On "Hey Jude" and Love

In November Capitol Records released Love, the soundtrack album for the Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas that uses remixed Beatles songs as its soundscape. It’s a fascinating album to listen to, presenting new ways of listening to old favorites. Some songs are heavily reworked, with backing vocals, instrumental parts, and the like taken from other places. Other songs are generally the same as we’re familar with. As an example, “Strawberry Fields” is an incredible piece, taking us through the evolution of the song from John’s demo to the finished version. Perhaps I wouldn’t recommend this album to the first-time Beatles listener, but it’s quite listenable.

Something occurred to me this morning, though, and I wanted to check.

“Hey Jude,” the Beatles 1968 anthemic single. It’s little known that at approximately the three minute mark, John Lennon says in the backing vocal, “Oh, fucking hell.” If you don’t believe me, go pull out your CD of Past Masters, Volume 2, and give it a listen. It’s there.

I wondered. Might it be there in the Love version of the song?

It’s not. The Love remix of “Hey Jude” drops a lot. The verse in question where John flubs his backing vocal, comes a full minute earlier into the song. And while Love‘s “Hey Jude” has backing vocals, they’re not as extensive as the 1968 backing vocal.

So, no “Oh, fucking hell” in Love‘s “Hey Jude.” Whether because George Martin didn’t want a backing vocal in the remixed “Hey Jude” or because he didn’t want the expletive, who can say?

3 thoughts on “On "Hey Jude" and Love

  1. 😯

    I never knew that before.

    I think that in recent years Sir George Martin has ruined a few Beatles songs. He did some really shitty remixes. What do you think of the new Octopus’s Garden?

    -Wes

  2. I like the new “Octopus’s Garden.” I like that it sounds like it starts out with Ringo under the sea or on a ship-to-shore phone. I like the crossfading of the strings from “Good Night.” I like the use of some of the “Yellow Submarine” sound effects. I’m not so sure about the use of George Harrison’s mumblings from the overdubs for “Revolution 9,” though. (It’s where he’s saying “Sensational,” etc., in “Octopus’s Garden” at roughly 1:35 where the songs goes into the instrumental passage.)

    Is Love as revolutionary as The Grey Album? No. But it’s not supposed to be. Instead, I liken Love to revisiting an old friend and finding that they’ve redecorated. The versions of the songs on Love shouldn’t replace the songs we know, but perhaps they’ll give us new insights into the Beatles. Or, more darkly, they’ll make us wish for things that never were–the mash-up of “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows” makes me wonder what a Lennon/Harrison song or a McCartney/Harrison song would have been like.

    At the same time, there are things about Love I don’t like. “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” feels odd in its more dirge-like version here. Marrying “Blackbird” to “Yesterday” seems quite pointless, and despite the importance of “Yesterday” was it necessary here? The a capella “Because” was nice, but I liked the similar take on the song on Anthology 3, and that was enough for me. “I am the Walrus” isn’t “I am the Walrus” without “Oh, untimely death!” Some old friends shouldn’t change. Some rooms shouldn’t be redecorated. Such is the occasional misttep on Love.

    Yet overall, Wes, I liked Love. I could quibble with some of the song choices–it’s weighed too much toward the latter half of their career, though that makes sense when you consider that it’s the latter half where there’s more to work with because of the Beatles’ growing reliance on multi-tracking, orchestral scoring, sound collages, and the like. I do wish that either “Free as a Bird” or “Real Love” were represented in some way. I’m glad I have Love. I’ll return to it again and again. It will never supplant Revolver or Rubber Soul or “The White Album” in my estimation, nor is it the best Beatles release of the past ten years, but neither is it completely worthless as Let It Be… Naked was.

    Love. It’s not all we need, but it’s a good start. 🙂

  3. I realize that this post is several years old now, but isn’t it Paul (not John) who says “Oh, fucking hell” in Hey Jude? I think it was John who mentioned its existence, but I believe that the vocal is Paul’s.

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