Behind The Songs -Blog 6

Hey Jude – The Beatles

Although ‘Hey Jude’ is credited to Lennon-McCartney the song was written entirely by McCartney which he started while driving over to visit Lennon’s recently divorced first wife Cynthia and son Julian. As McCartney is quoted as saying ” I went over to see them because I wanted to let them know just because John was out of their life I wasn’t going to ignore them. After all, I’d been friends with Cyn for 10 years and had known Julian all his life”. Indeed it can be argued McCartney was sometimes more of a father figure to Julian than Lennon. McCartney knew how to play with children whereas Lennon was not a ‘natural’ parent – not at that stage anyhow. The song was intended to comfort Julian about his parents separation. Originally called ‘Hey Jules’, McCartney changed it to ‘Hey Jude’ because he thought it sounded better. When McCartney had nearly completed the song he nervously took it over to play for Lennon. He was worried Lennon would see it as a shot at Yoko Ono. Lennon loved the song but McCartney said he would change the line “the movement you need is on your shoulder” because he thought it didn’t make sense. Lennon’s reply was “you won’t change it, it’s the best line in it”. After a number of recordings the version The Beatles liked the best went for seven minutes. Producer George Martin, who wanted to release the song as a single protested under the grounds that radio stations wouldn’t play a song that long. Lennon replied “They will because it is us !”. Lennon was right and Hey Jude became The Beatles biggest selling single and held the number position on the UK charts for 12 weeks and the USA for 9 weeks. It also went number one in Australia, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Canada and Japan. Rolling Stone magazine ranked Hey Jude the eight greatest song in the history of rock and roll music.

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