Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beatles 16: Hey Jude

By early 1970, “unalbumized” Beatle tracks had once again piled up, and once his negotiations with Capitol had been finalized, new “manager” Allen Klein took the opportunity to put together a quickie release that served the same purpose as such old collections as Something New and Beatles VI. Originally called The Beatles Again, the new album was immediately renamed Hey Jude in honor of the first song on side two.
Amazingly, this was the first Capitol LP availability of “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better” from nearly six years earlier; those fresh-faced nuggets open the program. The bulk of the remaining tracks are singles from 1968 and 1969 that fit better with the rather dour-looking contemporary cover photos from what turned out to be their last official photo sessions as a band. “Paperback Writer” and “Rain”, being from the middle period, still connect seamlessly with the later material, providing a bridge from the early innocent days to the period of experimentation. The album definitely rocks, from those 1964 and 1966 singles to “Lady Madonna”, “Revolution”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, George’s unfairly overlooked “Old Brown Shoe” and even “The Ballad Of John And Yoko”.
As a mop-up collection, the album did the trick, collecting various recent singles unlikely to appear on the mutating Get Back/Let It Be album, which was due within a few months. Yet there were still a few unique tracks scattered throughout the boys’ career that would stay uncollected for some time yet. The odd selections notwithstanding, Hey Jude became another popular title, leading to its eventual British LP release in the late ‘70s. But while a similarly offhand compilation like Magical Mystery Tour sat comfortably in CD racks between Sgt. Pepper and the White Album for 25 years, Hey Jude was ignored as a separate entity, and sat on the wish list for many American consumers until the “U.S. Albums” rollout in 2014. (In the meantime, for those wishing to compile their own, all but the two 1964 recordings were included on Past Masters Volume Two.)

The Beatles Hey Jude (1970)—5
UK CD equivalent: A Hard Day’s Night/Past Masters

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