The Beatles sing Hey Jude

I came across this clip that I had never seen before of a quasi-live performance of the Beatles singing Hey Jude in 1968 as part of a video promotion for the song. The clip first aired on a show hosted by David Frost that begins with them goofing around and ends with the studio audience of 300 people crowding around the group to join in the famous ending. According the person who uploaded the clip, the performance was a mixture of live and lip-synching.

To help with the filming an audience of around 300 local people, as well as some of the fans that gathered regularly outside Abbey Road Studios were brought in for the song’s finale. Their presence had an unlikely upside for The Beatles in their long-running saga with the Musicians’ Union in that the MU were fooled into believing the band were playing live, when in fact they were miming for the vast majority of the song. Paul, however, sang live throughout the song.

The video was first broadcast on David Frost’s Frost On Sunday show, four days after it was filmed. At that point transmission was in black and white although the promo was originally shot in colour. It was first aired in America a month later on 6 October 1968, on The Smotheres Brothers Comedy Hour.


  1. Brian English says

    Cool clip.
    The rumbling bass that nobody is playing at the end gives a hint that it’s not all live.

  2. says

    I always hated that the Beatles stopped playing live right when they started putting out their best work. Could you imagine Sgt. Pepper’s or Magical Mystery Tour being performed live by them? It would have been incredible.

    I’m on record as not likely the Beatles pre-Rubber Soul/psychedelics. I think their music really became incredible then. I hate the early pop stuff, but the latter stuff…

    It’s too bad they never tried to take any of their latter music on the road…

  3. jrkrideau says

    Given that I find almost all music objectionable, some of the Beatles stuff is not all that bad. Some Beethoven is not that bad either.

  4. Mano Singham says

    Nathan @#2,

    Their later work sometimes required such lush orchestration that putting on live shows and going on the road would have been pretty complicated and expensive.

  5. Mano Singham says

    Brian @#1,

    There is an orchestra visible in the background at the beginning that may have provided it.

  6. jester700 says

    There are several hints at syncing -- the bass sounds more like an electric than a standup. Ringo is playing a ride pattern while the sound is a high hat. Even the lead vocals, as good a job as Paul did -- don’t quite match the performance -- watch as the distance varies from the mic but the sound doesn’t change. Having said that, most of it is double tracked -- there are two vocal tracks of Paul in unison and then in harmony -- so it’s hard to tell if he’s matching one of them. It may be that one of them IS the live feed at those points.

    Having said THAT, I loved the Beatles since I was a kid, especially Help! and after. They (with George Martin) were revolutionary.

  7. marcusj3 says

    There is a bass in this clip -- George is playing a Fender Bass VI, a legendary six string bass from the sixties. He might well be actually playing it, filling in for Paul. He’s certainly fingering it like a bass.

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