Hey Jude was described by John Lennon as one of McCartney's masterpieces, it was also the group's best selling single worldwide and is arguably the greatest Beatles anthem. It has recently been voted number three of the Top 100 singles ever.
At the time of this famous recording, Trident was a new studio in London which had the attraction of an eight-track facility whereas Abbey Road still only had a four-track unit. As a 36-piece orchestra was used in addition to The Beatles, comprising: ten violins, three violas, three cellos, two flutes, one contra bassoon, one bassoon, two clarinets, one contra bass clarinet, four trumpets, four trombones, two horns, one timpanist and two string basses - an eight-track facility would make the mixing process less laborious than it had been on A Day In The Life when, a year previously, George Martin had had to link up a second four-track machine to capture the required sound.
The song was recorded over seven days at Trident Studios, London between 29th July and 8th August, 1968. Apart from its amazing chart success, Hey Jude holds a number of records, at 7 mins 11 seconds, it was, in 1968, the longest single to be released. George Martin recalled: ...It was a long song. In fact, after I timed it I actually said 'You can't make a single that long'. I was shouted down by the boys - not for the first time in my life - and John asked: 'Why not?'. I couldn't think of a good answer, really - except the pathetic one that disc jockeys wouldn't play it. He said, 'They will if it's us'. And, of course, he was absolutely right...
The Beatles were actually in Trident Studios on the day that Hey Jude was released on 30th August, 1968. Ringo however, was absent that day as he had secretly quit the group for a couple of weeks at that time, as a result of the tension between them all, and had left the country to think things over. The whole group were next in Trident Studios at the beginning of October. It is tempting to speculate that this is why the Ringo signature on this record label is in a different ink to the others, having been added at the later date.
Critics have used many adjectives to describe Hey Jude, perhaps the most appropriate of all is that coined by John Robertson, that it is truly an epochal single.
This is the second and the last signed Beatles' record to appear on the market from Norman Sheffield's collection.