On February 26, 1970, Capitol Records released The Beatles "Hey Jude" album in the U.S. and other countries, but not England and most British territories. It was a compilation album of ten songs not issued on previous albums in America, going all the way back to the early days of Beatlemania for "I Should Have Known Better" and "Can't Buy Me Love," the pre-psychedelic single "Paperback Writer"/"Rain," and including the relatively recent title track and also "Revolution." Typically, English Beatles' albums had up to 14 songs on them, while U.S. records only included 10 or 11, the stateside record label squeezing some extra albums out for American consumers (Capitol-ism?). In the process, some of these singles-only releases ended up without a home on an Lp, so this record collected those.
"Hey Jude" came out between "Abbey Road" (released Sept. 26, 1969) and the 'final' album "Let it Be" (released May 8, 1970) and was Capitol Records' way to keep the Liverpool 'gravy train' running before the famous band wound it up for good. Interestingly, the original title of the album was "The Beatles Again," but some suits in the boardroom changed their minds and decided the record should be titled after the Beatles massive 1968 hit single "Hey Jude" instead. Accordingly, hundreds of thousands of the first pressed copies, with the words 'The Beatles Again'; written across the familiar Apple logo on the vinyl were sold, leading to a lot of confusion since the record jacket had "Hey Jude" printed on it.
Gradually, copies of "Hey Jude" dried up when Capitol Records stopped pressing the vinyl as the age of the compact disc emerged in the mid to late-80's. In March of 1988, two new CD's entitled "Past Masters Volume 1 and 2" were released, which compiled all the American singles that had never made it onto a U.S. album, rendering "Hey Jude" obsolete.
The original album was a success, though, reaching #2 on the U.S. album sales chart and shifting 4-million copies. Beatles fans never stopped clamoring for a CD release, at least to complete their digital collections. Finally in 2014, their wish was granted when as Capitol re-issued the Beatles American catalog.
One final note - the front and back covers show the members of the Beatles in their final photo shoot together. It happened at John Lennon's estate in Tittenhurst Park on August 22, 1969. By the way, no one in the band looked particularly happy to be standing next to the others.