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 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
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
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
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
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).
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT IN HARROLD
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
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
A DAY IN THE LIFE
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
- 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.)