Aug 06

THE BEATLES – “Hey Jude”

FT + Popular95 comments • 15,439 views

#258, 14th September 1968

Great sleeve though!There’s a little to admire about “Hey Jude” but almost nothing to love. For a start, it’s far too long: the most obvious of criticisms, yes, but the last two or so minutes of the coda are pure baggage, the sound of a band imposing themselves just because they can. The song comes from the start of the Apple period, in fact it helped launch the boutique label: that may explain why they wanted to get something Big onto the market, but the length of “Hey Jude” just wastes its expertly constructed build-up. It’s also from the era when Paul McCartney was trying hard to persuade the Beatles back on the road – for a non-touring outfit to invent the lighters-out stadium ballad is ironic, if not cruel. McCartney’s excruciatingly well-drilled “Joo-joo-judy-jude” yowls as the coda starts give some hint of how lucky the world was that the other three resisted his plans.

Lop the end in half and the rest isn’t so bad. “Hey Jude” crystallises a lot of familiar Beatley themes – you’re not alone, you don’t have to be ashamed of needing help, some of that help is best found in a huge great singalong. The track has undeniable weight but I always feel a little sorry for Jude, who starts off getting an avuncular chat and ends up squeezed in the world’s biggest bear hug. The song is at its prettiest and most effective when it’s at its most conversational – “Hey Jude, you’ll do” – but that delicate balance of intimacy and inclusiveness doesn’t last. If you’re looking for a Beatles singalong, “Yellow Submarine” is catchier, funnier, less bludgeoning and more adaptable.



  1. 1
    Tom on 29 Aug 2006 #

    That bloody tambourine can get lost too.

  2. 2
    Tom on 29 Aug 2006 #

    Also, before anyone calls me on it, factual inaccuracy alert: “Hey Jude” WASN’T the first single on Apple, but it was meant to be.

  3. 3
    Steve Mannion on 29 Aug 2006 #

    I prefer the Jose Ferrante version.

  4. 4
    blount on 29 Aug 2006 #

    i prefer the anthony michael hall version.

    their biggest hit (by far i think) in the states and when i was a kid at least well known as such, their towering unending monolith. very possibly their worst single with very possibly their best single on the flip, and in the states it was a double-a though a lopsided one i’m sure.

    ‘hey dude’>’hey jude’

  5. 5
    Tom on 29 Aug 2006 #

    Yes, not a double-A in the UK.

    I suspect it’s not their worst single, unfortunately.

  6. 6
    jeff w on 29 Aug 2006 #

    This is the classic song to do the “i prefer the [x] version” to, because so many people tried it.

    It’s not in the same league as Yesterday as far as sheer numbers of cover versions goes, but it’s one of the half dozen Beatles tunes that was quickly assimilated into the popular song repertoire.

    And it’s one of the more interesting cases to study, because of the length and structure of The Beatles version. (Also IMHO because the original’s so awful, for the reasons Tom points out.) What to DO with the lengthy coda was the challenge for arrangers. Some make light of it or fade it early to achieve “normal” pop song length, others (particular those doing instrumental covers) push it further than even McCartney does, beyond mere singalong Jam into the improvisational, making it the centrepiece of their cover.

    Latest discovery to leave me gobsmacked: The Temptations’ version from ’69. Starts with a boogie woogie piano riff and scarcely gets any more reverent thereafter.

  7. 7
    Doctor Mod on 29 Aug 2006 #

    OK, but what was the first Apple single? If I were to take a guess, was it something early by Badfinger (then the Iveys?) Mary Hopkin? Jackie Lomax? Doris Troy? James Taylor?

    But seriously, I think Tom is quite right about the context (i.e., the state of the Beatles at that moment) and I think the strain is quite evident in the performance–the occasional bit of backing vocal from John and George sounds as if both were utterly bored and vaguely going through the motions. The is also the story of the “White Album” that followed soon after–a few stunning gems and a lot of throwaway stuff from people who could no longer get along with each other. (And I’m not entirely taking John’s side against Paul–“Revolution #9” is mildly provocative but ultimately unlistenable.)

    And, as with “Hello Goodbye,” the flip side (John’s side) was the much superior recording. Too bad we aren’t discussing “Revolution” instead–now that was a recording worth talking about. It was a double-A side here in the States, “Revolution” being an apt evocation of the zeitgeist here–and elsewhere, I assume. It was a rare show of fireworks in their late period, and it actually had something to say that was worth saying.

    I still play “Revolution” for my own pleasure and enjoyment now and then, but not “Hey Jude”–though I’m more apt to hear the latter as background music in some public place these days. Too, too long and repetitive (not to mention a bit lugubrious)–but one must remember that such concerns don’t matter when you’ve smoked a lot of pot, and a lot of pot got smoked in those days. By my own admission, I can recall feeling that it was somehow really “heavy” when under said influence. And we ALL sang along, “na-na-na-na hey Jude!” Now I think that it paved the way for such self-indulgences as the fifteen-minute free-form drum solos that became mainstays of stadium rock–and one really has to be stoned to enjoy that–all of which seems, well, quite silly these days to everyone except certain middle-aged male academic rock-critics.

    There were, alas, worms in the Apple from the very inception. So sad, because the whole project had the potential for being great.

    And you’re right again, Tom. I wasn’t the worst–that one’s yet to come.

  8. 8
    Andrew Hickey on 29 Aug 2006 #

    Of course, Hey Jude does have the great moment where John hits completely the wrong note and mumbles ‘fuckin’ hell’…
    And I doubt very much that it’s coincidence that Hey Jude is exactly 1 second longer than Macarthur Park, which had recently come out and was the longest single ever released at the time…

  9. 9
    Klepsydra on 29 Aug 2006 #

    ‘Hey Jude’ had the Granny Smiths label but Parlophone made them give it a Parlophone number, the blue big meanies.

    Hence there was no ‘Apple 1’.

    Apple 2 was Mary Hopkin’s “Those Were The Days”, 3 was Jackie Lomax’s “Sour Milk Sea”, 4 was the Black Dyke Mills Band with “Thingumybob” (sic). After that it all got a bit mad…

  10. 10
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 29 Aug 2006 #

    i heart mary hopkin!! also i heart the lovely green apple!! that is all i have to contribute here

    except to note that there is a ptee-style joke to be made out of “black dyke mills band” but LUCKILY I AM NOT PTEE

  11. 11
    Doctor Casino on 30 Aug 2006 #

    I suppose there’s not too much point to chiming in with a defense of “Hey Jude” here – y’all have heard it all before, and perhaps there’s something to the project of trying to thoroughly articulate an often-expressed irritation with a sacred cow. But really, come on, “Hey Jude” is lovely. It got picked up by so many others not because of the singalong but because of two things essential to any lounge act/Piano Man type:
    1) it’s really, really easy to play and sing at the same time (see also “Imagine”)
    2) the melody is absolutely fantastic. Gliding, sweet, tender, and very enjoyable to sing. Certainly it’s among McCartney’s best in this regard.

    #1 probably has little bearing on whether it’s a good song or not, but I feel like #2 counts for a lot, especially as in this recording McCartney delivers it perfectly. It would be easy – especially for Paul McCartney, to really ham up the sentiment of this song, as perhaps he does in the singalong section. But for the real meat of the song, he sells it in an IMO very convincing way. It just sounds like he really cares about Jude.

    And, really, I do think it’s unfair to hate on any song for what it might have inspired. Bad drum solos and singalong jams of the future aside, the merits of this singalong jam are really quite considerable. If you really like “Yellow Submarine”‘s better, that’s fine, but placed on the overall scale of such things, I say this beats “All Around The World” – but I imagine we’ll find out when you reach that taut little ditty!

  12. 12
    Doctor Mod on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Doctor Casino,

    I never said I “hated” “Hey Jude”–it is simply that, in retrospect, I realize that it isn’t all that some of us thought it was in 1968. I don’t think it has aged well. It might have aged better if it hadn’t droned on repetitively at the for four minutes at the end.

    And, as Tom said, it certainly wasn’t the worst Beatles number 1–but it certainly wasn’t the best. Then, on the other hand, it was surely far, far better than most of McCartney’s post-Beatles work. The other three were there to offer some sort of checks and balances on Paul’s excesses.

    P.S. The final sentence in my previous post should have read “It [not “I”] wasn’t the worst–that one’s yet to come.”

  13. 13
    Tom on 30 Aug 2006 #

    If it wasn’t for the fade it would have scored higher, definitely. The version I have on the CDs I made at the start of the project cuts off at about 4’30” and listening to that I found myself warming to the song. But the long version was the single version here, so there it is.

    And I don’t think I’m giving a huge amount away if I say that, even though I don’t mark a song until I finish a review, “All Around The World” will almost certainly get less than this does.

    The single that actually broke “Hey Jude”‘s ‘longest #1’ record in the UK though was “I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)” by Meat Loaf.

  14. 14
    Tom on 30 Aug 2006 #

    The “Yellow Sub” comment is partly based on the (second-hand) empirical evidence of football terrace chants, where it beats “Hey Jude” comfortably! (But also see my Eleanor Rigby review for why I think YS is better too.)

  15. 15
    Tim Hopkins on 30 Aug 2006 #

    “Hey Jude” remains popular on the (now largely proverbial) terraces, though, though as far as I know only the la-la singalong bit. As in: “la la la LALALA laaa, LALALA laaa, Ci-ty” etc etc.

  16. 16
    Pete Baran on 30 Aug 2006 #

    This was one of the five singles my parent bought I believe, and I was allowed to play with it on the old dansette as a kid. Therefore
    a) I always believed Revolution was the A-side (it was clearly better)
    b) In my neophyte scratching days, Hey Jude got a lot of needle abuse.

    Am I right in thinking that Hey Jude is a song for/about Julia(n) Lennon? And as a Macca composition it then takes on a wee bit of snide?

    Also Hey Jude is clearly responsible for Imagine in my book, maybe Lennon trying to get his own back vis a vis the piss easy plinky-plonker.

  17. 17
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 30 Aug 2006 #

    i think it is written to julian lennon’s SON!! it is dynastic encouragement even unto the third pop generation: “take a sad song and make it better” = even tho yr dad (ie julian) is going to be a RUBBISH POP STAR you in yr turn will possibly not be so bad

  18. 18
    Erithian on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Yes, it was addressed to Julian, and I think even Lennon was prepared to take it at face value, so why shouldn’t we?

    I agree with the points about the second half of the song. Someone once described it as “a three-minute song with a four-minute fadeout” which sums it up (maybe someone with a stopwatch can establish whether T Rex’s “Hot Love” has similar proportions!) Sadly the point about the stadium ballad was emphasised at Live 8 when the end-of-show singalong dispensed with any of the song and just cut to the “na-na-na’s”. Now if only “Let It Be” had worked at Live Aid…

    (Obscurity corner: “Sour Milk Sea”, the George Harrison song released as Apple 3 – referred to above – was later the name of a band which recruited a young Freddie Bulsara (aka Mercury) in 1970.)

  19. 19
    Tom on 30 Aug 2006 #

    The monster fade-out in “Hot Love” I think is awesome and I look forward to explaining why!

  20. 20
    Doctor Mod on 30 Aug 2006 #

    I was going to mention the Julian Lennon connection. I’ve heard this, too, but the “you have found her, go out and get her” and “let her under your skin” do seem odd bits of advice to a five-year-old whose Mum and Dad are splitting for well-publicized reasons.

    I’ve also heard Macca say in an interview that he wrote the song as sort of a self-affirmation in pursuing Linda Eastman. (But if he were really attempting to succour Julian and Cynthia, is it fair to ask what ever happened to Jane Asher? Hmmmm…..)

    As to the snide, well the tripe-slinging between those two surely had a long, occasionally amusing, and generally embarassing history post-split, inspiring:

    Too Many People (Macca)
    How Do You Sleep (Lennon)–invective par excellence!
    Silly Love Songs (Macca)

    Anyone care to add more?

    Lennon eventually gave us “Working Class Hero” and “Imagine” among others. McCartney eventually gave us “Hands Across the Water” and “High High High.”

    Maybe it was really George who came out of the fray the most intact?

  21. 21
    Tom on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Macca’s towering post-Beatles achievement is the “reggae bit” in Live And Let Die, which is the single greatest pop moment any post-Beatle put to tape and one of the most startling and life-affirming incidents in 70s pop!

  22. 22
    Marcello Carlin on 30 Aug 2006 #

    I think you’re mixing up the “reggae bit” in Live And Let Die with the moment when Jack Nitzsche’s strings surge into Ringo’s “Photograph.”

  23. 23
    Marcello Carlin on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Ringo of course being the one who came out most intact. Thomas the Tank Engine and Barbara Bach…who could truly ask for more?

  24. 24
    Brian on 30 Aug 2006 #

    I’ve always understood that the song was for Julian Lennon. I met him once over fish n’ chips – nice bloke. Didn’t ask him about this though. He was pushing ” Valotte” at the time.

    But with some of Macca’s contributions around this time I think that he knew it was over and was looking to write the Beatles swan song. Long & Winding Road particularily. And this would be typical of Macca’s modus operendi as the music hall master ( aka Sgt Pepper ) , it’s a reoccurring theme for him. The big closing number which he was able to realize on Abbey Road.

    I think a lot of the same criticism levied ” All You Need Is Love ” can be applied to the long fade/sing along . Shooting for mass appeal and trying to send a message of encouragement to the world. And on that level it obviously works, hence its popularity.

  25. 25
    Marcello Carlin on 30 Aug 2006 #

    It might be considered Paul’s more “realistic” response to John’s “All You Need Is Love.” Certainly the long fadeout suggests the end of something, as does the promo film they did where whatever passers-by they could drag in from the streets of Twickenham crowd around the band, and finally obscure them altogether.

  26. 26
    Doctor Casino on 30 Aug 2006 #

    (But if he were really attempting to succour Julian and Cynthia, is it fair to ask what ever happened to Jane Asher? Hmmmm…..)

    Ask “I’m Looking Through You,” I think…

    As for Jude – I hope my comments didn’t come off as particularly hostile to Tom or Doc Mod, as I love these discussions in general! And, for the record, I also love “All Around the World,” although that one is squarely in guilty pleasure territory, whereas I really do think “Hey Jude” is good. :) And “Hi Hi Hi” for that matter, so perhaps I’m just coming at this from a whole different musical ballgame.

    Tripe-slinging between these two […] Anyone care to add more?

    “Dear Friend” on Wild Life is Macca’s response to “How Do You Sleep,” I think. And of course he has a (slightly schmaltzy) John eulogy song on Tug of War, “Here Today.”

    As for Julian – I get the impression Macca visited Julian, started thinking about what a bummer of a situation that was, started writing a song about him (purportedly originally titled “Hey Jules”), and found he could hammer words into it better if he abandoned the little kid. At least the guy knows where his strengths are, eh?

  27. 27
    Marcello Carlin on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Oh, and of course it’s the first number one with swearing on it – John drops his guitar during the final verse and is clearly heard yelling “Oh…fucking hell!” in the background.

  28. 28
    blount on 30 Aug 2006 #

    my understanding is originally written for julian as ‘chin up lad’ encouragement, reworked by neccessity into pop context (though seemingly ‘oi kid don’t let yr parents’ divorce get you down’ would seemingly be a marketable message, esp at this point judging by whichever/whenever song tom carmodized re: divorce rates earlier)(this has been tapped in movies obv and kiddie selfhelp books no doubt but are there any big hit songs aimed at this?), with john then thinking it applied to his end of the situation (understandably w/ ‘you have found her/go out and git r (done)’). question for the sunshine boys: how immediate was the backlash to john+yoko? i always think of it as primarily post-bag-ins/two virgins and amping up post-breakup, yet he’s clearly feeling heat by this point i guess. and is ‘we love you’:’all you need is love’::’you can’t always get what you want’:’hey jude’ (probably not)?

  29. 29
    Ward Fowler on 30 Aug 2006 #

    I have always ‘read’ the fade as Paul’s – possible – response to, and emulation of, minimalism (eg ‘droning on repetitively’, as Doctor Mod puts its above). The Beatles/Epstein/Velvet Underground connection is well known, as is Macca’s cutting edge/avant-garde credentials (this is, after all, the man who played an Albert Ayler rec to a horrified George Martin at a dinner party – it doesn’t seem that much a stretch for McCartney to also be aware of LaMonte Young.)

  30. 30
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 30 Aug 2006 #

    i think the public backlash was pretty immediate — i seem to recall in shout! there’s a description of gangs psychotic girlfans staking out abbey road (philip norman’s attitude to yoko is not much more elevated, mind you)

    i could look it up even but it would mean going four feet across the room!!

  31. 31
    Tom on 30 Aug 2006 #

    My only problem w/that reading Ward is that it’s Macca who disrupts the transcendent drone effects with his bloody shouting about judy-judy-judy.

    Unless maybe he knew about LaMonte Young AND HATED HIM!

  32. 32
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 30 Aug 2006 #

    lamonte young meets cary grant!

  33. 33
    Doctor Casino on 30 Aug 2006 #

    My only problem w/that reading Ward is that it’s Macca who disrupts the transcendent drone effects with his bloody shouting about judy-judy-judy.

    But that’s the genius, right? The tension between a boy schooled on Little Richard and a man looking up to Young? (Not that I know who LaMonte Young is, mind you.) I infinitely prefer this type of thing to “All You Need Is Love”‘s turgid, wheezy repetition (where, again, McCartney is trying to interject some sort of liveliness with his “All together now!”s and so forth). The whole world can sit on a hill, sing “na na na” and buy itself a Coke, but to keep it from just being one long, dreamy, listless smoke-out there needs to be somebody leaping around on speed, inflaming the passions.

  34. 34
    wwolfe on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Well, I’m going to cast a lonely vote for thoroughly enjoying the long fade-out. Paul’s vocal interjections, Ringo’s drum fills, the sound of George’s rhythm guitar and the way he strums it, the slow build of the orchestration – all of these together hold my interest for the entire length of the “Na-na” part.

    And I’ll say I think this is an excellent record. As several have pointed out, Paul’s initial inspiration for the lyric was his feeling of empathy for Julian, a feeling that was expressed, in Tom’s words, as “you’re not alone, you don’t have to be ashamed of needing help.” Paul quickly realized that these ideas applied to himself, vis a vis his situation with Linda and the Beatles. What I hear him saying is: I’ve found the love of my life and I’m going to summon the courage to choose that love – something real and lasting – over the glamour of life as a Beatle. John said essentially the same thing – less appealingly, to my ears – over the length of “Plastic Ono Band.” (This similarity in ideas and emotions must be why John always cited “Hey Jude” as one of his favorites of Paul’s songs.)

    The beauty of the long fade is exactly the thing that Tom dislikes, if I’m reading him right – the bliss of the “Na-na’s” contrasted with Paul’s screaming vocals, with the two fighting it over a long haul. To me, all of this is essential to expressing the message of the lyrics – true love isn’t easy to find, or keep, it’s rough and painful breaking free of all the barriers standing between you and it, but it’s wonderful if you can find it and get it. In my opinion, that contrast – pain and bliss, struggle and release – IS the song, and it needs to last every bit as long as it does in this record. Finding and keeping love is a grown-up’s job, I think is one message of this song, and I hear that in Paul’s voice – it’s the first record where he sounds like a man, not a boy. He didn’t always live up to the standard he set here, and other lesser artists may have used his approach to regrettable ends (which I don’t hold him responsible for, any more than Buddy Holly is responsible for Bobby Vee); however, neither of those factors lessen his achievement here. I read in the Village Voice several years ago, in an essay about over- and under-rated singles, that you wouldn’t listen to “Hey Jude” if you knew the world was ending tonight. Well – yeah, I would.

  35. 35
    Brian on 30 Aug 2006 #

    blount asked : for the sunshine boys: how immediate was the backlash to john+yoko?

    I remember it as being pretty quick and pretty negative. Although Macca was spending a lot of time with Linda he didn’t run into the heat as John & Yoko. There’s a few reasons for this , even prior to Two Virgins ; there was a drug bust for pot ( at Hendix’s old house in London ) and Yoko was named on John’s uncontested divorce from Cynthia as an adultress. And there was also a miscarriage but I am not sure if that made it to the press.

    Also the weirdness of the upcoming ” The Beatles” album ( aka The White Album )shocked a lot of people and they tended to think that this was Yoko’s avante garde reputation. So indirectly , she got fingered for that, too.

    So there was enough going on to feed the flames of anti – John + yoko – ism.

  36. 36
    Brian on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Blount :

    there was a country song : D-I-V-O-R-C-E that was a hit….

    ” Our little kind’s only six years old ” etc

  37. 37
    Chris Brown on 30 Aug 2006 #

    Apparently Lennon assumed the song was a message to *him* telling him to pursue Yoko, which I rather suspect tells you a lot about his state of mind at the time. Oddly enough, Leigh & Clayson (in their book “The Walrus Was Ringo” speculate that Paul might have been contemplating an affair with Cynthia Lennon.

    It’s clear that Lennon liked the song though, and I think that’s what distinguishes this from a lot of the White Album material – as a recording it’s very much an ensemble work that they were all committed to; that’s probably why it was the first Beatles track recorded on 8-track, which required them to go to an independent studio as there wasn’t one available at Abbey Road. I can hear how much care’s gone into the band’s own arrangement, which certainly contrasts with a lot of the album (and a lot more so with the stuff they did in the second half of 1967). I might even go so far as to give the first three minutes an 8…
    …But then there is that outro. Apparently “nah” is the 25th most frequently-ocurring word in Beatles lyrics. In Mark Lewisohn’s Chronicle he suggests that had there been such things at the time, they could have saved the long version for a 12″ single, I give the finished article a 6. Ironically enough, by the time this hit the shelves Ringo had actually stormed out on the band, though of course that wasn’t made public at the time.

    Of course, I’d make ‘Revolution’ an 8, but that’s sadly not the question. I’ll be back with more trivia later.

  38. 38
    Doctor Mod on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I was discussing this debate with my sister last night, and she made an interesting observation. She thought one factor in the great popularity of “Hey Jude” was its giving the fans exactly what they wanted: an affirmation that the Beatles would go on. There had been so much negative publicity, and rumors of intra-group strife were running amok. No matter how any of us felt about the drugs, Yoko, the Maharishi, or any other thing that seemed distressing in the context of the 60s (all of which would hardly raise an eyebrow these days), it was too painful to think of life without the Beatles. I doubt that any other pop/rock performers have ever burned so deeply into the public cultural consciousness. (It is probably not coincidental that Elvis staged his big comeback concert less than three months later.) Considering that “Hey Jude” was actually performed live on television, it seemed to give the lie to the rumors and allayed our fear of loss for the time being.

    But such was not to be. In retrospect, it’s amazing they stayed together as long as they did after this and turned out an extraordinary album like Abbey Road before it was all over.

  39. 39
    Doctor Mod on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I’d give “Revolution” a 9.

  40. 40
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    wwolfe: thanks for that excellent post – I still don’t agree, but that perspective hadn’t occurred to me and it’s certainly a reason someone could like the fade.

  41. 41
    Mark Gamon on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I’m going completely off-message here.

    Could not care less about the song. LOVE the coda.

    Everyone loves to pick on Mccartney because A/he can be a jerk; B/he’s not the holy St John what was murdered tragically and yes, we can ALL remember exactly where we were when we heard the news just like President Kennedy being killed and now John’s one of the greatest Britons of all time rather than a very important rock star with a great voice who wrote some great songs and some arrant rubbish too. Just like his partner.


    In the late 60s, McCartney was at the peak of his vocal powers. Go back to ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’ and listen to the soul shouting at the end. Then listen again to ‘Hey Jude’. Not the la-las, but McCartney’s improvising. It’s random, it’s chaotic, it’s packed with passion. Just like great soul singing should be.

  42. 42
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    Couldn’t agree less! It sounds to me like a really self-conscious attempt to do a bit of soul singing by someone who’s confusing ‘soul’ with ‘shouting’ (like 90% of rock singers ever I grant you).

  43. 43
    Tom on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I admit, though, that this is a bit of a blindspot for me – cf. Small Faces review, upcoming Joe Cocker write-up, god forbid the Charlatans ever get to #1 etc etc.

  44. 44
    Mark Grout on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I remember seeing this in Minchella’s in south shields (look for it, it’s still there) and the effect seemed to be “Look! The beatles, after getting a bit strange, are back! and they look like the beatles again!)

    (i.e. PMac had shaved his tache off.)

  45. 45
    Martin Skidmore on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I’m with Tom re this odd soul claim – it’s not at all random, and not at all passionate. I’m rarely convinced by claims of genuine passion for studio recordings anyway. It’s all chatting with the musicians and engineers and producer, then yelling into the mic. Paul McCartney seems less plausible than almost anyone for claims of passion and randomness and chaos, to be honest. Possibly more plausible than, say, the Pet Shop Boys, but less so than about 95% of pop stars ever.

    I also don’t at all think that is what soul is about – this was a major part of what I was saying in my old Al Green article here. I hear very little chaos and randomness in any soul records – there is the odd moment of thoughtlessness, like Otis’s ludicrous and notorious live “Sock it to her tenderly” moment, but that’s just a dumb improvised misstep in an otherwise thoroughly rehearsed and controlled set.

    I don’t think I’d have given Hey Dude as much as 4, personally – goes from ‘pleasant but don’t care’ to tedious even before the decline into the singalong.

  46. 46
    blount on 31 Aug 2006 #

    o come now martin – ‘hey dude’ is very probably kula shaker’s best single!

    somewhat echoing wwolfe and mark gamon i’m voting coda>songproper – chop them in half and you’re left with a dull ‘let it be’ precursor and an epic/bizarre powerballad take on ‘flying’ – it might still be garbage worth no more than a 4 but it’d be alot more fun.

  47. 47
    Chris Brown on 31 Aug 2006 #

    I think the thing about McCartney is that he’s hugely talented and is very good at a lot of things (in the musical field I mean) but he’s not always reliable in deciding how to use it. Hence his singing on that outro is, in its own right, fine – but it’s not in the right place here. ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’ is far better, because it’s a more apposite use of the technique.

    Oh, and on a semi-pedantic point, they didn’t exactly play ‘Hey Jude’ live on TV – David Frost turned up at what we’d now call the video shoot and faked it.
    Which reminds me that I promised more trivia – how’s about the fact that George Martin was paid £25 for the orchestral arrangement, and this massive sum of money required special authorisation from EMI? And one of the string players refused to sing along on that coda, even with the promise of a double fee. And as has been suggested before, Jimmy Webb didn’t think it a coincidence that this is a second longer than ‘McArthur Park’ [on the original 45 – the stereo mix is actually slightly shorter].

    Is this now the most-commented post, aside from Mike Sarne spam?

  48. 48
    des on 1 Sep 2006 #

    What a strange bunch of contributions.
    I’ve read it all now.
    Actually, Hey Jude was the Beatles biggest selling single anywhere and lots of people adored it – and still do if you go to any concert from Robbie Williams to Macca himself where the refrain gets picked up. Someone did it at our wedding and it was fantastic.

    What is loud and clear from all the above is the animosity Paul draws. Have you guys read any of the books about the Beatles – the people who actually worked with them?

    It’s quite clear that some of you think spouting left wing politics whilst high guarantees you credibility in perpetuity, but seriously, apart from being fans, have you guys ever trying performing a Lennon song? Jeez – one note melodies sung with passion (or is that just shouting?) and collage lyrics that don’t make much sense. You get bored very very quickly.

    the Beatles won 17 Ivor Novello awards for songwriting. They were all Paul songs.

    Good for you if you are stuck in your teenage rebellion years and really think John was some kind of saint, but I know you’d be an arse to have a pint with! I was in Liverpool recently for work and found myself, to my amusement, in Menlove Avenue where Mimi lived. It’s like a flipping country estate. Working Class Hero my foot. You poor, deluded fools.

    Hey Jude is genius from first to last. Revolution is Eddie Cochran slowed down with very distorted guitars and a painfully of the time lyric. It’s embarrassing to listen to now.

    Get over it…the Walrus was Paul. Or…oh dear…would admitting that mean you have to completely re-evaluate your entire life as a rebel?

    ha ha

    PS I actually love John’s stuff but in 100 years time I know whose songs they’ll be singing.

  49. 49
    Tom on 2 Sep 2006 #

    Des if you dug around a tiny bit on the site you’d see that Paul’s songs have tended to do very well here – “Eleanor Rigby” is one of two singles to have got 10/10. I personally don’t see the need to treat liking the Beatles as a schoolyard “ooh ooh I’m in HIS gang” fight.

  50. 50
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 2 Sep 2006 #

    i’m in klaus voorman’s gang

  51. 51
    CarsmileSteve on 2 Sep 2006 #

    i thought you were in julia’s gang?

  52. 52
    wwolfe on 3 Sep 2006 #

    I’m in Murray the K’s gang – he’s the Fifth Beatle!

  53. 53
    Doctor Mod on 3 Sep 2006 #

    I’m with Polythene Pam’s gang

  54. 54
    Doctor Casino on 4 Sep 2006 #

    Not ten minutes ago I woke up from a dream in which – among many many other things – I got involved in a conversation about Hey Jude. I of course attempted to draw from this thread, but got a little muddled somewhere in the discussion. I do remember specifically wanted to come here and explain my grand theory that the two greatest lines are the two “shoulder” bits, especially the “the movement you need is on your shoulder,” on the grounds that it was the most vulnerable thing Paul had ever written (????????)… I need to spend less time on the Internet…..

  55. 55
    pˆnk s lord sükråt cunctør on 4 Sep 2006 #

    i think i speak for the entire thread community when i draw the OPPOSITE CONCLUSION dr casino :D

  56. 56
    intothefireuk on 6 Sep 2006 #

    I’m chiming in late on this one. I have had very different experiences with this song. As a child I disliked it. I found it turgid, maudlin and compared to their previous output just boring – this was the first Beatles single to sound ‘down’ (according to my young ears) and actually was the beginning of the end of my love affair with them. I think I moved on very swiftly to The Monkees around this time. I actually don’t recall the end being that long because I suspect radio DJs talked inanely over it. However as an adult re-assessing my love of the Beatles I can see it has it’s merits and I even caught myself singing along to it during one of Maccas concerts – it suits that environment very well. On record though it still struggles to ignite and leaves me feeling cold. Whatever Paul’s intentions are the emotion doesn’t reach me. It does sound like a group in its death throes as Tom has accurately pointed out.

    ‘here we come, walking down the street…………………’


  57. 57
    Lena on 7 Sep 2006 #

    To me, this song is an example of the Silent Generation (those born before & during WWII; Boomers come afterwards, of course) talking directly to what would become Generation X; “And don’t you know that it’s just you?/Hey Jude, you’ll do.” The Silent Generation’s general faith that GenX would turn out to be okay without much help from their elders, parents, what-have-you…(for more on this, 13th Gen tells the whole story…)…is poignant as hell to me, as is McCartney’s encouraging of himself vis a vis his own life (also fits the pattern of the Silents…) “Hey Jude, don’t be afraid.” He is singing to himself as much as young Julian.

    Sorry if this is obscure but I was one when this was a hit and must have heard it so many times then and only now do I hear it in a different way.

    As for being a downer: the local ‘classic rock’ station here had its usual big Labor Day Weekend countdown and “Hey Jude” sounds downright merry compared to the songs just before (“Hotel California” & “Stairway to Heaven”) and the only song to best it, “Comfortably Numb.” (Yes, it’s still a battle between Led Zep & The Beatles, with the Stones somewhere in the background, and Pink Floyd at #1 again.) But I can understand its seeming ‘down’ at the time.

  58. 58
    Brian on 7 Sep 2006 #

    HEY JUDE :A couple of intersting things about this tune that I just read…..

    1) The hand writen lyrics ( not sure which version ) were bought by Julian Lennon at an auction of Beatles personal memorabilia. He paid 25,00.00 British Pounds for them in 1997.

    2) During Lennon’s lost weekend in the States he was asked if the song was written for Julian. He replied that it was written for Brian Epstein and was originally called ” Gay Jew ” !!!!

  59. 59
    Lenya on 21 Nov 2006 #

    to Brian: That’s absolute rubbish. The song “Hey, Jude” was written by Paul McCartney, in his car as he was driving to visit Cynthia and Julian to comfort them in the wake of the divorce. The lyrics were originally “Hey, Jules,” but “jude” was easier to sing because the of the ‘s’.

    However, John did think that Paul was telling him to “go and get” Yoko as his love. He figured that “Jude” was some sort of code for Paul.

  60. 60
    Lenya on 21 Nov 2006 #

    Code for “John”, rather. *curses her typing*

  61. 61
    Bobby on 13 Mar 2007 #

    Why the bloody hell would someone write a whole article jsut to critisize this beautiful song. You sir, are a wanker!

  62. 62
    Barry on 4 Apr 2007 #

    I think it is a wonderful song, considering it was one of Mr. Campbell’s earliest compositions.

  63. 63
    Tom on 4 May 2009 #

    An oddly apt song to end up as a corporate-backed Flashmob singalong.

  64. 64
    Lex on 5 May 2009 #

    I swear I would not have been able to restrain myself from committing acts of violence on those people, had I accidentally stumbled upon it. Horrific.

  65. 65
    Georgie on 2 Jun 2009 #

    It’s proven stupidity is a legend that never exsisted.While we blossom and dance the earth in all our early nude retirement gear.Our diplomas become old old memories.But of this illness thousands of college graduates receive,its similar to a pink panther cartoon starring Wedesday Ash.Life is just to much for the events that lay ahead of them.They were working their little heads off for years,only in time to find life is shit.As they should be instatutionulized ,for believing they were any kind of gift from God.

  66. 66
    Rory on 9 Sep 2009 #

    I’m not planning to make a habit of dipping into the archives of Popular to leave comments (not yet, anyway), but this one has been nagging at me a while. Through my Popular-inspired researches I’ve realised that “Hey Jude” must be my earliest musical memory other than nursery rhymes. It was number one in Australia for thirteen weeks, when I was nine to twelve months old, and I remember it being around – on radio, presumably. When I next encountered it in any kind of sustained way (on a Beatles singles compilation at age 15) it gave the strongest sense of deja vu of any of their songs, possibly because it wasn’t a radio staple through most of my childhood (too long, presumably, or our DJs had been burnt out on it), so I couldn’t pinpoint where I’d heard it before.

    So for me this is like “Baa, Baa, Black Sheep”: it’s not just music, it is music. I don’t listen to it much nowadays, and there are many Beatles songs I prefer, but McCartney tapped into something deep here, that his music could make such an impression on someone who couldn’t even talk. (I can’t give it a rating. How do you rate Music?)

    Lena’s comment #57 feels spot on to me, and for similar reasons: my parents are the same age as the fabs, and I’m the same age she was. I can think of far worse songs with far worse messages to have at the heart of your musical memories.

    I look at my little guy sometimes, age two and half, and wonder what his “Hey Jude” will be.

  67. 67
    Jack on 10 Sep 2009 #

    To the person who waffled about Menlove Avenue and working class hero, have you even READ the lyrics of that song? I think you have completely misunderstood the song. John never considered himself the working class hero, it’s not about him. I also find your over emphasis on class to be weird. John was middle class and was great, George was working class and he was great too. Their class is meaningless.

  68. 68
    Waldo on 27 Oct 2009 #

    Lennon always admired the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder” and the song is actually a prime example of a classical Macca melody, which is then completely bollocksed by that ludicrous fade, which itself was obediently taken up as a footy chant by all and sundry. I have never understood why George Martin didn’t put his foot down here. “Hey Jude” could have been cut by a good two minutes and then you can start to make it better.

    Okay, sorry.

  69. 69
    wichita lineman on 27 Oct 2009 #

    Rory at 66: How do you rate music? Here’s your answer:


    I’d guess George Martin didn’t put his foot down because he couldn’t – he wanted to trim the White Album down to a single but the group disagreed.

    My two cents. Paul was trying to keep the group together (John and George were both itching to get out) with an inclusive song that reached for the personal (are there any other Popular entries about a bandmate’s offspring?) and the universal (1968 was a year of mass demonstration, after all, which probably had some bearing on the coda). The screeching – not my favourite part – is Paul channeling their pre-fame sound, their love of Little Richard, reminding the others of their roots, attempting to take the group forward. In this respect alone, it’s a hell of a lot more successful and enjoyable than the Let It Be/Get Back debacle.

    As for specifically writing a terrace anthem, it’s nigh on impossible – there’s no ‘obedience’ involved (anyone remember the Shamen at Highbury? Or, conversely, why Bristol Rovers fans sing Goodnight Irene?).

    So the ending’s too long, it’s no biggie. Tape it and fade it a bit earlier. Likewise, make your own single White Album and lose Ob La Di/Honey Pie/Rev 9/Savoy Truffle, whatevs.

    Possible unlikely inspiration – the Bee Gees’ Words for that super-compressed piano sound. That was Maurice Gibb’s major contribution to their sixties recordings: Ringo was best mates and neighbours with Maurice and Lulu, QED.

    (this is possibly the only thread on Popular that pisses me off, makes me cross, and bored).

  70. 70
    Rory on 27 Oct 2009 #

    Nice link, wichita lineman!

    Most of my early listening to the White Album was Revolution-9-free (although I kept the “can you take me back” lead-in), because it wouldn’t fit on a C90 unless you cut something.

  71. 71
    lonepilgrim on 28 Oct 2009 #

    so it goes:


  72. 72
    punctum on 29 Oct 2009 #

    Finally (and by happy coincidence) Then Play Long reaches the White Album:


  73. 73
    Paulito on 30 Dec 2009 #


    I can’t help thinking that the review and rating for this song smack of iconoclasm for its own sake. While I accept your basic argument that “Hey Jude” is overrated, I think you’ve given in to the common critical fallacy (to which Beatles criticism is especially prone) of over-stating the case for the purpose of appearing edgy and controversial. While all criticism is necessarily subjective, it should always be balanced and I think you’ve had a (relatively rare) lapse here. The coda may well be too long, and McCartney’s ad libs somewhat contrived, but even so the song’s overall merits surely make it a curate’s egg rather than the dud suggested by a “4” rating. That you should rank this enduring standard lower than, say, Brotherhood of Man’s “Angelo” or Bucks Fizz’s “My Camera Never Lies” betrays a lack of perspective.

    Finally, critically comparing “Hey Jude” with “Yellow Submarine” is as pointless as rating a Bentley against a Mini.

  74. 74
    Tom on 30 Dec 2009 #

    Yes, it’s better than “Angelo” I grant you.

    Going back over the band’s career with the reissues I’ve come around to this one a fair bit – should’ve been a six perhaps.

  75. 75
    thefatgit on 5 Jan 2010 #

    It’s a football chant. “Na na na nanana na, nanana na (insert team/player here)”.

  76. 76
    AndyPandy on 14 Jan 2010 #

    I can’t get my head around the criticism of the coda on this – to me that’s the best bit of it – its called a groove and a song has a groove or it doesn’t and when it does you don’t want it to end – and ‘Hey Jude’ most defintely gets into a wicked groove. ‘Hot Love’ by T Rex is another one of my absolute favourites and I just want it to go on forever.
    For those who moan about it just turn it off when you get bored.

    I’ve never understand people complaining about records going on to long if you dont like it just reach for the off button but if I’m compleely immersed in a track I you want it to go on as long as possible.Hence thats why I love the way my favourite hard trance tracks are usually 8-10 minutes long.And Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze anything from 25 minutes to over 50 minutes long…in those cases taking you to another world.

    It similar to people complaining about novels going on to long if you’re really sucked into for instance a sprawling Victorian novel why would you want it to end. When I read George Eliot’s “Middlemarch” the perfectly realised world of a Victorian small town and the characters who inhabited it was so peerlessly created and real that I dreaded the pages dwindling as I neared the end of its 800 pages.

    This impatience to finish books, or records rto me smacks of the modern plague of instant gratification short attention spans and only a superficial appreciation of the works in question.

    Thank goodness George Martin didn’t have is way…

  77. 77
    Nancy B on 8 Apr 2010 #

    My brother tells me that Hey Jude was written for Donovan Leitch, whose nickname was Jude. This is the first I’ve heard of this, only heard that
    it was written for Julian. Has anyone else heard of the Donovan connection?

  78. 78
    Mark M on 11 Feb 2011 #

    Proto-poptimist Nik Cohn reconsiders The White Album (starts when the slider indicates about 18 mins left) and decides it’s less godawful than he thought in 1968:


  79. 79
    DietMondrian on 12 Feb 2011 #

    An interesting listen, Mark M, thanks.

  80. 80
    swanstep on 13 Feb 2011 #

    That *was* a good listen. Thanks. Interesting for me to – ahem – finally be forced to grasp that Acid and Speed are completely different things (and that the difference was socially crucial in the late ’60s). I guess sometime as a kid I learned that acid was LSD and then assumed that ‘speed’ was just a synonym based on a pun and contraction from LSZ = limited speed zone. Amazing that it’s taken me 30 years to straighten out this misunderstanding o’ mine!

  81. 81
    swanstep on 14 Feb 2011 #

    Cohn in 2011 explaining some of his allergic reaction to The White Album at the time (when he was 22):
    “You can’t *imagine* the level of adulation there was for The Beatles in ’68 and how *nauseating* it was to be told endlessly that the universe had begun, as it were, with Sergeant Pepper, that all the answers were posessed…. [that] They were the containers of all human wisdom and genius.”
    Haw haw. I hope Rosie listens to the interview (and reads Cohn’s original review) and shares her take on it with us.

  82. 82
    enitharmon on 14 Feb 2011 #

    swanstep @ 81

    Well of course the universe didn’t begin with Sgt Pepper, it began with Rubber Soul{1}!

    Nik Cohn is entitled to his view. I agree with him sometimes – he, like me but evidently not like Tom, thought House of the Rising Sun a great record (see entry for same). But he isn’t some kind of omniscient deity, he’s a better-than-average critiquer of popular music when he’s not in danger of disappearing up his own rectum. He has his own likes and dislikes and he has been exposed to particular cultural environments, most of which I’ve never been anywhere near. I had my own cultural influences mostly drawn from places as angry and menacing and exciting as the Wirral and suburban Hertfordshire. All the same I know enough to know that the universe didn’t begin with anything by the Beatles, not even Love Me Do, any more than it began with Tutti Frutti or Anarchy in the UK or Autobahn or, for that matter, Sumer is icumen in.

    I was also 14, not 22, when the White Album came out. I was given it, at my own request, for Christmas that year. It was one of the numbered ones and it was nicked when I was in the 6th form but there you go. I thought it a rum old thing, with some brilliant bits, some god-awful bits, and some bits that just felt like they were there to make up the numbers. As far as I remember, most people responded to the White Album pretty much as I did. It was the first album they had done without Brian Epstein to keep them in order, their stock was so high that EMI let them do more-or-less what they wanted to in the studio, and the result was something like what happens when you turn a bunch of adolescent boys loose in a paint factory. Actually, 43 years on I feel much better disposed to the White Album; even to the dreaded Revolution 9 since I’ve been exposed to a good deal more musique concrète. That was Yoko’s contribution I believe. Only Wild Honey Pie still eludes me but even there I feel something like being confronted with a fiendishly difficult crossword to solve.

    Cohn makes much of comparing TWA unfavourable to Beggar’s Banquet. As a one-off, BB is undoubtedly a very fine album and a much better one than TWA taken as a slice of the time. Of course at 14 you weren’t supposed to like the Beatles and the Stones although any actual rivalry was a friendly one. There was mutual admiration and influence but they were chalk and cheese. The Beatles as essentially provincial as the Stones were essentially metropolitan – compare the urbane, confident Jagger with the sarcastic, self-doubting Lennon – and that provincialism spoke to us provincials. The Stones did one thing and they did it supremely well – basically snark whether raw aggressive sexual snark or reptilian, creepy snark. They did snark better than the Beatles, but then the Beatles did it first. They took it from the Beatles and ran with it. They’ve been running with it ever since and for quite a long time I’ve been feeling they look ever more pathetic with every passing year. Meanwhile the Beatles could have run out of steam half a dozen times, but they kept reinventing themselves. Beatles For Sale sounds to me like a farewell, an acknowledgement that the Stones and the Kinks and the Who had picked up the baton and were racing ahead. But no, there was always something surprising to come. Cohn charges them with narcissism. Of course they were bloody narcissistic, especially Lennon who was also a bully and all-round bastard (there were mitigating circumstances. It’s precisely that narcissism that fuelled the Beatles phenomenon. The Stones could trade on raw, unchanging rocking for nigh-on fifty yearts but the Beatles couldn’t stand still, they wanted to be ahead of the game, they got bored easiuly and wanted to try new things. The new things often worked; a lot of the time (especially on TWA) they either didn’t work or their audience simple wasn’t ready for it. But there were always others to pick up the broken pieces and work on them.

    Of course, the best thing the Beatles ever did was to break up when they knew the game was up, when each of them knew they wanted to beat their own path. What remains is legend – nothing any of them ever did on their own comes close to what they did together. But it still bears repeating – that much of what others did for decades afterwards owes a huge debt to that restless narcissism.

    I’m not sure that what I finished writing has anything to do with what I started writing but there you go. No, I haven’t listened to the podcast. I started out to do so but couldn’t be doing with the rest of the podcast.

    {1} Actually I’d rate Sgt Pepper as only 3rd or 4th (depending on how I feel about Rubber Soul in any given day.

  83. 83
    Mark M on 14 Feb 2011 #

    You can fast-forward past the Paramore bit, you know…

  84. 84
    swanstep on 14 Feb 2011 #

    @Rosie/enitharmon. Thanks for that – great stuff. I do hope you get around to hearing Cohn talk about acid-bores, etc.. The whole energy of the period is fascinating to me!

  85. 85
    Tom on 16 Feb 2011 #

    Thanks for that post Rosie – only just read it: really good comment.

    I find the White Album hard to get through, I admit, it’s probably my least favourite Beatles record (actually no, Let It Be is worse). I dunno if it’s linked upthread but Marcello’s Then Play Long take on it is really worth reading – a real extended wrestle with the record which makes the best case I’ve read for taking it as a unity.

  86. 86
    Tom on 16 Feb 2011 #

    I seem to think everything is really real this morning, man.

  87. 87
    punctum on 16 Feb 2011 #

    #85 – linked by me in post #72.

  88. 88
    crag on 14 Apr 2011 #


    Rachael Hayhoe, poet(1969)

    Kenneth Allsop, writer(1971)

    Alan Pascoe, Hurdler(1976)

    John Hurt, actor(1984)

    Ismail Merchant, film producer(1986)

    Sue Lawley, broadcaster(1987)

    Brendan Foster, runner(1988)

    Keith Floyd, TV Chef(1990)

    Carmen Callil, writer, publisher(1992)

    John Updike, writer(1995)

    Gordon Brown, politician(1996)

    Richard Noble, driver(1998)

    Martin Pipe, horse trainer(1999)

    Rolf Harris, musician, artist(1999)

    Professor Raymond Tallis, poet(2007)

    Lord David Cobbold, Owner of Knebworth House (2010).

  89. 89
    Pete on 21 Aug 2011 #

    I get more and more fond of this song. I used to hate it but it now I don’t want it to end. It’s like an iceberg floating by.

  90. 90
    tm on 25 Nov 2013 #

    Shameless plug: check out my friend Greg’s Beatles map of London for iPhone: a snap at 69p!


  91. 91
    hectorthebat on 14 May 2014 #

    Critic watch:

    1001 Songs You Must Hear Before You Die, and 10,001 You Must Download (2010)
    Bruce Pollock (USA) – The 7,500 Most Important Songs of 1944-2000 (2005)
    Dave Marsh & Kevin Stein (USA) – The 40 Best of the Top 40 Singles by Year (1981) 9
    Life (USA) – 40 Years of Rock & Roll, 5 Songs for Each Year 1952-91 (Updated 1995)
    Paul Williams (USA) – Rock and Roll: The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1993)
    Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (USA) – 500 Songs That Shaped Rock (1994?)
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 100 Best Singles of the Last 25 Years (1988) 29
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 100 Greatest Beatles Songs (2010) 7
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (2004) 8
    Rolling Stone (USA) – The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (Updated 2010) 8
    Stephen Spignesi and Michael Lewis (USA) – The 100 Best Beatles Songs (2004) 6
    The Recording Academy Grammy Hall of Fame Albums and Songs (USA)
    VH1 (USA) – The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time (2000) 9
    Guinness Book of Hits of the ’60s (UK, 1984) – Paul Gambaccini’s Top 10 Songs
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Greatest Singles of All Time (1997) 7
    Mojo (UK) – The 100 Greatest Songs of All Time (2000) 29
    Mojo (UK) – The 101 Greatest Tracks by The Beatles (2006) 12
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 100 Singles of All Time (1976) 38
    New Musical Express (UK) – The Top 150 Singles of All Time (1987) 149
    Uncut (UK) – The 50 Greatest Beatles Tracks (2001) 13
    Zig Zag (UK) – Gillett & Frith’s Hot 100 Singles (1975)
    Nerikes Allehanda (Sweden) – The 50 Best Rock Songs of All Time (1992) 11
    Now & Then (Sweden) – The Beatles’ 50 Best Songs (1992) 24
    Pophandboek (Netherlands) – Errit Petersma’s Top 20 Singles from the 60s (1970)
    Berlin Media (Germany) – The 100 Best Singles of All Time (1998) 13
    Rolling Stone (Germany) – The Best Singles of 5 Decades (1997)
    Gilles Verlant and Thomas Caussé (France) – 3000 Rock Classics (2009)
    Toby Creswell (Australia) – 1001 Songs (2005)
    Giannis Petridis (Greece) – 2004 of the Best Songs of the Century (2003)
    Grammy Awards (USA) – Record of the Year Nominee

  92. 92
    lonepilgrim on 2 Oct 2016 #

    I have a vivid memory of hearing this as a kid playing on a juke box in a noisy pub on Fireworks Night in Lewes in Sussex – which if you are not aware is a particularly chaotic and almost pagan celebration. A drunken Scotsman in a kilt staggered into the machine and made the record jump to an early finish. Seeing me standing next to the player he thrust a half crown into my hand in compensation for what he thought was my my loss. I’ve had a residual affection for the song since. I like the coda and also think that ‘don’t you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making the world a little colder’ is a particularly pithy piece of hippie wisdom.

  93. 93
    Duro on 21 Nov 2017 #

    Bad things about this song:
    The memory of those interminable 2012 singalongs

    Good things about this song:
    That football chant that goes “Naa naa na nanananaa, nanananaa, YOU’RE SHIT”, which probably saves the entire project

  94. 94
    Precious Wilson on 9 Apr 2021 #

    I think 4/10 is generous. Fairly tuneless singing and banal lyrics from McCartney, this single certainly outstays it welcome.

  95. 95
    Gareth Parker on 8 Jun 2021 #

    (#74) Tom – I actually think you were right the first time around. This single does my head in I’m afraid. I’m much less generous than even you were originally – 2/10 imo.

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