26 August 1968- Hey Jude: You can’t make a single that long.’ Artist Paul McCartney’s handwritten lyrics to The Beatles’ hit song “Hey Jude” sold for 910,000 U.S.dollars on Friday,
A vintage bass drumhead with The Beatles’ logo that was used during the English band’s first North American tour in 1964 was another top item, selling for 200,000 U.S.dollars.
The items were among more than 250 items of Beatles memorabilia offered in an online auction by Julien’s Auctions to mark the 50th anniversary of the band’s breakup.
A drawing by John Lennon and wife Yoko Ono called Bagism, a term they coined to satirize stereotyping, sold for 93,750 U.S.dollars, while an ashtray used by the Fab Four’s drummer Ringo Starr at the Abbey Road recording studios in London fetched 32,500 U.S.dollars.
For Martin and the Beatles, the studio was dark the next day, as Lennon and McCartney worked at the latter’s Cavendish Avenue home, putting the finishing touches on a new composition titled “Hey Jude.”
As Ringo observed years later, nothing excited the group more than working on a great new track. Inspired by Paul’s recent visit with John’s son Julian, “Hey Jude” had single written all over it.
The band recorded six takes of the song during the ensuing rehearsal, with McCartney on piano and lead vocals and Lennon’s acoustic guitar, Harrison’s electric guitar, and Starr’s drums. By the time that Martin joined them at Abbey Road the next evening, “Hey Jude” was quickly taking shape as a Beatles song of inordinate length.
“In the case of ‘Hey Jude,’” George later recalled, “when we were recording the track, I thought that we had made it too long. It was very much a Paul song, and I couldn’t understand what he was on about by just going round and round the same thing. And of course, it does become hypnotic.” But even still, George could see the song’s obvious hit-making potential.
In situations such as the “Hey Jude” session, said Harrison, “Paul had fixed an idea in his brain as to how to record one of his songs. He wasn’t open to anybody else’s suggestions. After recording four takes, Martin and the bandmates selected take one as the best before calling it a night.
When they reconvened the next afternoon at Trident, the Beatles superimposed a number of overdubs to “Hey Jude,” including McCartney’s lead vocal and bass part, as well as three-part backing vocals from Lennon, McCartney, and Harrison. At that point, they were joined by Martin’s thirty-six-piece orchestra. “even when we’d finished, I was terrified because it was so darn long.”
After I timed it, I actually said ‘You can’t make a single that long.’ I was shouted down by the boys—not for the first time in my life—and John asked, ‘Why not?’ I couldn’t think of a good answer, really, except the pathetic one that disc jockeys wouldn’t play it.” And that’s when John played his trump card: “They will if it’s us,” he told the producer.
We asked how long a 45 could be. They said that four minutes was about all you could squeeze into the grooves before it seriously started to lose volume and everyone had to turn the sound up. But they did some very clever stuff, squeezing the bit that didn’t have to be loud, then allowing the rest more room. Somehow, they got seven minutes on there, which was quite an engineering feat.
Hey Jude – this is an excerpt from variety.com by steve-marinucci – to read full artcile click here Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin — The Later Years, 1966 – 2016” (Chicago Review Press) is author Kenneth Womack’s concluding book of his two-volume biography of the life of Sir George Martin. The second volume looks at Martin’s work with the Beatles in their later years .