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The Beatles 40 best songs: at 34 “Hello Goodbye”


“Hello, Goodbye was one of my songs. There are Geminiani influences here I think: the twins. It’s such a deep theme in the universe, duality – man woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up down, hello goodbye – that it was a very easy song to write. It’s just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive. You say goodbye, I say hello. You say stop, I say go. I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day.”
– Paul McCartney (Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now)

So often, simplicity is mistaken for “being easy”. McCartney’s pop jewel is not easy, it is pop-music perfection.  It’s infectious, catchy and clever beyond what initially meets the ear but that’s hard to pull off. Lennon was more than annoyed about this, he was angry about McCartney’s ability to churn out these perfect “pop-ditties”. It happened with this single as it had happened before with Strawberry fields/Penny Lane single. Talk about duality, Lennon and McCartney.

The song belies its simplicity, it sounds like a young man in a hurry. The “calm” lyrics and the insistent  melody, it is a paradox.

It is a masterpiece!


Hello, Goodbye” was released as a single in November 1967, and topped the charts in the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Norway. The song also was a number two hit in both Austria and Switzerland.

Single by The Beatles
B-side “I Am the Walrus”
Released November 24, 1967
Format 7″
Recorded 2 October – 2 November 1967, EMI Studios, London
Genre Pop rock
Length 3:27
Label Parlophone (UK), Capitol (US)
Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

Number of takes: 21
Oct 2, Oct 19, Oct 20, Oct 25, Nov 1 and Nov 2

Written by Paul McCartney.

“Paul marched me into the dining room, where he had a marvellous old hand-carved harmonium. ‘Come and site at the other end of the harmonium. You hit any note you like on the keyboard. Just hit it and I’ll do the same. Now whenever I shout out a word, you shout the opposite and I’ll make up a tune. You watch, it’ll make music’…

‘Black,’ he started. ‘White,’ I replied. ‘Yes.’ ‘No.’ ‘Good.’ ‘Bad.’ Hello.’ ‘Goodbye.’

I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already.”
– Alistair Taylor (Epstein’s  personal assistant and later the GM of Apple Corps.)

The Beatles – Hello, Goodbye:

“I remember the end bit where there’s the pause and it goes ‘Heba, heba hello’. We had those words and we had this whole thing recorded but it didn’t sound quite right, and I remember asking Geoff Emerick if we could really whack up the echo on the tom-toms. And we put this echo full up on the tom-toms and it just came alive.”
– Paul McCartney
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