Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It’s time to puzzle over which Beatle says “Fucking hell” in “Hey Jude”

The Beatles’ studio albums contain plenty of small details that can be hard to pick up on. Some of these consist of fascinating and formally innovative composition and recording choices; some are dumb jokes meant to mess with listeners’ dogs. Others, like a voice saying “Fucking hell” deep in the mix of “Hey Jude” are mysteries that fans can spend decades contemplating.

A video by You Can’t Unhear This and article from Buzzfeed News outlines that last fact fact, probably unknown to plenty of people who don’t think a Beatle is swearing anywhere in “Hey Jude.” The video points out exactly where the curse is—”just before three minutes” in the center channel—and plays it so you can hear it for yourself.

Advertisement

It’s easy enough to notice once you listen for it, and the words’ existence in the mix have been verified by people like sound engineer Geoff Emerick, who mentions it in his memoir. Buzzfeed quotes Emerick attributing the “fucking hell” to Paul McCartney. Apparently it was a “[reaction] to a botched note” that John Lennon thought would be fun to leave in the mix, where nobody would notice it. Other sources, like engineer Malcom Toft, say the voice is Lennon, recorded when he put on headphones to sing a backing vocal and the volume was turned up too high. Considering that it’s been more than 40 years since the session that gave us a Beatle saying “fucking hell” into a microphone, we’ll probably never know and obsessed fans will remain condemned to draw up conspiracy theories for decades to come.

But we’re not worried about that. Whether the words came from John or Paul (or even a sneaky, foul-mouthed Ringo, crawling under a piano bench to curse into a mic), you now know another piece of Beatles trivia, sure to delight family and friends when you tell them about it in the middle of them just trying to enjoy the song.

[via Digg]

Send Great Job, Internet tips to gji@theonion.com

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Reid's a writer and editor who has appeared at GQ, Playboy, and Paste. He also co-created and writes for videogame sites Bullet Points Monthly and Digital Love Child.