One of Pauls greatest songs IMO, but who is it that swears during the song ?
At 2:58 of the song, someone can allegedly be heard to say, "f***ing hell!" There is some dispute as to who said this, and whether it was really exclaimed at all. Sound engineers Ken Scott and Geoff Emerick claim the exclamation came from McCartney, and that it was Lennon's idea to leave the mistake in the final mix. "'Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,' Lennon gleefully crowed, 'but I insisted we leave it in, buried just low enough so that it can barely be heard. Most people won't ever spot it...but we'll know it's there.'" However, in the book Recording the Beatles, engineer Malcolm Toft recalls, "Barry Sheffield engineered 'Hey Jude', but I mixed it... John Lennon says a very rude word about halfway through the song. At 2:59 you will hear a 'Whoa!' from him in the background. About two seconds later you will hear, 'f***ing hell!' This was because when he was doing a vocal backing, Barry sent him the foldback level [headphone volume] too loud and he threw the cans on the ground and uttered the expletive. But, because it had been bounced down [mixed] with the main vocal, it could not be removed. I just managed to bring the fader down for a split second on the mix to try to lessen the effect." Others argue that the voice is Ringo Starr's.
Although McCartney originally wrote the song for Julian Lennon, John Lennon thought it had actually been written for him:
But I always heard it as a song to me. If you think about it... Yoko's just come into the picture. He's saying. 'Hey, Jude—Hey, John.' I know I'm sounding like one of those fans who reads things into it, but you can hear it as a song to me ... Subconsciously, he was saying, Go ahead, leave me. On a conscious level, he didn't want me to go ahead.
Other people believed McCartney wrote the song about them, including Judith Simons, a journalist with the Daily Express.
Still others, including John Lennon, have speculated that McCartney's failing long-term relationship with Jane Asher when he wrote "Hey Jude" was an unconscious "message to himself." In fact, when Lennon mentioned that he thought the song was about him, McCartney denied it, and told Lennon he had written the song about himself.
Writer Mark Hertsgaard noted "many of the song's lyrics do seem directed more at a grown man on the verge of a powerful new love, especially the lines 'you have found her now go and get her' and 'you're waiting for someone to perform with.'" Tim Riley wrote, "If the song is about self-worth and self-consolation in the face of hardship, the vocal performance itself conveys much of the journey. He begins by singing to comfort someone else, finds himself weighing his own feelings in the process, and finally, in the repeated refrains that nurture his own approbation, he comes to believe in himself."
McCartney changed the title to "Hey Jude" because the name Jude was easier to sing than Jules.
Much as he did with "Yesterday", McCartney played the song for other musicians and friends. Ron Griffith of Badfinger (known at this time as the Iveys, and the first band to join the Beatles-owned record label Apple Records), recalled that on their first day in the studio, "Paul walked over to the grand piano and said, 'Hey lads, have a listen', and he sat down and gave us a full concert rendition of 'Hey Jude'. We were gobsmacked."
When McCartney introduced Lennon to his new composition, he came to "the movement you need is on your shoulder" and told Lennon "I'll fix that bit." Lennon asked why, and McCartney answered "...it's a stupid expression; it sounds like a parrot." Lennon parried with "You won't, you know. That's the best line in the song." McCartney thus left the line in, and later said "...when I play that song, that's the line when I think of John, and sometimes I get a little emotional during that moment."
Paul McCartney – lead vocal, piano, bass
John Lennon – backing vocal, acoustic guitar
George Harrison – backing vocal, electric guitar
Ringo Starr – backing vocal, drums, tambourine
Uncredited – 10 violins, three violas, three cellos, two double basses, two flutes, two clarinets, one bass clarinet, one bassoon, one contrabassoon, four trumpets, two horns, four trombones, and one percussion instrument.
Personnel per Ian MacDonald and Mark Lewisohn.