Rick Hall owner of the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals told:
“Pickett came into the studio,” says Hall, “and I said, ‘We don’t have anything to cut.’ We didn’t have a song. Duane was there, and he came up with an idea. By this time he’d kind of broken the ice and become my guy. So Duane said, ‘Why don’t we cut “Hey Jude”?’ I said, ‘That’s the most preposterous thing I ever heard. It’s insanity. We’re gonna cover the Beatles? That’s crazy!’ And Pickett said, ‘No, we’re not gonna do it.’ I said, ‘Their single’s gonna be Number 1. I mean, this is the biggest group in the world!’ And Duane said, ‘That’s exactly why we should do it — because [the Beatles single] will be Number 1 and they’re so big. The fact that we would cut the song with a black artist will get so much attention, it’ll be an automatic smash.’ That made all the sense in the world to me. So I said, ‘Well, okay. Let’s do it.’
Hall cranked up the volume, held the receiver near the speakers, and played the recording all the way through. The guitar player, naturally, blew Jerry Wexler away. “Who is he?” Wexler asked. Hall told Wexler that Pickett called him Sky Man. He said that Sky Man was a hippie from Florida who had talked Pickett into cutting the tune. Wexler persisted. “Who the hell is he?” “Name’s Duane Allman,” Rick replied.
When Clapton first heard Allman’s solo on his car radio, he reportedly pulled over to the side of the road to listen. “I drove home and called Atlantic Records immediately,” Clapton said. “I had to know who that was playing guitar and I had to know now.”