“Hey Jude,” the timeless classic by The Beatles, has become one of the band’s most iconic and cherished compositions. It was released in August 1968 and quickly rose to the coveted No. 1 spot on both the U.K. and U.S. music charts. However, digging into the song reveals an intriguing anecdote that adds a layer of mystique to its legacy.”
Deep into the heart of Hey Jude, around the 2:55 mark, an unexpected and somewhat clandestine moment unfolds. Attentive listeners may catch a subtle vocalization, an “Ah,” muttered by one of the band members right after the line, “Let her under your skin.” What may come as a surprise to many is the alleged inclusion of an f-bomb in this portion of the song. If you strain your ears, you might discern Paul McCartney quietly uttering, “F*cking Hell.” Interestingly, this fleeting moment remains imperceptible to those not attuned to it, adding an intriguing layer to the song’s narrative.
According to Geoff Emerick, the esteemed EMI engineer who collaborated with The Beatles on landmark albums like Sgt. Pepper’s, both Paul and John were aware of this unconventional addition. The story goes that during the recording session, Paul hit the wrong note on the piano and let slip a “naughty word.” Instead of opting for a sanitized version in the final mix, John Lennon, in his characteristic rebellious spirit, insisted that the expletive-laden snippet be retained in the recording.
Quoting Emerick’s recollection of John’s stance on the matter, “Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word.” Astonishingly, rather than editing it out, John championed its preservation, asserting, “Most people won’t ever spot it … but we’ll know it’s there.” In the end, the controversial inclusion didn’t deter Hey Jude from reaching the summit of the charts, ultimately becoming another No. 1 hit for The Beatles. The episode serves as a testament to the band’s artistic integrity and their willingness to embrace the unconventional, even if it meant concealing a subtle, yet intentional, musical quirk beneath the surface of one of their most celebrated creations.
In 1971, Paul McCartney found himself entangled in legal woes due to his use of explicit language. The charges brought against him for swearing were ultimately dismissed when the accuser, Miss E. Robson, failed to appear in Marylebone court. McCartney’s penchant for colorful language led to a legal confrontation, but the resolution took an unexpected turn with the charges being dropped in the absence of his accuser, who was preoccupied with other commitments.