Filming Hey Jude and Revolution

Stills from ‘Revolution’.

Thanks to the internet and Facebook, we were able to get in touch with someone who was present at the taping of the “Hey Jude” and “Revolution” videos. Her name is Margaret Morel, and she originally saw The Beatles in concert in Liverpool on 8th November 1964.  Originally from Morecambe, Lancashire, Margaret got married to a Frenchman in 1970, and has been living in France with her husband and children since 1972. Here is her story about the events surrounding the filming of “Hey Jude” and “Revolution”.

I left home when I was 16, and the agreement with my parents was that I live in a YWCA where I’d not be alone. During the first year I lived in London I met the Beatles (as a fan) very often. At the time I was working as a secretary in Mayfair. After a year I went back home to the North West of England, but after a while I wanted to go back to London.

So the second time I went to live in London, I was staying with my friend’s family in Feltham, Middlesex when one evening I got a telephone call from my American pen friend, who was on holiday in London at the time.  She said that my friend Coral and I should go quickly to the EMI studios in Abbey Road as The Beatles were looking for people to take part in an event. No-one knew what the event was at the time.

As Coral and I both knew Mal Evans, The Beatles road manager quite well, I phoned him at the studios.  He said we should go to sign a paper if we wanted to take part.  So we went along to the Abbey Road studio and asked for Mal, who brought us the papers to sign.  I don’t remember exactly what we had to sign for, but if me and Coral remember correctly, it was to say we wouldn’t ask for any payment for whatever we were going to do. We still had no idea what that was.

Whilst we were sat in the waiting room filling in our papers, Paul McCartney came in and was happy to know we’d be there next day.

Split screen comparison of several ‘Hey Jude’ videos made from the Twickenham film recordings.

After having signed our papers, we were given instructions to go to a meeting point in London next morning at a certain time.  I can’t remember exactly where the meeting point was, or the time. Wednesday September 4, 1968, the coaches were waiting for all the extras like us.  As the coaches set off, we still didn’t know where we were going.  It was funny that we ended up at Twickenham, because Feltham, where I was living at Coral’s, was just nearby.

The weather must have been nice, because I was wearing a summer dress. Another friend of mine had made this dress about a year before. The bright yellow certainly helped me to be seen, although I didn’t realise this at the time. So of course my boss saw me on TV when the video was shown the same day, I think. (For the record: The Hey Jude film had its world premiere four days later, on 8 September 1968 on Frost On Sunday, presented by David Frost) I was supposed to be ill that day and had taken the day off.  I swore it wasn’t me. He was a lovely man and just let me think he believed me.

When we arrived at the entrance of the studios, we were told that we were going to be filmed in a video with The Beatles, who were up at a window watching us all, giving us smiles and waves.

Everyone was very excited and happy, of course.  Some of the people were regular fans like us, others were students, who I think had been invited from various London schools.

When we were taken inside the studio where the “Hey Jude” video was going to be filmed that morning, we were told what we had to do.  It might have been the director (Michael Lindsay-Hogg) who told us, but I don’t remember. I remember David Frost being there and him doing the introduction for his show, but I’m not sure how long he stayed. When The Beatles got to the end of the song we had to go up on the stage or gather round them and sing the “na na nas”.  Paul helped by saying “now” when it was time to join in.  We were all sitting around the studio, waiting for our cue.

The audience. Still from video.

My friend Coral and I got up onto the stage each time and stood next to George Harrison.  I don’t know how we managed to do that with all the people who were scrambling to get as near as they could to The Beatles. Coral is the girl with the long blonde hair and me of course with my bright yellow dress and big hair (oh that big hair lol).  There was just one take right at the end of the day when I didn’t go up on the stage….too tired of pushing and shoving!

Here is a photo from the filming of ‘Hey Jude’. You can spot Margaret in her yellow dress behind

the neck of George’s guitar, Coral’s hair is just visible behind George’s shoulder. Photo: Apple Corps Ltd.

At one point there was a break and all the extras were taken into a room where there were sandwiches and drinks for everyone.  The Beatles were not with us during the break. During one of the breaks (might have been after the lunch break), we were told they were going to film the video of “Revolution” and that we could go in the studio to watch.  I can’t remember too much about this but I think they just filmed “Revolution” once.

Coral with the blonde hair and Margaret with the yellow dress. Video still.

They filmed lots of takes of “Hey Jude” all day…we seemed to sing our “na na nas” dozens of times. They must have been wanting to choose the best versions of the song.  If I remember correctly, they began filming during the morning and we finished about 10pm or later. My friend’s parents came to collect us with their car.  We were exhausted but very happy, our heads full of all that had taken place that day.

Another video still. I believe it’s the video labeled version 2

where we can’t see the girls, they are present in videos #1 and #3.

Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of those days.  Friends took lots of photos of The Beatles in London, but my friend Coral says she hasn’t got hers any more now.  I’ve lost touch with other friends of that time.  Coral and I still keep in touch and she was a bridesmaid when I got married.  We met again recently when I was in London with the French group I work with, The Low Budget Men. They did a gig at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, and Coral helped me sell the merchandise for the charity the group are associated with.

Still photo

Mal Evans did give me the badge from Paul McCartney’s Sergeant Pepper uniform but I gave that to my American pen pal when I got married.  Have lost touch with her too, so no hope of ever getting it back….my own fault!!

Like Margaret said, she is currently promoting the French band, The Low Budget Men. All the proceeds of their music (CDs, DVDs, T-shirts, concerts) go to their charity “20 000 Vies” in order to purchase Automated External Defibrillators which they then offer to towns and communities where the group plays, for use in public places. So far, they have offered 100 defibrillators!

Link: The Low Budget Men

11 Responses

  1. Overmarsanelka says:

    She may have taken no photographs but still has the memories to cherish until this very day.
    Thanks to Margaret Morel for sharing them.
    Does she have any recollection of The Beatles jamming Little Richard oldies between takes?!

  2. wogew says:

    Margaret replied: Paul sang "Little Arrows" before they began. Leapy Lee used to sing that one. I don't remember Paul doing any others.

  3. wogew says:

    I asked Margaret about Francie Schwartz. Here's her reply: I did see her a few times when I was in London. I met Jane Asher quite a few times too. Jane was a very nice person. I never met Linda. I left London just before Jane and Paul broke up.
    I did go back to London for a quick visit one weekend and went round to St Johns Wood where Paul lived. I saw there were a lot of girls outside his gate so I stood round the corner and waited a little while in case he came by.
    A taxi did come round the corner and Paul was in it. He saw me and stopped the taxi. We talked about the film "Yellow Submarine" which I'd just seen. I was quite shy and didn't know too much what to say. I'd never expected him to stop like that.
    Then some girls came round the corner and saw him talking to me so he had to go. I should have asked to go along too….didn't think (kicking myself lol)

  4. Anonymous says:

    i read a story about this but slightly different.some people who went to go see the movie yellow submarine were either given a piece of paper or were told to be here tomorrow at the next day an empty truck would show up and take people to the twickenham studios to take part in the hey jude video.thats why you see one of the people in the video is a theatre can see him in his i dont think people were picked up at emi studios,but rather picked up at the theatre that was showing yellow submarine.

  5. Mary says:

    well, if she can't even remember that the Beatles did (at least) Two takes for Revolution, then, how can be sure everything else is real?

  6. wogew says:

    Margaret replies:
    To Joey Anthony, I don't know anything about this story you've heard…might be true or might not. The meeting point we were given was not at the EMI Studios, we only went there the evening before to sign the paper to take part. I don't remember where exactly we got the coaches but it was in London. Why someone was dressed as a theatre usher during the video I don't know. There were a lot of people at the Twickenham Studios that day and I didn't get to talk to each one to know how they'd got there. I've explained how it was for Coral and I and all that we experienced that day.
    You'll see a mention about how fans were recruited for the video outside EMI Studios (hence the telephone call from my American Pen pal)

    To Mary, I don't remember how many takes there were for Revolution. This all happened many years ago…… Believe me or not, all I have explained is true and I don't appreciate your remark.

  7. Overmarsanelka says:

    Thanks Margaret for the recollection of Paul busking the Leapy Lee number!
    Considering the events took place 47 years ago, your memory serves you very well indeed.

  8. Anonymous says:

    the reason you see a theatre usher there is because the beatles picked people at the theatre who went to see yellow submatine.i read an article in mojo of someone who talked about how he went to see yellow submarine and was given a piece of paper when he paid for his ticket to be here tomorrow at a certain time for a beatles didn't go into detail.and when he showed up the next day a truck picked them up.and it took them to twickenham.the story is true.also i'd like to add i have talked many times to francie Schwartz.i used to email her back and forth years ago.i remember asking her why she didn't go with paul to the premier of yellow submarine since she was with him during that time.

  9. Unknown says:

    To Margaret: Thank you my dear for providing some insight. To see this performance and sit here in California light years away from EMI with no hope of finding the who, or why… well you have certainly brightened my day. I am left wondering on the story of the older gentleman with the crazy glasses. Who he was. What was his story. He seemed to be having such fun. I hope that he must have told that story hundreds of times and that someone in the family would come forward. -John

  10. Unknown says:

    The Take were Margaret don´t appear is the take 2 (David Frost one) but in take 1 (PV) and 3 (The one who Revolver Record showed us complete) appears. Coral appears in all

  11. Unknown says:

    Actually, it gives Margaret even more credibility when she mentions that she doesn't remember how many takes of Revolution they did. A liar would simply leave that part out, worried about being caught in the lie. Memories fade and return. Challenging someone who comes right out and says, "I don't remember…" is just, well, mean spirited, ugly, and basically ignorant. You aren't the D.A.! Get over yourself.

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