Beatles hit ‘Hey Jude’ nearly axed over porn concerns

The Beatles song Hey Jude was almost never a hit because the Apple label on the vinyl was considered too explicit. A newly discovered letter reveals that the band’s 1968 song, their first release on Apple Records, was almost scrapped as record executives thought the logo looked like a vagina.

The letter, dated August 28, 1968 and written by Capitol Records president Stan Gortikov, reveals distributors thought stores wouldn’t want to stock the single.

In the event, Hey Jude went on to sell 8m copies worldwide. And the logo remained.

The letter, addressed to Apple boss Ron Kass, reads: “Here’s a wild and unanticipated problem to brighten up your day. I just received a call from a very large and influential rack jobber in the western United States.

“He opened the conversation by saying, ‘Are you guys serious? Do you know what you’re doing? Do you really intend to sell products bearing the new Apple label?’

“He then stated that he felt the new Apple label was completely pornographic and actually depicted a vagina.”

“He stated that the graphic similarity was immediately noticed by all of his key employees.

“[He] doubted that many of his chain store customers would even be willing to stock and display products containing the label.”

The new document was released ahead of the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ final public performance on the roof of Apple’s headquarters in London, which took place in January 1969.

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