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The Mystery of Which Beatle Says “F*ck” In ‘Hey Jude’

Don't make it bad...

Getty

While the world awaits the arrival of Peter Jackson’s Fab Four documentary, The Beatles: Get Back, in August, the Internet is apparently filling the void with its own deep dive – and we mean deep – into Beatles minutiae by musing over the possibility that John, Paul, George or maybe Ringo dropped an F-bomb in the classic song, “Hey Jude.”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’re thinking, “No way.” Well, not so fast. You Can’t Unhear This, with a video, and Buzzfeed News, with a recently resurface article from 2014, both make a strong case for one of our favorite mop-tops saying, “Fucking hell” about three minutes into “Hey Jude,” the Beatles’ first single and first number one hit on their Apple label. The video captures the exact moment, even repeats it for good measure, and steers listeners to the center channel on their speakers or headphones. The narrator acknowledges it’s not absolutely clear that someone says “Fucking hell,” but – and this is Fatherly talking here – that’s what you’ll hear if it’s what you WANT to hear.

Meanwhile, Buzzfeed’s article points out that, “About halfway through ‘Hey Jude,’ there seems to be a ‘Whoa’ sound followed by somebody saying ‘fucking hell.’” It also cites a passage from Here, There, and Everywhere, the autobiography of longtime Beatles engineer Geoff Emerick. He claimed that McCartney dropped the F-bomb, reacting to a botched note, and that Lennon insisted it remain burrowed in the final mix. “Paul hit a clunker on the piano and said a naughty word,” Emerick quoted Lennon as saying. “Most people won’t ever spot it … but we’ll know it’s there.”

There are sly bits in Beatles songs that are unassailable. Singing “Frere Jacques” in “Paperback Writer,” comes to mind. The band croons the chorus of “She Loves You” in “All You Need Is Love.” And, of course, “The walrus was Paul” in “Glass Onion.” Then there are the mystery moments. Case in point: “Strawberry Fields Forever,” with its whole “Cranberry sauce” versus “I buried Paul” debate.

Let’s call “Fucking hell” a worthy addition to the mystery moments column. If nothing else, it provides a good excuse – as if anyone really needs one — to blast “Hey Jude” a few times today.