"Yellowmattercustard, crabalockerfishwife" may well have demonstrated more inventive wordplay than "yes-no, stop-go, high-low", but both McCartney and Martin insisted that "Hello Goodbye" was a far more commercial proposition for a 45 than Lennon's "I Am The Walrus"
. With Brian Epstein no longer around to mediate, Macca's strong-arm began to flex its muscles increasingly within the band. In fact,
You say stop,
And I say go-go-go
remains a pretty accurate description of John and Paul's whole attitude to each other and to the band in general at the time: and from that time on.
Paul's often annoying obsessiveness in the studio similarly continued to grow. Compare the single to the take on Anthology
, before the strings were added, and with George's far fierier guitar licks. 'OK, just once more, lads...' Having said that, the infectious "heyla-loha" coda is said to have been born from an improvisation during recording — which Lennon claimed to have instigated — so "goo-goo-g'joob!"
In this particular case, however, Macca's nose for a hit didn't deceive him: the single spent seven weeks as the UK chart-topper, a feat unmatched since "From Me To You"
, notching up yet another Christmas number one in the process. In America, it opened '68 on the topspot, where it sat for three weeks. He went on to use the song as the perfect if perhaps predictable opener for his Back In The World
Mighty though The Walrus was, and more enduring he may be, I'm not sure he would've cornered the market quite so effectively at the time: there were still a lot of straight-pop punters out there, for all the psychedelia of the summer that had been and gone.
Anyway, whatever the antagonisms, The Egg Man doesn't look to be having such a bad time in the promo-clip (also directed by guess who...), larking around in his Pepper
suit and, dressed as a Ted, jiving with the alleged villain of the piece — and actually shaking his hand!