Even though the Beatles hired a film crew to document the 1969 recording sessions for what would become their final album, 1970's Let It Be, it's uncommon to see studio footage of the band at work before that time.
Which is why the official "Hey Bulldog" music video is so unique.
The February 1968 footage seen in the clip was originally utilized in the "Lady Madonna" promotional video, until someone (perhaps a talented lip reader or two) noticed the band was actually recording "Hey Bulldog" (The band recorded both songs during the same sessions). The footage was later (as in, years later) re-cut to fit "Hey Bulldog," one of many standouts from the Yellow Submarine soundtrack album.
If you're into the Beatles' gear, you'll appreciate this clip. While John Lennon's ubiquitous Epiphone Casino makes an appearance or two (as does Paul McCartney's Rickenbacker 4001S), the real star is George Harrison's 1964 cherry-finish Gibson SG, which you can see in the photo above.
And then there's that stinging guitar solo. Its authorship has been up to debate over the years; some say it recalls McCartney’s impressive performance on “Taxman,” while some say it was Lennon, since he's shown with the SG from time to time (and certainly could pull it off)—but engineer Geoff Emerick says it was definitely played by Harrison.
“[It was] one of the few times he nailed it right away,” Emerick wrote in his 2006 memoir, Here, There and Everywhere. “His amp was turned up really loud, and he used one of his new fuzz boxes, which made his guitar absolutely scream.”
Officially, the jury is still out.
Anyway, with its infectious riff and the Beatles’ tremendously confident handling of the song, “Hey Bulldog” could have easily been selected for either side of a single release. Surprisingly, it languished in the vault at Abbey Road for another year until turning up on (and in) Yellow Submarine. Such were the Beatles’ musical riches that they could afford to let a gem like this gather dust.
Below, we've included the official Vevo "Hey Bulldog" promo video followed by a brand-new clip, "The Story Behind 'Hey Bulldog'." It's a very well-made 12-minute documentary dedicated to the song and its promo video. Enjoy!