Hello, Goodbye

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This article is about the song. For other uses, see Hello Goodbye (disambiguation).
"Hello, Goodbye"
US single sleeve
Single by The Beatles
B-side "I Am the Walrus"
Released 24 November 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
Certification Gold (RIAA)[1]
The Beatles singles chronology
"All You Need Is Love"
"Hello, Goodbye"
"Lady Madonna"
Alternative cover
German sleeve

"Hello, Goodbye" is a song by the Beatles. McCartney later claimed the lyrics, which take "duality" as their theme, were "very easy" to write."[2] The song was said to have originated when McCartney brought Brian Epstein's assistant, Alistair Taylor, into his dining room, where McCartney asked Taylor to say the opposite of whatever he said while he played the harmonium. Following the event, McCartney brought in a demo of the song, which he proposed to be the band's next single.

The song was released as a single in November 1967, topping 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.[3] A promotional video was filmed, but due to regulations against lip-syncing in Britain, it wasn't aired there.


The answer to everything is simple. It's a song about everything and nothing. If you have black you have to have white. That's the amazing thing about life.

– Paul McCartney, in a 1967 interview with Disc at the time of the song's release[4]

Though the songwriting credit is Lennon–McCartney, it was written solely by Paul McCartney.[5] McCartney said of the song's writing process, "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."[2] Ringo Starr later took credit for the song's title, saying, "I was the one who eventually stepped up and told Paul to go with 'Hello, Goodbye' instead of 'Aloha, Aloha'...the whole thing was just absurd and ridiculous."[5]

The song was thought to have originated when Alistair Taylor, who worked for the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein, had asked McCartney how he wrote his songs.[4] McCartney then took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration on his harmonium.[4] He asked Taylor to shout the opposite of whatever he sang as he played the instrument—black and white, yes and no, stop and go, hello and goodbye.[4] Taylor recounted, "I've no memory at all of the tune. You have to remember that melodies are as common around the Beatles as bugs in May. Some grow into bright butterflies and others shrivel and die. I wonder whether Paul really made up that song as he went along or whether it was running through his head already. Anyway, shortly afterwards, he arrived at the office with a demo tape of the latest single - 'Hello Goodbye.'"[4]


Under the working title "Hello Hello", the Beatles recorded the backing track on 2 October 1967, and added vocals and a guitar overdub on the 19th. After further overdubs of bass guitar and viola, recording was completed on 2 November, and mixing on the 6th.[6] "Hello Goodbye" is in the key of C Major and in 4/4 time.[7]

The song features a coda which came spontaneously in the studio. Of this, McCartney said "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."[6] John Lennon, who was largely critical of the song, spoke approvingly of the addition, saying, "The best bit was the end, which we all ad-libbed in the studio, where I played the piano. Like one of my favourite bits on Ticket To Ride, where we just threw something in at the end."[8]

Release and reception[edit]

"Hello, Goodbye" was released as a single on 24 November 1967. In the US, the song was also included on the Magical Mystery Tour album released three days later, but the song was not made available in the UK on an album (or in stereo) until the release of the 1973 compilation album 1967–1970.

In the US, Capitol Records omitted the comma in the song’s title in the packaging of the single (as did some of EMI’s partners in other countries), and also the Magical Mystery Tour LP (which was subsequently adopted for the CD release of this album).

That's another McCartney. Smells a mile away, doesn't it? An attempt to write a single. It wasn't a great piece.

– John Lennon[8]

"Hello, Goodbye" topped the charts in the United States, becoming the band's 15th #1 there. It also topped the charts in Britain where it spent seven weeks at number one, and was the Christmas number one for 1967. John Lennon was not impressed with the popularity of the song, saying incredulously, "'I Am the Walrus' was the B side to 'Hello, Goodbye'! Can you believe it?"[9]

Promotional films[edit]

A promotional film for "Hello, Goodbye" was for the single's release. Filmed on 10 November 1967 at the Saville Theatre in London,[10] the video was directed by Paul McCartney. It featured the Beatles wearing their Sgt. Pepper uniforms with hula dancers from the Fox Miller Dancers dancing in front of a psychedelic backdrop. The film shows a clean shaven Lennon without his granny glasses.

In the US, the original promo was screened on The Ed Sullivan Show on 26 November.[11] However, the band ran into trouble with the Musicians Union in Britain, who had then-recently created a rule against miming on television.[12] In an attempt to get around the regulation, George Martin mixed a version of the song without violas because the instruments weren't shown in the film.[12] Despite this, it was still clear that the band was lip-syncing, preventing the video from being shown.[12] In its place, Top of the Pops created a montage of footage from the band's 1963 film A Hard Day's Night to air with the song.[12] The clips, portraying the band during their "moptop" era, left the Beatles unimpressed, resulting in the band creating an alternate video featuring the group editing their 1967 film, Magical Mystery Tour.[12] This promo was showed throughout the remainder of the song's time on the UK charts.[12] It later appeared as a bonus feature on the 2012 DVD release of a digitally restored version of the Magical Mystery Tour under the title "Top of the Pops 1967."[13]

In May 2013, the Vox guitar played in the video by John Lennon for US$408,000 in New York.[14] The guitar, which was also played by George Harrison on the song's B-side, "I Am the Walrus," exceeded its estimated selling price of around US$100,000.[14]



Personnel on "Hello, Goodbye" included:[2]





  1. ^ RIAA 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Gusedon & Margotin 2013, pp. 440.
  3. ^ THE BEATLES - HELLO, GOOD BYE (SONG). Accessed 29 August 2010
  4. ^ a b c d e Turner 2009, p. 220.
  5. ^ a b Turner 1994, pp. 139–140.
  6. ^ a b Lewisohn 1988.
  7. ^ Notes on "Hello Goodbye", Alan W. Pollack
  8. ^ a b Sheff 2010, p. 198.
  9. ^ "100 -- 'Hello, Goodbye'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. 
  10. ^ Hill 2007, pp. 302–303.
  11. ^ Miles 1998.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Hill 2007, p. 303.
  13. ^ "Order Your Copy". magicalmysterytour.com. Apple Corps. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  14. ^ a b "Beatles guitar smashes auction estimates". 3 News NZ. May 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Gusedon & Margotin 2013, pp. 441.
  16. ^ "17 January 1968". Go-Set. Poparchives.com.au. Retrieved 29 May 2015. 
  17. ^ CHART NUMBER 567 – Monday, December 18, 1967 at the Wayback Machine. CHUM. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  18. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 8, No. 18 Dec 30, 1967". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 30 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Archive Chart: 1968-01-04" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
  20. ^ "The Beatles – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 31 July 2013. 
  21. ^ "1968 YearEnd". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 


External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Daydream Believer" by The Monkees
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single
30 December 1967 (three weeks)
Succeeded by
"Judy in Disguise (With Glasses)" by John Fred and His Playboy Band
Preceded by
"Let the Heartaches Begin" by Long John Baldry
UK number-one single
6 December 1967 (seven weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde" by Georgie Fame