The Beatles – Hey Jude (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)

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It is no exaggeration to say that The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” changed the history of music. At 7 minutes and 11 seconds, it was one of the longest songs to ever air, despite warnings from Beatles management that radios might not air it. John Lennon just said, “They will if it’s us …” So the story was forever changed, paving the way for other long-running productions such as Don McLean’s “American Pie” and even Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

Released on August 26, 1968 and included on the band’s 1970s compilation album, “Hey Jude” has become one of the Beatles’ most iconic tracks. The song also performed very well on the charts despite the extended runtime. The song peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 for 9 weeks and became the best-selling song in many countries including the US, UK, Canada and Australia in its week-long debut. exit. By 1999, the song had sold over 8 million copies worldwide according to the RIAA and continues to sell today. The song was also the most downloaded track on Apple Music when The Beatles’ catalog was finally listed on the music streaming service in 2010.

“Hey Jude” is ranked # 8 on Rolling Stones Magazine’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” list, the highest-ranked Beatles song on the list. The song was inducted into the “500 Songs That Shaped Rock & Roll” by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and also into the “Grammy Hall of Fame” by the Recording Academy.

Inspiration and Story Behind The Beatles’ “Hey Jude”

The 7-minute composition was a gift from Paul McCartney to John Lennon’s then 5-year-old son Julian Lennon. John Lennon was divorcing his then-wife Cynthia Lennon in May 1968. Lennon was starting a new life with Japanese artist Yoko Ono. Understanding how stressful this situation could be for young Julian, Paul McCartney came up with the idea for this song when he went to see Julian. Cynthia fondly remembers her visit and the song; “I was touched by his obvious concern for our well-being… During the drive, he dialed ‘Hey Jude’ in the car. I will never forget Paul’s gesture of care and concern when I come to see us.

The song had the original title of “Hey Jules” to match Julian’s name. However, McCartney changed him to “Jude” because he thought it “sounded better.”

Julian talked about the song in Steve Turner’s book “The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song”, “Paul and I used to hang out a bit – more than dad and me… There seem to be a lot more pictures of me and Paul playing at this age than me and dad.” It surprises me every time I hear the song. It’s weird to think that someone wrote a song about you. It still touches me.

The Beatles recorded a “promotional film” for the visuals for “Hey Jude” in September 1968. This performance included live vocals by an orchestra. Take a look below.

Listen to “Hey Jude” by The Beatles


Download “Hey Jude” on Apple Music and Amazon
Buy ‘The Beatles: White Album (Super Deluxe) on Apple Music and Amazon

The song begins with the first and second verse as an attempt to console 5 year old baby Julian. Paul McCartney tries to tell Julian that everything will be fine and that his new mom, Yoko Ono, would be as good as Cynthia. Paul suggests that Julian give it a chance, “let it get into your heart” and “leave it under your skin”, and you’ll be fine. John Lennon was moving forward with his divorce from Cynthia, no matter how it affected the people around him. Julian claims John was not a very good father growing up. Paul McCartney was more of a father to him than John ever was.

However, John Lennon performed this song as Paul McCartney speaking to him; “But I always heard it as a song for me. If you think about it… Yoko has just entered the scene. He said, ‘Hey, Jude – hey, John.’ I know I sound like one of those fans reading stuff there, but you can hear it like a song to me. The words “go out and get her” – unconsciously he was saying: Go ahead, leave me. “ – John Lennon (1980)

In the first bridge of the song, Paul continues to sing to Julian that he is not alone in the world. He doesn’t have to carry the whole burden of the world on his shoulders, he has the Beatles there to help him through this difficult time and ahead. But neither does Julian have to internalize all of his problems as if nothing had happened. Either way, there are people to help him.

the third verse of “Hey Jude”, is probably the main reason why John Lennon imagined this song to be written for him and his new wife Yoko Ono. Paul McCartney is heard asking about the song to go lock her up and find her. Considering the timing of this song, when John Lennon switched to Yoko Ono, you can see how John could have misinterpreted the song. In essence, Paul was telling Julian that he had found an equally good mother. Of course, Paul had no way of knowing for sure. But he was just trying to make the best of a worse situation.

the second bridge contains the “best line” of the song according to John Lennon. In the “Beatles Anthology” Paul McCartney spoke of the lyrics “The movement you need is on your shoulder”; “I was in the upstairs music room when John and Yoko came to visit me and they were right behind me over my right shoulder, standing, listening as I played them, and when I arrived. to the line, ‘The movement you need is on your shoulder,’ I looked over my shoulder and said, “I’m going to change that, it’s kinda shabby. I was just trying to change that. to block it, ”and John said,“ You won’t, you know. That’s the best line! ‘”

“Let him out and let him in” could be a reference to how Julian has to let go of his current mother and adjust to the new mother.

the fourth and last line of the song is a repeat of the first verse except for the last line which repeats the word “best”. There is also an infamous Easter egg hidden in this verse when Paul McCartney shouts a swear word. There are several theories as to why Paul had to shout that swear word during the recording, which they couldn’t extract from the song. Listen carefully to the uncensored expletive below.

the outro from “Hey Jude” is yet another remarkable musical work. There is an endless repetition of vocalization with the sound “na na na” with the occasional “hey Jude” mixed in. This outro is longer than the rest of the song.

Let us hear your thoughts and memories of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” in the comments below. Discover more detailed song reviews on this blog and share this article with your friends.

Check out the song’s full lyrics on Genius.

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