“Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin — The Later Years, 1966 – 2016” (Chicago Review Press) is author Kenneth Womack’s concluding book of his two-volume biography of the life of Sir George Martin. The second volume looks at Martin’s work with the Beatles in their later years with the albums that included “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “The Beatles (The White Album)” and “Abbey Road,” and on through his work after the Beatles with Paul McCartney, Jeff Beck, America, Cheap Trick and America. The book hits the streets Sept. 4. This excerpt looks at the making of the Beatles’ single “Hey Jude.”
For Martin and the Beatles, the studio was dark the next day, as Lennon and McCartney worked at the latter’s Cavendish Avenue home, putting the finishing touches on a new composition titled “Hey Jude.” The bandmates and their producer may have had their trials and tribulations during the summer of 1968, but as Ringo observed years later, nothing excited the group more than working on a great new track. Inspired by Paul’s recent visit with John’s son Julian, “Hey Jude” had single written all over it. On Monday, July 29, with Martin taking a rare night off, McCartney debuted the song in Studio 2 with Ken Scott and new tape operator John Smith working up in the booth. The band recorded six takes of the song during the ensuing rehearsal, with McCartney on piano and lead vocals and Lennon’s acoustic guitar, Harrison’s electric guitar, and Starr’s drums. By the time that Martin joined them at Abbey Road the next evening, “Hey Jude” was quickly taking shape as a Beatles song of inordinate length.