The articles featured in this section relate to events which occured on a single, but never to be forgotten, day in 1968

Harrold in the "Swinging Sixties"
Paul McCartney, Hey Jude & Harrold
Paul McCartney, Hey Jude & Harrold (2)



Harrold History
Early Ancestors
Iron Age, Roman & Saxon Farmstead Settlement
The Domesday Survey
The Priory at Harrold
Fairs & Markets
Harrold Bridge
Parish Church of St Peter
Major Landowners in Harrold
Harrold Old Manor
Harrold Hall
Freddie Crouch: Harrold's Last Blacksmith
Caleb Lefevre
Travel, Transport & Mail
Leather Making
Bridgman Doors
Public Houses and Inns of Harrold
Paul McCartney, Hey Jude & Harrold 1968
Dr Richard Mead
Anne Alston & Harrold Hall



Paul McCartney, Hey Jude and Harrold


"Hey Jude" was performed in Harrold by Paul McCartney on Sunday 30th June, 1968 more than a month before it was recorded and two months before it was released.

It was actually recorded on 31st July 1968 at Trident Studios, London. Its release was on 26th August on the Apple label and was produced by George Martin and engineered by Geoff Emerick. Paul McCartney was the lead singer and played the base guitar and piano. Background vocals were provided by John Lennon (and also acoustic guitar), George Harrison (also lead guitar) and Ringo Starr (drums and tambourine). In addition there was a 36-piece orchestra with most of the members contributing towards the famous "na-na-na" chorus.

"Hey Jude" was the longest of the Beatles' tracks at 7 minutes and 11 seconds. It was the Beatles' most successful US singles hit (9 weeks at Number One) and in Britain was in the charts for 19 weeks.

Hey Jude was composed by Paul McCartney in June 1968 as he sang while driving north to visit the estranged wife of John Lennon, Cynthia, and their son Julian (the song was thought to have been originally dedicated to Jules, rather than Jude). A demo tape was produced and shown to John Lennon who agreed that he and Paul should collaborate in the final composition.

The song was obviously still embryonic in Paul's thoughts, when in that very same month he arrived in Harrold, having been to Saltaire, Bradford to record with The Black Dyke Mills Band. The Beatles Diary: From Liverpool to London By Barry Miles gives the movement of Paul McCartney during that period and actually states that the premiere of the Hey Jude was in Harrold on 30th June


There are many versions of the visit made by Paul McCartney on that June Sunday in 1968. It has been variously reported by local newspapers, music magazines and even by New Zealand Television. There is rivalry between the Magpie and Oakley Arms pubs as to where the particular events took place. The locals are somewhat divided too. Two accounts are included below and it is hoped that other witnesses will come forward to give their versions. Whatever the truth, the story is a good one.

The first account appeared in various music magazines and is included in The Harrold Millennnium Book (page 46).


Tony Bramwell, who had accompanied Paul McCartney and entourage, including Paul's Old English Sheepdog, Martha, en route from the north of England wrote a few years later:

"On a Sunday afternoon in June 1968...we set off back to London. Getting bored with non-stop M1, Paul suggested we pull out the AA Book and find a village with the nicest name...and pop off the motorway for a change of scenery. After a short time Harrold in Bedfordfshire was spotted...and a detour was made. On entering this pretty little village, we spotted a gent who was trimming his hedge and he looked suspiciously at the Rolls as we drove past. We went through the village without seeing anyone on this lovely afternoon, turned round and asked the gent if there was a tearoom or pub open, but he said not. Recognising Paul, he invited us into his home to have some tea and told us that the pub would be open shortly.

He told us that he was a dentist practising in Bedford, and he introduced his wife and children who seemed perfectly at ease that a Beatle should drop in for Sunday tea! We then went along to the pub with Paul and were greeted very warmly by the landlord and were made to feel very welcome. Pretty soon the whole village seemed to appear in the pub and it looked like things might get out of hand, so we went back to the dentist's house and opened a bottle of wine. His little girl brought out a guitar and Paul sang some of his new songs to the gathered family, including one he had just finished called "Hey Jude".

We were then told that the pub had been cleared of all but the real locals and we were invited back for a quiet drink after hours. Paul was pretty swiftly sat at the piano and he played a selection of standards and Beatles' classics as the locals sang along.

At about three o'clock in the morning we quite drunkenly climbed into the car and were then driven back to London. During the following week we sent up some records and champagne to be raffled at the Church Fete"


The second account was written by a well-known local resident

John Keech - June 1968

It had been just another weekend. Sunday night came around too soon as usual. With the children safely tucked up in bed, Jen and I settled down to watch the telly when I realised I was out of cigarettes. ‘I’ll just pop down to the Oakley Arms for a pack’ I said to Jen. It must have been about 8.30pm when I walked into the pub on that June evening in 1968. When I got into the bar I bumped into a gentleman who turned out to be a chauffeur. He told me I should go through to the Lounge. Looking around the Lounge everything looked the same, the same décor, the piano standing by the fireplace, the same crowd! Then amongst my friends I spotted a very familiar face, suddenly the place that I was in was very extraordinary. It was Paul McCartney chatting away like he had lived here all his life. It was like a dream but the distinctive lilt to his voice was unmistakeable.

Apparently he was on his way back to London from Leeds accompanied by Peter Asher. In order to break the journey, they were in the habit of getting a map and sticking a pin in it and then going to the place where the pin landed. That night the pin hit Harrold.

When I got a chance to talk to Paul I told him that we had been born in the same hospital, I am just 2 months older than him! With that he told me to come over to the piano and sit beside him, while he played a few of his songs. At one stage he joked that I should run my fingers over the keys as if I was playing.

He then announced that he was just finishing a new song and would like to play it for the first time in public for us. The song was ‘Hey Jude’ which was released in late August that year and went on to be one of the most successful singles for the Beatles.

The inevitable autograph had to be dedicated to my daughter Judith (Jude), written on the only paper I had available – a ten shilling note.

The ending – I went home to tell Jen what had just happened. I had popped out for a packet of cigarettes at 8.30pm, by this time it was midnight. I will leave you to imagine the reaction when I told her that I had been delayed because I had met Paul McCartney!!!

(However, John has neglected to say that he had two little pieces of evidence that should prove his alibi that evening - two signed ten shilling notes, one to John from Peter Asher and the other with love to daughter, Judith (Jude!) from Paul McCartney. It must have been an expensive evening, John ! Hope you didnt have to buy Paul McCartney a drink too.)



Just in case you have forgotten the words of the refrain.....

Na na na na na na na
na na na na, hey Jude
Na, na na na na na na
na na na na, hey Jude
Na, na na na na na na
na na na na, hey Jude

This song was also sung by Paul at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics in 2112,
44 years after he first performed it in Harrold.









The web-site of the village of Harrold