I can babble on for hours about how I completely missed the importance of the Beatles when I was young lad. Thankfully, that was a long time ago. When I was young, all I knew was that “Hey Jude” was a really long tune. I continue to be amazed at how great the Beatles truly were and still are. This was a Paul McCartney tune. McCartney songs were lighter, less serious, but they had more of a pop feel to them. At least that’s my impression. When you listen to “Open the Door” you hear “Hey Jude” (at least that’s what I hear).
The Beatles‘ biggest U.S. single — nine weeks at Number One — was also their longest, at seven minutes and 11 seconds. During the recording sessions, producer George Martin objected to the length, claiming DJs would not play the song. “They will if it’s us,” John Lennon shot back. Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” in June 1968, singing to himself on his way to visit Lennon’s soon-to-be-ex-wife, Cynthia, and their son, Julian. The opening lines were, McCartney once said, “a hopeful message for Julian: ‘Come on, man, your parents got divorced. I know you’re not happy, but you’ll be OK.'” McCartney changed “Jules” to “Jude” — a name inspired by Jud from the musical Oklahoma! — and presented a demo tape to Lennon, who loved the song. He also thought McCartney was singing to him, about his relationship with Yoko Ono and the strains on the Lennon-McCartney partnership. But his self-centered reading underscored the universal comfort in McCartney’s lyrics and the song’s warm, rolling charm, fortified in the fade-out by a 36-piece orchestra whose members (with one grumpy exception) also clapped and sang along — for double their usual fee.
Why not? I guess that imitation is the best form of flattery. The Beatles were taking America by storm in the mid-1960s. I’m not sure who was behind the Monkees. They were clearly designed to be a group that looked like the Beatles. Yet, as luck would have it, they actually had some musical talent. None of their songs, as I recall, were deep or thoughtful. They were mostly fun. Fun and catchy. On a Saturday night, there’s nothing wrong with fun and catchy.
Artist: The Monkees
Tune: Last Train to Clarksville