A new book which celebrates George Martin's powerful producer role in the Beatles explores the controversy which surrounded the classic track "Hey Jude", which turns 50 this month.
Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin — The Later Years, 1966 – 2016 is the second book Kenneth Womack has written about Martin; it's currently available for pre-order before its official release on September 4th.
In an interview with Variety, Martin recalled, “I thought that we had made [Hey Jude] too long. It was very much a Paul [McCartney] song, and I couldn’t understand what he was on about by just going round and round the same thing.”
Martin continued to worry about the length of the track, running to 7 minutes 11 seconds long. “In fact," Martin remembered, "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 [Lennon] asked, ‘Why not?’ I couldn’t think of a good answer, really, except the pathetic one that disc jockeys wouldn’t play it.”
Lennon replied, “They will if it’s us.”
“[T]he freedom to be able to play as a musician was being curtailed, mainly by Paul … Paul had fixed an idea in his brain as to how to record one of his songs. He wasn’t open to anybody else’s suggestions.”
"Hey Jude" went on hold the Billboard No.1 position for nine weeks, selling over 2 million copies in it's first month of release - going on to be not only the Beatles' longest-lasting top single, but also the longest-playing single to reach the top spot.