completed. Paul added his bass guitar and his fresh vocals while John and George added background vocals. Also added this evening were the orchestra and the sing-along at the end with handclaps performed by the orchestra members.
The next day on Friday August 02 1968 the song was mixed for stereo from the control room at Trident Studios. It took three attempts and the last attempt was deemed as best.
"Hey Jude" was mixed for mono at Trident Studios on August 06 1968 from the control room but this mix was not used as it was simply a fold down of the stereo mix.
On August 07 1968, it was back to EMI studio two where a tape copy of the Trident mono mix was completed.
On August 08 1968, proper mono mixes (three attempts) continued from the control room of EMI studio two and the last one was deemed for the commerical version and the single. A tapy copy was made and given to George Martin.
On December 05 1969, proper stereo mixes were conducted from room 4 of EMI studios and two attempts were made. The mixes made at Trident were not used in the end.
"Hey Jude" was originally released as single in the UK (Apple R 5722) and in North America (Apple 2276). The song is also available on the North American Apple LP "Hey Jude/The Beatles Again" as well as the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles 1967-1970". It is also contained on the EMI/Capitol UK and North American version of "The Beatles 20 Greatest Hits" as well as being contained on the EMI/Capitol of Canada LP "The Beatles Ballads" and also on the Beatles EMI/Capitol 2-LP/CD "Past Masters Volume 2" and the Apple/EMI/Capitol 2-LP/CD "1". Finally, it can be found on the remastered Apple/EMI 2-CD "Mono Masters" as well as the remastered Apple/ EMI 2-CD "Past Masters"