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Hello Goodbye by The Beatles

Album: Magical Mystery TourReleased: 1967Charted:
1
1
  • Paul McCartney wrote this. His friend Alistair Taylor, who was visiting McCartney, asked Paul one day how he wrote his many songs, and how he came up with his ideas. Paul took him into his dining room to give him a demonstration of his hand-carved harmonium. As an experiment, Paul asked Taylor to shout out the opposite of whatever he sang, such as black and white, yes and no, hello and goodbye, etc. From this, the song was born.
  • John Lennon hated the song. He viewed it as an inconsequential song of McCartney's, saying it was "three minutes of contradictions and meaningless juxtapositions." What further infuriated Lennon was that his "I Am The Walrus," was issued as the B-side to McCartney's A-side "Hello Goodbye." (thanks, gavin - hampden, MA, for above 2)
  • This is a song about how people are always different in what they say and do. (thanks, Tom - Syracuse, NY)
  • The Beatles made a music video for this, but at the time they were called promotional films. It was banned by the BBC because Paul was clearly lip-synching, which was against The British Musician's Union's rules.
  • Shortly after this was released, McCartney explained, "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."
  • The ending where all The Beatles sing, "Hela, hey, aloha," was improvised in the studio. This part plays over the end credits of the Magical Mystery Tour movie. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
  • The working title was "Hello, hello."
  • There is a fake ending on this song that drove disk jockeys nuts, as the sound of dead air made them think the song had ended before they were ready.
  • Target used this in commercials with the lyrics changed to "Hello, Good Buy." The Beatles do not control the publishing rights for most of their songs and cannot keep them from being re-recorded and used in ads.
    In 2008, Jonas Brothers recorded the song for a new Target commercial.
  • When Paul McCartney played a show in Tel Aviv, Israel on September 25, 2008, he opened with this song. It was the first time a Beatle performed in the country. Ofer Lichtman, who covered the show for The Times of Malta, wrote: There is still a debate regarding the true reason behind declining The Beatles' arrival to perform in Israel. The common story behind it was simply the lack of money and the prudence of the Israeli government. Due to Israel's poor economical situation in the 60's the organizers and promoters could not come up with the sufficient funds that were claimed and when they appealed to the Israeli Government for help, they were turned down because "The Beatles were a threat on the morality of the youth."

    43 years later, earlier this year, the Israeli Government has sent its ambassador in Britain to officially apologize to Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and to the relatives of John Lennon and George Harrison for its unfortunate decision. After weeks of nerve racking anticipations and contradicting headlines, Paul jumped on the stage in Tel Aviv in front of an audience of 50,000 people and gave us an outstanding night to remember and a story to tell our children and grandchildren. After all those years Paul has desided to come and play in Israel in spite the many life threats he got from extreme Islamic groups.
  • In 2009 The Performing Rights Society announced this as the most ever played Beatles song in public places in the UK. One of the reasons for this is that this was the first Beatles single release after BBC Radio 1 started broadcasting and the station played this song endlessly.
  • California power pop band Hellogoodbye took their name from this song.
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Comments: 55

Always felt like Paul was asking John to meet him in the widening schism between them. John was clearly rebelling at this time and Paul stayed more grounded. They had to eventually split. Good effort tho Mr. McCTony - San Diego, Ca
"Hello Goodbye" is still one of my favorite songs. The booming bass & drums are absolutely awesome. Too bad that Lennon didn't like this McCartney composition. Lennon's "I Am The Walrus" is on the flip side of the single & I preferred it over the A-side back in '67 when it was climbing the charts. I've read that critics consider Lennon's "I Am The Walrus" one of his masterpieces. I agree with that! Still, "Hello Goodbye" holds its own.Randy - Fayettevile, Ar
On December 23rd, 1967, a tape of the Beatles performing "Hello Goodbye" was aired on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
One month earlier on November 26th it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on December 24th it peaked at #1 (for 3 weeks) and spent 11 weeks on the Top 100...
Also on the day it entered the Top 100 (Nov. 26th) it was aired on the CBS-TV program 'The Ed Sullivan Show'...
The record's B-side, "I Am The Walrus", also charted, it reached #56...
It was the 3rd Beatle record to reached #1 in the year of 1967 (the other two were "Penny Lane" and "All You Need Is Love")...
R.I.P. John and George.
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
I heard this song while on a date, and the girl I was with seemed uncomfortable listening to it. like she picked up from the song how guys sometimes are just being friendly to a girl, and they say hello to them, but the girl takes it has the guy hitting on them, and her response is metaphorically, "Goodbye." I think that made my date feel guilty.Harry - Sunnyvale, Ca
Does anyone know who came up with that last section "Hey la aloha" - if it was Paul I would say it was in keeping with his passive-aggressive personality which we see in lots of places...it might be a slightly bitchy comment on George's penchant for chanting as in we can replace "Hare Krishna" with any words we choose...?

Overall I think the song is fantastic - a profoundly simple/simply profound song. The sentiment couldn't be simpler: opposites. But the song structure is actually v complex esp once one factors in the call and response elemnt in the singing. Surely it works because it starts with the utlimately simple idea and shows you can make something v. complex with it.
David - London, United Kingdom
John and Paul were both good songwriters but ive got to say that John was the better one. I mean Paul turned out to be absolutely rubbish after the beatles broke up because there was no competition between the two.
however i like both songs.But i could tell from the video that john didnt look that enthusiastic about the song until the last part. lol
Melody - Kamakura, Japan
This song is so bouncy and fun to sing! I can't imagine why John hated it, but then again, he wasn't always the most supportive of Paul...
Anyways, love this song! =D
Allyson - Waverly, Ny
The ending where all The Beatles sing, "Hela, hey, aloha," Paul also puctuates that phrase with "hah-cha, hah-cha," - a regional India phrase that loosely interprets to OK! or Alright! or Yes! in English.Terry - Naperville, Il
YO, all the way at the bottom, Steve. A lot of John Lennon's song names were names from something in his past. For example, the song title "Strawberry Fields Forever". When John was a young boy he would play in a garden of a Salvation Army house called Strawberry Field. So it's just a memory I guess. I like to read biographies because yeah I'm nerdy like that. Also, I do not know where "I Am The Walrus" came from but I'm sure it's not random and he probably had a reason for that name.Thebeatles - Areawesome, Al
at 1:06/1:07, sounds like a wrong piano chordAnthony - Oxnard, Ca
Perhaps this song typifies the different personalities of Paul & John. In "here today" Paul indicates John would say we were worlds apart. Just a thought!Joe - Hoboken, Nj
I kind of agree with Joe from Hoboken,it could be possible that Paul was writing about his differences with John,but disguising it with his play on words.It is interesting to think of it that way.George - Belleville, Nj
I wonder if this song could be about John & Paul and how they were different from one another.Joe - Hoboken, Nj
I think this song may be about Paul & John in a subtle way.Joe - Hoboken, Nj
In my opinion,I believe Hello Goodbye made a lot of sense.The lyric is simple but effective in that there is a meaning to it.Life is filled with opposites,an action resulting in a reaction.This is classic pop song writing.The Beatles were very clever songwriters,the best in the business.There's a kind of magical charm to the song,the music,the melody,the play on words.About as catchy as it gets.George - Belleville, Nj
I am the Walrus may be > than Hello Good Buy, but Hello Goodbye > I am the Walrus. A-side vs B-side!K - Nowhere, On
I am the Walrus > Hello goodbuyNick - Seattle, Albania
the tune is sooooooo catchy its hard to get outta my head grrrrrrr....... lol....nice song..i adore this oneRahul - Chennai, India
Paul created magic with this song. It's fun but also serious.Theresa - Murfreesboro, Tn
i dont really get why people are saying this song has no meaning. ive always thought it was about how what people say and what they actually do is very different, how everyone acts like they know everything but they dont. even though it doesnt have as much poetry and pretty words as john's songs do, its not trite and meaningless. and please, people, why is everybody argueing over whos better, john or paul? you cant say which song is better, I Am the Walrus or Hello Goodbye, because theyre both great, in very different ways. the two of them were both geniuses, and they both had brilliant songs, especially together. its wierd, even though they hated each other toward the end, they somehow complemented each other well.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
John was right. It is kind of a stupid song. But it's not as stupid as I Am the Walrus.Mrcleaveland - Cleveland,
i started screaming at the tv and throwing a bit of a fit when i saw the jonas brothers singing this in a target commercial. my parents thought i was possessed, cursing at a commercial.Chloe - St. Louis, Mo
hey guys, just wanted you to remember...no matter how much you argue, "hello, goodbye" is already on the A-side and "I Am the Walrus" is already on the B-side.Sky - Boulder, Co
I have to say that I love them both. They are both are great song writers, and geniuses in music. I have memorized all of John's lyrics in "I Am The Walrus," and Paul's "Hello, Goodbye" is so catchy that it is on a Target commercial. Their songs will live forever.Lars - Sacramento, Ca
chuck chuck cha! favorite part!Talitha - Austin, Tx
John did admit that he enjoyed the "Hey-la, heyla-hello-a" bit at the end.Ken - Louisville, Ky
I guess there's no middle ground. I am (because my father was) a HUGE John Lennon fan and am flabbergasted by people who enjoy Hello, Goodbye more than I am the Walrus or Strawberry Fields. People's tastes are different, and I respect that. It's just in my opinion, HG is a crappy silly song that rhymes. IATW and SFF may not make sense to you, but H,G like Lennon said, is just a bunch of contradictions that rhyme.Jj - Brooklyn, Ny
I love this song. It's a great song written by an amazing band. The Beatles were the best thing that ever happened. John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr were the best musicians and they always we be. They made such wonderful songs and music together. And nobody will be able to match it. They were just to good of a band. I love them. They were simply just amazing. They wil be remember forever.Krissy - Boston, Ma
I remember, John hated this song. I love it, however. It's my ringtone...Ruby - Cc, Tx
This is a great song and I love the video!Shannan Sherwood - Wilmington, De
i love the part where paul sings chuck chuck cha!Kevin - Quebec, Canada
The most amazing fact about this song is......

That it was number 1 on the day i was born.
Darren - Hull, England
1) i heard that this was actually based on a bad relationship that one of the beatles had, where they couldn't agree on anything, 'the you say goodbye, i say hello' meaning that the woman broke up with whoever it was(i forget), but they wanted the relationship to lastIzzy - Buffalo, Ny
Listen everybody! "Hello Goodbye" and "I Am The Walrus" are both brilliant songs, so just stop arguing and enjoy BOTH songs.Ian - Lethbridge, Canada
True. Neither this song nor "I Am The Walrus" make any sense. But in the case of "I am the Walrus", that was the point.Joe - Lethbridge, Canada
I Am The Walrus is not better than this at all...in fact I Am The Walrus makes less sense then this songTim - Dalton, Ma
This song seems to be primarily about a breakup that is against the protagonist's wish, a recurring McCartney theme, see Yesterday, We Can Work It Out, For No One. But it's rounded out with lyrics that seem to imply that the couple disagrees constantly, perhaps even reflexively, a common problem couples have. I was annoyed that McCartney opened his US tour sets with this song because it seemed to reflect a very superficial take on his own lyrics, as if the presence of the word "Hello" superseded the actual context of the word's use in the song, where it's futiley met with "Goodbye" and all that implies. Maybe that's why Lennon hated the song, because he sensed Paul's lack of commitment to it. But, heh-heh, probably mainly because Paul got the A-side!Fyodor - Denver, Co
how can paul hate this,i meen i would be frustrated if such a good song like i am the walrus was pushed to a b-side but seriously this is 100 times better,pauls best spng.Sorry john:D:D:D:DSam - Sudbury,ontario, Canada
This song has a catchy melody and may have made it to number 1 on the charts, but only from "Beatles momentum". There are probably thirty other Beatles songs not released as singles that would have been better. Not that this is a bad song, but by Beatles standards, it is mediocre.Steve - Fenton, Mo
Ha ha. I was a DJ and this song was like a bomb from the devil! It was a good song, but if people turn on the raido and hear silence....*CLICK*.....off goes the radio!Ryan - Kansas City, Mo
I think Paul was a better musician than John, not because he was more of a musical genius, but he knew what people liked... and thats what counts!Ben - Portsmouth, England
John Lennon's pithy commet about this song - "smells a mile away, doesn't it?"Ken - Louisville, Ky
Hello Goodbye ia a great, fun song...but come on people, it doesn't take a genius to figure out I am the Walrus is by far superior. Besides, Paul and John had different styles that had wonderfunl consequences when combined...Paul is innocent romantic while John is much darker and reflexive.Nelle - Lima, Peru
"Hello, goodbye" is a very very good song. "I am the walrus" is the best Beatles' song. We all know that, right? No more discussiobns, pleaseGeorge - Itaberaba, Brazil
How did they come up with something so commonplace, so ordinary, and make it into such a great song? I mean, the outfits, the hula girls, the combination of different video tracks, and the sending it to Ed Sullivan, all to sing a song about saying hello and goodbye. Once again, a great song is birthed from literally nothing. genius.Lee - Clearwater, Fl
This song always makes me think of rape. I know how terrible that is, but I can't help thinking that...Erin - Reading, Pa
"I am the Walrus" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" are not very distinguishible into genres and radio stations tend to favor certain genres of music, such as the pop-rock sound of "Penny Lane" and "Hello Goodbye". Also, John explained that "I am the Walrus " was purposely nonsensical, but i do agree that the whole B-side thing is quite rediculous, being on the disc is being on the disc. But please dont go insulting brilliant musicians and demoting their work due to one action that you may disagree with.

"Imagine all the people, living life in peace"

P.S... "yellow matter custard, dripping from a dead dogs eye" came from a rhyme that children sang when John was a young Boy

THE BEATLES RULE!!!
Jon - Danville, Ca
If I'd written "I Am the Walrus" and it ended up as a B-Side, I'd be pretty pissed, too. I'm basically with John on this one. Paul was consistently better as a songwriter, but when the inspiration visited John he wrote the very best that came out of the Beatles.Nessie - Sapporo, Japan
The bit at the end of this where it ends for a few seconds comes back in suddenly "hayla, hay, heloha...."Jack Lee - Nottingham, England
Agreed with Xavier. Paul and John together were an unstoppable commercial and artistically pleasing team. John and Paul have both done their fair share of classic tunes, and "Hello, Goodbye" to me is just another example of Paul's excellent songwriting abilities. I can see where John is coming from, saying it is inconsequential though, because it certainly is a lot more accessable and commercial compared to the rest of the songs on Magical Mystery Tour. Nonetheless, it is an excellent pop song with a creative arrangement and one of the finest Beatles songs of 1967.Joe - West Creek, Nj
To Grey, Knoksville, TN: John never explained the lyrics to that song. Did he eat "yellow mater custard" that had dripped from a dead dog's eye when he was a boy? That would not be a childhood experience for most. I did not say that Paul had a better musical mind than John, only that John showed jealousy when Paul excelled.

Steve, Cincinnati
Steve - Cincinnati, Oh
I like BOTH "Hello Goodbye" and "I Am the Walrus". It's way time to stop that stupid war between Johnnies and Paulies. Both Lennon and McCartney were geniuses, though never as much individually as they were together.Xavier - Noisy Le Sec, France
steve from cincinnati...John wrote "I am the Walrus"...how can you say he doesn't know what the lyrics are about? He wrote it with a good buddy of his after reading some fan mail from a boy who was going to their former grammar school...the same grammar school whose headmaster said John would be a failure. Their English teacher was having them analyze Beatles lyrics to find the hidden meanings of them. John wrote this song to dumbfound little smartasses trying to figure out his work. Everything in the song...from semonlina pilchard(things he ate as a boy) to yellow matter custard(part of a rhyme he was made to say as a boy)all relate to his life in some way...to say John doesn't know what the lyrics mean is ignorant...not to mention saying anything like Paul is a better musical mind than John...thats just ridiculous...Grey - Knoxville, Tn
John Lennon talking about lyrics? Didn't he admit that he had no idea what "I Am the Walrus" was about? Hello Goodbye still stands today. Lennon always thought his songs were better. He was an egomaniac and very, very jealous of Paul's accomplishments. 35+ years later, does "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "I Am the Walrus" even come close to "Penny Lane" and "Hello Goodbye" on radio stations?Steve - Cincinnati, Oh
Paul McCartney used the infamous Rickenbacker 4001C64S Bass on this song giving it the trademark Treble punch that is present in the bass.Patrick - Durham, Nc