This is one of my favorite Beatles videos. It’s a 1968 performance of the song “Hey Jude” on The Frost Programme. The song, originally titled “Hey Jules”, was written by McCartney to comfort John Lennon’s son Julian when John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia Powell, were getting divorced.
McCartney thought of the song on his way to visit Cynthia and Jules. He later said:
“I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules’, which was Julian, ‘don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing.’ I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorce… I had the idea by the time I got there.”
I love the mixed crowd in the video, especially the old guy with flowers in his hair.
If you listen to the studio version, you can hear John Lennon yell “fucking ‘ell!” 2:58 into the song after playing the wrong chord on the song’s initial take. You’ll have to turn up the volume a little, but you’ll never miss it again.
For those who treasure every single Beatle’s performance, check out the second take for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour:
It turns out there’s actually 12 versions. Here’s 3 of them side by side, with the touched-up Anthology version added in as a 4th: