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The first UK airing of 'Hey Jude'

David Morris's memory of 1st September 1968

I was 16 and heavily into the music of the day - it was, after all, the most exciting and innovative period of popular music that the world will ever see.

I was living in Westwood Heath, Coventry. Sundays were 'Pick of the Pops' day, when Alan Freeman would play an hour of various music followed by the new top 20. On this day it had been trumpeted that he would be broadcasting the new release of The Beatles - the first airing in the UK. My sister Liz (2 years older) and I were waiting with huge excitement....the musical revolution that had hit the industry with the release of Sgt Pepper, Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields was fresh in the mind from the previous summer and music was developing at and astonishing rate.

Word had seeped out that the new single was to be 7 minutes long and feature a full orchestra - current followers of pop music will never know the levels to which national anticipation could rise in those days over a pop record - the BBC news the previous night had announced that the record would be played at sometime in the first hour of the show.

As the program began, with Alan Freeman's much-loved 'Alright, pop-pickers?' routine, my sister's friend Val sat by us with her fingers poised over the 'record' buttons on a reel to reel tape recorder.

The moment came and it happened....the unmistakeable voice of Paul McCartney opening with the first two words of the song. Down went the record buttons - and then back came Freeman saying 'But more of that later'

For 0ver 45 minutes he would play just that two note, maddening teaser, until - at around 4.45 - he said ' OK pop-pickers - you've waited long enough'. And thus began my first hearing of the record that, now aged 55, I name as my favourite record ever recorded, by anyone. A song that can still turn my stomach to water everytime I hear those haunting first two notes - a song so simple, so magnificent and so perfect. The song which most comprehensively represents my youth....and took pop music, yet again, new new heights of previously uncharted territory.

David

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