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Blue Jay Way

by

The Beatles



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

George Harrison wrote this in a house he rented in Los Angeles on a street named Blue Jay Way. He was waiting for his friend Derek Taylor when he came up with the song.
Brian Kehew, who wrote the book Recording The Beatles: The Studio Equipment and Techniques Used to Create Their Classic Albums, tells us that "Blue Jay Way" is the most impressive Beatles song in terms of engineering. Says Brian: "It has phasing, flanging, it has varied speed recording, it has tape echo. They put things through Leslies, they compressed and EQed things. It's really fascinating, and it has more stuff going on with it that's more detached from traditional classical recording or a Miles Davis record. It's more Beatles-y in that way. All the tricks that The Beatles had developed with compressing instruments and with EQing things in very strange ways are present on "Blue Jay Way."

My favorite part of it, which is really a fascinating concept, they took the track, specifically with the vocals, and then mixed it. That mix was played backwards and recorded back into the record on the multi-track, but they played it through a Leslie speaker that's spinning in the room. So occasionally during the song you hear some backwards Leslied tracks, especially vocals, swirling in and out. It's the actual song playing backwards against itself through a Leslie and then fading up and down, which is a really creative and very strange idea. I've never heard of anyone else doing something like that."
The line "Don't Be Long" is repeated 29 times.
This was used in the Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour.
The vocals, organ, and drums were played on two tape machines slightly out of sync to get the phasing effect.
When the ending is reversed, it sounds suspiciously like "Paul is bloody." This added to the "Paul is Dead" hoax. (thanks, Dominic - Pittsburgh, PA)
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Comments (47):

Coincidently, Elvis' address in Hollywood was 525 Blue Jay Way. Or was it a coincidence?
- Terry, Willmar, MN
not to be listened to in a dark room.
- Julia, milton, PA
what does the writing in the movie on the decomposed body say
- scott, arcadia, CA
I always thought it would be a good song for a horror movie. I did hear once that when George wrote the song he was very tired and suffering from jetlag. If you've ever had jetlag you would probably understand.
- Ricky, Fort Worth, TX
dear Chloe - i'm afraid it's your imagination, love ----sorry. But it is a great song.
- Micky, Los Angeles, CA
My buddy lives on Blue Jay Way in the Hollywood Hills. He has got a great view of LA from there. I love this song. It is totally overlooked.
- Jim, Long Beach, CA
We actually listened to this in my Soc Class, the Paul McCartney died in 1966 stuff, and listened to the song backwards of course along with other things. And i was trying to tell my friends about it and wanted them to listen to the sogn Blue Jay Way backwards, but am unable to find it anywhere... any help?
- Kristin, St. Louis, MO
I couldn't sleep the other night and this song kept playing in my head. Talk about EXTREME TORTURE. Ironically, it's one of my favorites by The Beatles.
- Julia, Richland, WA
The intro on this reminds me of a Cake or a Beck song...just goes to show that good things, really good things never go out of style.
- Linc, Beaumont, TX
creeeeepy song...its fantastic. is it my imagination or does it sound a bit Floyd-ish?
- chloe, St. Louis, MO
The song is based on Indian Music. The song uses the diminished 7th scale and it based on the Lydian Mode.
- ModernRocker79, Kearny, NJ
Reversed in the end IT says " Get me out! Paul is what is, Paul is Hare Krishna. It seems Paul is bloody" or "Paul's bloody"
- Jonny, Curitiba, Brazil
Get your ear phones out:
"Blue Jay Way"

"Well it only goes to show" (in backgound) "we neeed plenty in this war"
"and I told them where to go (in background} "we need plenty in this war"
- carmelo, Newtown, PA
After the line's please don't be long there is backwards drumming and reversed talking.
- Dakota, Mansfield, OH
I watched the video for this song reversed and it sounded like "Paulie is bloody" but the way his lip's are moving it doesn't seem like he's saying that?
- Dakota, Mansfield, OH
It sounds like "There's a fog upon a lake", not "There's a fog upon LA".
- Peter Griffin, Quahog, RI
paul is not flippin' dead, it's such a stupid theory. If he was, why on earth would Harrison put "paul is bloody" backwards on one of vhis songs? would you do that if your friends was dead? and why would they try and hide it anyway?
- Catherine, Glasgow, England
If u do listen to the end backwards it does say "paul is bloody" its flippin scary!
- Bianca Sanchez, Alburquerque, NM
incredible work!
- Simon, Chattanooga , TN
I love this song. George has such an amazing voice. Here is a link where u can watch a video of him sing it.
http://img.youtube.com/vi/yQ32e5vuWCc/2.jpg
- Krissy, Boston, MA
I love this song, but it creeps me out.
- Ruby, CC, TX
In 1974 I'd just moved to LA and a friend took me up the hills through a lot of short winding roads to Blue Jay Way but there was no street sign (not that we would have taken it... :-) The name was carved in the curb, instead. It must have been stolen at least a time or two... wonder where it is??
- Guy, Eugene, OR
This is a very innovative track with it's sound texture. The song is Indian influenced the mode is in Lydian very rare for a rock song, there is vocals going backward and forwards, extensive phasing on organ and vocals and the bass drone. All achieved with no Indian instruments or guitars except bass.
- joe, montvale, NJ
This one of the most progressive songs they did. It has phasing vocals and drums and foggy texture in its sound it has distorted vocals that sounds like it could come from a horror movie, reversed vocals, reversed percussion effects, distorted organ drones and a lone cello in the background and the end of the song the organ sounds like it vanishes a song that would have fit early Pink Floyd style at the time.
Sal, Bardonia, NY
- sal, bardonia , NY
When Magical mystery tour came out my cousin and I went searching for the house on Blue Jay Way and found it It's on top of the Hollywood Hills.
Beautiful View. He created this song on an Old Hammond Organ in that hous. I know just trivia
- FRANK, LAS VEGAS, NV
Class song, great to listen too smoking a joint.
- Martin, Newcastle, England
Don't forget "Back in the USSR"
- Christina, Chandler, AZ
Each of the 4 Beatles has written exactly one song named after a specific place ("The Long And Winding Road" doesn't count), be it factual or fictional. This is George's. John's is Strawberry Fields Forever, Paul's is Penny Lane, and Ringo's is Octopus's Garden.
- Ian, Lethbridge, Canada
I LoVe this song AnD George Harrison
- Monica, San Francisco, CA
I looooooooove this song! George rocks! Being my complete and total favorite, any of his songs are awesome, but this one is especially cool. "Magical Mystery Tour", the movie, has this on it, along with a cool video to suit it. I love everything about the song, and George is definitely the one to sing it! Go Georgie!
- Sylvia, London, England
This is a great song. When he sings "Don't be long" this could be a clever play on words... don't be long could become don't belong.
As if he's saying he doesn't belong. just a thought!
- Kalissa, New York City, NY
word has it George was waiting for a friend to show up with some pot.
It is way up in the hills above Beverly Hills and is hard to find. great city view from up there.
- steve, LA, CA
A very underrated song, it's amazing. M.M.T is a great album!
- George, Itaberaba, Brazil
This was one of two Beatles songs to be named after a street. The other was Penny Lane, also on Magical Mystery Tour (remember 'Abbey Road' was an album). Also, I think "don't be long" is a play on words, b/c he could also be saying "don't belong." It's past his bedtime, he'd really like to go, he feels he doesn't belong.
- Hank, Hillsborough, NJ
a very trippy song, it sometimes freaks me out i'm serious!but good never the less
- Arman, San Diego, CA
Trippy...love it.
- Nelle, Lima, Peru
I just played it backwords, and it dosn't say "Bloody" but it sounds like it says Paul... All these backwords rumors are giving me a headache... All I can really say is listen to songs forwards...
- Nick, Solvang, CA
Wait, so the headless torso was Paul, then did that mean Paul was some how deapitated? I think this Paul is dead stuff is getting old.
- Nathan, Defiance, OH
I agree! I think it's very much overlooked, and it's a great psychedelic song! It's one of George's best!
- Stefanie magura, Rock Hill, SC
In the sequence for this song on Magical Mystery Tour, George is sitting in front of a projection of what appears to be a man's headless torso. Many regard this as another Paul is Dead clue. Watch the movie yourself and see what you think it is.
- Angelica, La Puente, CA
I agree with Patrick and Ben, and I'm from Durham too....go duke!
- Nader, Durham, NC
Yeh,once i recorded myself saying "dont be long",played it backwards and it does indeed sound like "Paul Is Bloody".creepy...
- Scott Baldwin, Edmonton, Canada
That "Paul is bloody" message on this song is bull. On Revolution 9 however, if you play the number 9 part backwards, it says "turn me on, dead man," as if in answer to "I'd love to turn you on" from A Day in the Life. When you realise that the LPs would be checked forwards and backwards so that any unwanted sounds could be taken off, it seems suspicious that this message wasn't taken off the final cut by someone in charge of such matters.
- Mike, London, England
Hehehe, yeah, psychedelics are great.
- Ian, Urbana, IL
I love this song. It is my favorite George Harrison Beatle era song. I agree it is overlooked.
- Tyson, Ruidoso, NM
i totally agree w/ patrick. this song is a great example of psychadelic music and should be credited more.
- ben russell, durham, NC
This is one of the most overlooked psychadelic Beatle episodes and deserves more credit than it recieves. It is the exact same droning resonant trancelike music that is seen in raves now adays. It had alot of influence whether people acknowledge it or not.
- Patrick, Durham, NC
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