The Beatles' "Hey Jude" Single Was Nearly Scrapped over Its "Pornographic" Apple Label
Capital Records raised concerns that it "actually depicted a vagina"
Published Jan 25, 2019"Hey Jude" stands as one of the Beatles' most popular singles, but as it turns out, the physical release was nearly scrapped ahead of hitting shelves over concerns the Apple Records label on the vinyl was too "pornographic."
As The Independent points out, a newly discovered letter from 1968 finds Capitol Records then-president Stan Gortikov explaining the predicament to Apple Records boss Ron Kass.
"Here's a wild and unanticipated problem to brighten up your day," Gortikov wrote. "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?'"
Gortikov writes that the distributor "then stated that he felt the new Apple label was completely pornographic and actually depicted a vagina," adding that the "graphic similarity" was "noticed by all of his key employees."
Gortikov then wrote that he "politely told him that he was a dirty old man," adding in a hand-written addendum, "I also told the man that if he couldn't play the record or sell it, he at least could fuck it."
Up above, you can judge the Apple label in question for yourself. Of course, the label was used on multiple Apple Records releases over the years and not only for "Hey Jude."
The letter, which can be viewed here, arrives ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' final public performance. As for the label, it remained unchanged, with the group's "Hey Jude" single going on to sell eight million copies worldwide.