From The Beatles On Apple by Bruce Spizer (2003):
Beatles historians and collectors have always assumed that Capitol Records was the driving force behind the "Hey Jude" album. This, however, is not the case. Allen Klein was anxious to have another Beatles album delivered to Capitol under the terms of the lucrative new contract signed between the parties. In late November, 1969, he asked Allan Steckler, an Abkco employee assigned to manage Apple, if there was any material available to put into a Beatles album.
Steckler reviewed the Capitol catalog to determine what songs had yet to appear on an American album. He selected ten songs covering the Beatles` almost entire career and programmed the running order. This information was forwarded to EMI with instructions to compile a stereo master tape for the LP. Four of the pre-1969 songs had never appeared on a British album and needed to be mixed for stereo. Existing stereo mixes were used for the other selections.
"Can`t Buy Me Love" and "I Should Have Known Better" were mixed for stereo on June 22, 1964, for inclusion on the stereo version of the Parlophone album "A Hard Day`s Night" (PCS 3058). EMI used these mixes for the new LP. As the stereo version of the United Artists soundtrack LP contains mono mixes of these songs, the "Hey Jude" album marked the stereo debut of these songs in America.
"Paperback Writer" was mixed for stereo on October 31, 1966, for the British hits album "A Collection Of Beatles Oldies (But Goodies)" (Parlophone PCS 7016). For the "Hey Jude" LP, EMI used an alternate stereo mix with reversed stereo and louder backing vocals. Because the single`s flip side, "Rain", had only been issued in mono, EMI had to create a stereo mix. On December 2, 1969, George Martin, assisted by engineers Geoff Emerick and Phil McDonald, made a stereo mix of "Rain" from Take 7. A stereo mix of "Lady Madonna" from Take 5 was also made that day.
On December 5, the same crew, along with second engineer Neil Richmond, created a stereo mix for "Revolution" from Take 16. Although "Hey Jude" had been mixed for stereo on August 2, 1968, a new stereo mix was made from Take 1 on December 5. The remaining three tracks for the album had previously been mixed for stereo. EMI assembled the master tape for the LP on December 8 and sent the tape to Abkco`s New York Headquarters.
At the time the album was conceived in late 1969, Apple, through Abkco, was taking a more active role in the production and promotion of its releases. Apple had become increasingly frustrated with Capitol`s handling of Apple product. According to Steckler, "Capitol was doing things in Capitol`s best interests, not the Beatles. Advertising and release dates centered around Capitol`s schedule, so things weren`t getting done when Apple wanted them done." In response, Apple began placing its own advertisements in the trades and directly handling production matters previously handled by Capitol.
Although Capitol had its own mastering facilities in the Capitol Tower and in its New York studios, Steckler began taking the tapes of all Apple releases to Bell Sound Studio, Inc., 237 W. 54th Street, New York, New York, for mastering. He personally supervised the mastering, which was done by Sam Feldman. His relationship with Bell Sound dated back to 1961.
On December 11, 1969, Sam Feldman mastered two reference dubs of the album. The following day, 41 sets of lacquers, also cut by Feldman, were sent to Capitol. An additional two sets of lacquers, numbers 42 and 43, were sent to Capitol on January 21, 1970. The trail off areas to the records generated from these lacquers have the Bell Sound Machine stamped script logo and the hand etched initials "sf" for Sam Feldman.
By the time Capitol began pressing copies of the album, its new factory in Winchester, Virginia, had come on line and the Scranton plant was being phased out. First pressings of the album were manufactured by all four of Capitol`s factories.
Capitol initially assigend catalog number SO-385 to the record. The "S" stands for stereo and the "O" indicates a list price of $6.98. Although "Abbey Road" had a then-high list price of $6.98, Capitol and Apple had second thoughts about charging an extra dollar for an album containing no new songs. Prior to its release, the LP was numbered SW-385, with the "W" indicating a $5.98 list price. The trail off areas to the records generated from the original Bell Sound lacquers have the "SO" prefix. Some of the Winchester pressings have a "W" written over the "O" in the "SO" prefix.