Remember Sir Paul McCartney's Hey Jude clanger at the Olympics Star admits he 'f***** up' cue… but blames it on a 23-ton bellSir Paul, 70, performed the classic hit at the finale of film-maker Danny Boyle’s 27 million Isles Of Wonder Opening CeremonySinger says he forgot his cue after being 'deafened' by the Olympic Bell
22:33 GMT, 8 December 2012
It was an Olympian-sized clanger as Sir Paul McCartney missed his cue into Hey Jude at the Opening Ceremony of the London Games in front of a 60,000 crowd and a billion-strong TV audience.
Now the ex-Beatle has explained why it happened – blaming his mistake on reverberations from the giant Olympic bell.
Sir Paul, 70, performed at the finale of film-maker Danny Boyle’s 27 million Isles Of Wonder spectacular, moments after cyclist Bradley Wiggins sounded the 23-ton bell to formally start the Games.
'Embarrassed': Sir Paul McCartney missed his cue to start singing Hey Jude during the Opening Ceremony after getting distracted by the ringing of a huge bell over his head, pictured right, to mark the start of the games
'Time To Let It Be': Opinions were mixed over the former Beatle's performance of the classic song Hey Jude during the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games
McCartney admitted: ‘I f***** up. I was supposed to wait for a cue. But I forgot.Why Well there’s this bloody great bell that we didn’t know about. It was deafening.’
In an interview with music magazine NME, Sir Paul – who was singing live but accompanied by a prerecorded backing track – spoke of his embarrassment over the gaffe at the end of the four-hour show.
He had recorded his voice with the backing music before they went on.
The idea was that when they went live, he would sing over it, with the effect that his voice would then come across twice as strong and reach round the whole stadium.
For whom the bell tolls: British cyclist Bradley Wiggins ringing the 23-ton bell to officially mark the start of the Olympic games in London
But with the bell chiming, Sir Paul
missed his cue and began singing late, creating a two-bar delay between
his voice and the backing track.
He explained: ‘We prerecorded a playback in case all hell broke loose, but I said, “We wanna do it live.”
‘We were live, everyone was there, the world was ready and this bloody great bell goes off. And I forget I’ve gotta wait for it, so I go “Hey Jude . . .”, and someone presses the playback.
‘So there’s me on the backing track, and actual me; two of us singing.’
It seems Sir Paul is still a little confused – as a video of the performance shows that he did indeed start singing after the backing track. He added: ‘The drummer wouldn’t look at me because he was in hysterics and I was thinking, “What have I done”
‘There was no stopping, it was the Olympics.’
Afterwards, millions took to Twitter and website forums to comment on the glitch, some calling for the 70-year-old pop legend to hang up his microphone.
One wrote: ‘To see a colossus laid low by his failing powers is the stuff of Greek tragedy – but it’s doubly tragic that it should happen in front of a worldwide audience.’
Others described the performance as ‘cringe-inducing’, with another adding: ‘Time to Let It Be.’
Ironically, the mistake came just weeks after Sir Paul joked in an interview about the prospect of making just such a high-profile gaffe.
He said: ‘Generally I don’t [get nervous]. But having said that, you never quite know.
‘You can do something such as the Jubilee or the Olympics and get the old collywobbles.
‘Oh God, that’d be good, wouldn’t it Make a mistake at the Olympics!’
Last month it emerged that the Olympic bell, which was cast in Holland, had been dumped in a storage area in London’s Docklands.
Olympic organisers LOCOG had promised it would remain at the Olympic site for 200 years after the Games. It is due to be returned to the site imminently.
The show must go on: But Paul McCartney, center, continued to sing Hey Jude, which is often voted one of the best pop songs of all time after selling more than eight million copies
Not on cue: Sir Paul McCartney said he missed his cue because of the bell tolling
Bringing the show to a close: Paul McCartney's performance came at the end of Danny Boyle's 27million Isles Of Wonder Opening Ceremony