“We had gone through a long process of trying to get permission for these Beatles songs and in those days they weren’t doing it. That changed but at that time we were trying to break the thing and get it to happen. The problem was we had some pretty good ins. We’d used some John Lennon music in “Rushmore” and Yoko Ono I always had a feeling that she’s been supportive of me, even though I don’t know her. It might be presumptuous of me to say that, but I would like to say Yoko has been supportive.
Paul McCartney had seen the movie and he said yes, but George Harrison was sick and dying. You had to get everybody to sign off and George was just not possible, no one was going to say, “Oh before you die could you please watch this movie and tell us whether we can use the music for it?” So then we got Elliott Smith. Then I thought I’d like to see if Elliott Smith could do this. He did a version but he wasn’t in a great mental or physical space at the time and it just was not a successful recording session. It was kind of a mess.
He just did “Hey Jude.” He did “Hey Jude” but he wasn’t happy with it and it didn’t really work. He wasn’t comfortable with the whole situation it seems. Then at the last minute I got asked by Mark Mothersabaugh, “Can we do this?” Mark and George Drakoulias and I, we just went in and very quickly we did the whole thing and we had good revisions and Mark just made it happen. And then it was fine. ”