About The Song

“Hey Jude” was officially released in August of 1968 during a period of personal turmoil for the band. Lennon had just left his wife, Cynthia Powell, for Yoko Ono who he would later marry in 1969, which caused upheaval within the Beatles as well as Lennon’s family.

McCartney, witnessing this emotional shift in his partner’s life, began to write “Hey Jude” for Lennon’s son, Julian Lennon. “​​I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules,’ which was Julian, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces,” McCartney is recorded to have said in a 1997 biography written by Barry Miles.

Knowing the meaning behind the lyrics, it becomes apparent who McCartney is addressing. And anytime you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain, / Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders. / For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool / By making his world a little colder, McCartney sings.

With familial kindness, the lyrics of “Hey Jude” comfort Lennon’s young son and remind him that love is not something to fear. Hey Jude, don’t let me down. / You have found her, now go and get her. / Remember to let her into your heart, / Then you can start to make it better, McCartney continues to sing to Julian.

The Beatles’ ballad was originally titled “Hey Jules” to more directly address Julian, but McCartney later changed the song to “Hey Jude” to fit the sonic direction.

With either interpretation of the classic anthem, “Hey Jude” remains a shining masterpiece from the Lennon-McCartney era. The track was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of American (RIAA) in September of 1968 after topping the charts. “Hey Jude” was also been dubbed one of the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll” by the Rock & Roll Hall Fame in 2004.

Video

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