Sunday, March 27, 2005

"Hey Jude" - The Beatles

This is actually a really daunting task: to analyze one of the longest Beatles songs. At 7:07, "Hey Jude" was one of the most popular "slow dance" songs at high school proms around the country in the 60's and 70's. As soon as Paul's opening words, "Hey Jude" thumped over the speakers, teenage girls flocked to the opposite sex for a dance, knowing that they would get a full SEVEN MINUTES in the arms of their crushes.

"Hey Jude" is an epic musical production. The record boasts not only Paul on double-tracked lead vocal, piano, AND bass guitar (on separate tracks, of course), but also John and George on backing vocals, John on acoustic guitar, George on lead guitar, and Ringo on drums and tambourine. Don't forget the forty-piece orchestra towards the end! The song required so much sound that it had to be recorded at two separate studios.

Paul wrote the song for John's son, Julian ("Jules"), because John was going through a painful divorce with his first wife. The song was originally titled, "Hey Jules," but "Hey Jude" was much easier to sing, and it just so happened that St. Jude was the patron saint of lost causes (hence - divorce) as well.

*The song opens with Paul and his piano on the main chorus (A section)
Hey Jude, don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better (HC)
Remember to let her into your heart (IV chord)
Then you can start (V chord) to make it better (AC)

*add tambourine and acoustic guitar, same melody
Hey Jude, don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute* you let her under your skin (*add George and John on aaahhhs)
Then you'll begin to make it better (add drums - yeah Ringo!)

And anytime you feel the pain (add bass)
Hey Jude refrain (interesting, because this is the B section, or bridge!)
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool
Who plays it cool
While making his world a little colder
La Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na (add lead guitar)

*By now, we have the full band sound - back to the A section
Hey Jude Don't let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart (This line adds John on harmony)
Then you can start to make it better

*B section again
So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude, begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with (I love this line; it's a great play-on-words)
And don't you know that it's just you
Hey Jude, you do
The movement you need is on your shoulders
La Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na yeah (The revolutionary double-track - invented in the 60's. The Beatles were obsessed with it because the Beach Boys used it so well)

*Paul starts to improvise on the main melody
Hey Jude don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better, better, better, better, better, better, better YEAH!!!!
*Paul rocks out. :)

(Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Hey Jude)

This is sung 18 friggen times, each time with more passion. All the bandmates are singing together. You can hear them shouting in the background.

By the fourth time, it sounds like more people are singing. Double track?

The fourth time also introduces the powerhouse orchestra, playing in unison on the tonic note, the fourth, then the fifth, then tonic (an octave lower). So, the chord progression is very simple here - it's just I IV V I. After about the 6th time, some of the horns go up the octave instead of down the octave.

Interesting fact - you can hear John yell "Fucking 'ell!" at around 2:58, because he messes up the backing vocal harmony. Hehe.

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