Hey Jude

29 Apr



September, 1968.

Debuts on the U.S. “charts” and goes to #1 in two weeks. Spending 19 weeks on the charts and 9 at #1, Hey Jude sold over 8 million copies world-wide, making it the top selling Beatles’ single of all time. It held the #1 spot longer than any other Beatles single in the U.S. and is the longest song to occupy the #1 slot — 7 minutes, 11 seconds.

Hey Jude was recorded in 25 takes in two nights at the Abbey Road Studios — July 29th & 30th, 1968. The song was completed on August 1st, adding the 36 piece orchestra providing the long refrain, that was actually written by George Martin, their Apple producer. Here is some rehearsal video from the making of Hey Jude.

Hey Jude Rehearsal Video

Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey, Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better.

And any time you feel the pain, hey, Jude, refrain
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
Well don’t you know that its a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

Hey, Jude! Don’t let her 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.

So let it out and let it in, hey, Jude, begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you, hey, Jude,
You’ll do, the movement you need is on your shoulder

Hey, Jude, don’t make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Na, Na, Na, Na Na Na Na Na, Na, Na, Na, Na….Hey Jude….


As explained by Paul McCartney himself in the Beatles’ Anthology (@ 4:35 mark), Hey Jude was written for and about Julian Lennon, John Lennon’s then 5 year old son. Paul felt for the lad as his parents were going through a divorce. This song was written by Paul on a drive up to see Julian and his mother, Cynthia. It was meant to be a message of hope….not to give up. McCartney said the song was “a hopeful message for Julian: ‘Come on, man, your parents got divorced. I know you’re not happy, but you’ll be OK.'” The song was originally “Hey, Jules” for Julian, but McCartney felt that Jude was a stronger name. Initially, the famed line of “the movement you need is on your shoulder” was to be taken out as Sir Paul didn’t feel that it fit and was redundant (he uses shoulder previously in the song). Lennon strongly opposed taking it out saying “it’s the best line in the song and I get it what it means”. Presumably, Lennon thought that the song was more directed at him and Julian was the needed movement on his shoulder, i.e., to pay attention to his child as much as his causes.

Beautifully written lyrics and music, made for the perfect mix and the right “movement”. There are many theories about the lyrics and who “her” is. I think Paul meant that to be Cynthia Lennon, telling the little boy to “let her into your heart”…his Mom, that is. Others have said that he was speaking of Yoko Ono, but I don’t think so. The recording was completed in early August, 1968 and was released as a single on August 26th.


Here is the promotional video of The Beatles’ performing Hey Jude on David Frost’s show.


Hey Jude – David Frost 1968


Hey Jude is often thought of as having been a part of The White Album, but in fact, is not on that compilation even though it was recorded during the time The White Album was being recorded. Amazingly, the only two albums that Hey Jude appear on is Hey Jude, which was renamed from Beatles Again and released in the U.S. only. This album included other songs like Don’t Let Me Down and Lady Madonna. In 1973, Hey Jude was also included in the Greatest Hits album 1967-1970.


The cover art for Hey Jude was from the last official photo shoot of The Beatles. In so many ways, Hey Jude was the beginning of the end.

TODAY’S TRIVIA: The “B” side of Hey Jude is Revolution.

Lennon felt that Revolution should also be released as a single as he felt that it’s message was of strong meaning, a way for them to “say” something about the tumultuous times. The other three felt that Revolution was “too slow” and therefore relegated the song to the B side of Hey Jude.


Hey Jude is probably my favorite Beatles’ tune. I saw Paul McCartney 13 or 14 years ago at The Superdome in New Orleans and he did many Beatles’ tunes, but he (and the crowd) took it to a new level on Hey Jude. Rolling Stone named it #8 on the Top 500 singles of all time. It holds a special place for me and is certainly one of my “Top 10”. My son’s middle name is Jude (for the saint, not the song– well, maybe just a little) so the song has extra-special meaning for us now. There are some really awesome versions and covers of this song out there, so I thought I’d include a few.

Royal Albert Performance for Monserrat with Various Artists including: Elton John, Sting, Phil Collins, Carl Perkins, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Buffett, Marc Knopfler & others.

Ella Fitzgerald at Montreux 1969

Duane Allman & Wilson Pickett in Muscle Shoals
Duane Allman convinced Wilson Pickett to record this in Muscle Shoals while they were waiting for workers to come back from lunch in town where neither were welcomed during those times. Pickett went on to perform Hey Jude with the Bee Gees, as well.

Phantom Planet & Maroon 5


and finally, a couple of humorous versions…..

Japanese Version

Hugh Laurie….yes, “House”

TODAY’S TRIVIA PART DEUX: Interestingly, Hey Jude never garnered any major music award, despite being The Beatles’ biggest hit. The song was nominated for three Grammys, losing out to Up, Up, & Away by The Fifth Dimension.





22 responses to “Hey Jude

  1. shrewspeaks

    April 30, 2007 at 10:53 am

    Ahhhh the Beatles. MM you are tapping into my heart now.

    Hey Jude – what is so beautiful about this song is the lyrics acknowledge that people feel so alone and alienate others when they struggle yet we are not alone. Even the chorus of Na na na hey hey’s at the end grow and swell to be a community singing to one person’s pain. It really is a brilliant song…I love driving and singing to this (ultimately ending with raspy Hey, Judy! Judy-Judy – Judy Judy…LOOK OUT!) as somehow I feel apart of some hopeful plea.

    MM – for future, please consider a post on “Hey, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away”.

  2. music maven

    April 30, 2007 at 11:11 am

    John Lennon throws out an expletitive in Hey Jude. Anyone know where it is?

  3. jenfera

    April 30, 2007 at 12:23 pm

    Can’t say I ever noticed the expletive, MM. My mom was a huge Beatles fan and I learned a lot about them through her. I can still picture all those old, original Beatles albums that were in our cabinets. They might have been worth a lot of money today if one of our cats hadn’t have gotten to them and used them as a litter box.

    For some reason when I hear Hey, Jude I always think of a totally inconsequential scene from Mork & Mindy (actually, they were all inconsequential, weren’t they?) where Mindy apologizes for being late arriving somewhere. She says it’s because Mork won’t get out of the car until the very last “Na na na na na na na” of Hey Jude.

    p.s. – MM, I wrote up my experience in Memphis on my blog. (click on my name) We did end up going to Rendezvous. Now I have to get back & try Corky’s!

  4. shrewspeaks

    April 30, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    Ummm by the way…LOVE Hugh!

  5. shrewspeaks

    April 30, 2007 at 2:29 pm

    Okay…I am at work and can’t crank it…so i can’t find Johnny’s nasty noise in the song.

  6. brc

    April 30, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Great tune. And the rehearsal footage is so cool… to see the creative process in action. Also, thanks for sharing what you know about the lyrics. I always wondered what it was about. I’m curious why you think the “her” is Cindy and not Yoko?

    It was interesting to hear the different interpretations of the song. The Royal Albert performance was fantastic! I love it when Paul wails on the “Don’t you know that it’s just you…” part. Ella is very powerful, but I so love the melody of this song and it gets lost in her version. I love, love, love the Wilson Pickett/Duane Allman take on the song… very raw.

    Now flog me with a wet noodle, but who are Phantom Planet and Maroon 5 and shouldn’t they be in school? I’m curious about the Elvis version… is that really him? There are glimmers of him in that voice, but unless he had a really bad cold, I’m not convinced that was the real deal.

    In this case I’d have to say there’s nothing like the original (though the Japanese version is quite entertaining)!

    As an aside. my mom says that when the Beatles would perform on TV I used to stand in front of the television set and say “my Paul, my Paul.”
    MM you had mentioned in your Sinatra post that you would like to be able to travel through time — I’d love to go back in time and see the Beatles in their prime. Maybe I’d wear a short dress, go go boots, cut my hair in a bob and put on some blue eye shadow. Naaaa I could never pull it off.

  7. music maven

    April 30, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    brc — My thoughts on the “her” being Cynthia is because Paul has said that he drove up to see Julian and Cynthia when he heard of the divorce. Given that, Yoko was pretty “new” on the scene and I doubt that Paul would have been trying to get Julian to like Yoko as he didn’t like her himself, nor did he really have “a dog in the fight”. If this had been after a few years, maybe…but not when it was this “fresh”. We’re talking about a 5-year old at this time, so I think that he was likely writing about not acting out against your mother because your father isn’t there any more….which is a typical reaction of a child going through a divorce. (Just call me Dr. Music Maven.)

    I’m all about the Wilson Pickett/Duane Allman version, but the other covers are more karaoke-ish. I do think that is Elvis, just not a very good recording of it. Like you, I think that the Royal Albert Hall performance RAWKS! I often wonder if The Beatles ever though that Hey Jude would be their best-seller.

  8. shrewspeaks

    April 30, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    I just rewatched the Royal Albert…you know, this song inspirartion being a 5 year old and the joyous tone employed here just seems so right.

  9. shrewspeaks

    April 30, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Okay…I usually like Shirley Bassey but I must say her version is a crme against humanity.

  10. Dingo

    April 30, 2007 at 6:29 pm

    The Beatles. The best band ever for an assortment of reasons not the least being…it was the right time. Period. Talk about fate and timing. The world was ready for them. The things going on in the world then just begged for a revolution in music and in other avenues as well. To be 11 years old sitting on the floor some 3 feet away from the TV screen waiting not so patiently for The Beatles to appear on The Ed Sullivan show and when they did I shook all over and cried while my poor mother looked on in puzzlement from me to the TV. I hadnt cried like that while seeing a performance save one time seeing Elton John and then recently, watching AI and the “T” man. It awoke in me emotions I thought had long been buried.

    Of COURSE, the “best” beatle was George Harrison. Just say yes Dingo, your right. It’ll save you a lot of grief lol.

    Thanks DD, awesome.

  11. brc

    April 30, 2007 at 7:05 pm

    Um Dingo… I gotta go with Paul on dat “best Beatle” thing!

  12. Rich

    April 30, 2007 at 10:22 pm

    Hey Jude was good, but I think Eleanor Rigby was the first song that really made me a Beatles fan. In the summer of 1966, my family took a trip back to western NY and I can remember listening to Eleanor Rigby (Aug 1966) and Donovan’s Sunshine Superman (July 1966) on the radio. Both were recorded at Abbey Road Studio.

  13. Hickstyeria

    May 1, 2007 at 12:04 am

    Nice pick DD. I have this plus ‘Let It Be’ and ‘Eleanor Rigby’ on my Ipod and I never tire of hearing them. I remember as a child singing ‘Penny Lane’ quite a bit too.

    Years ago, I worked in the offices next door to Paul’s office/empire and would sometimes see him and Linda as they arrived or departed. Paul and Linda certainly always had time for the fans that would appear. One day, returning from lunch, I caught Paul and Kenney Jones of the Small Faces having a laugh and a joke outside the door to Paul’s offices. Whatever it was, was cracking them up and it made me smile too.

    Oh and Dingo, I always thought George was cute too. ‘My Swwet lord’ makes the occasional appearance on my Ipod as well….

  14. music maven

    May 1, 2007 at 6:37 am

    If we’re talking George Harrison, I’d have to go for “Here Comes The Sun” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

    They dynamic between, he, his wife Patti and Eric Clapton is fascinating, as well.

    I wouldn’t claim a favorite as I like them all — kind of like children, the same but different.

  15. Dingo

    May 1, 2007 at 9:08 am

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhh, Sunshine Superman by Donovan!

    DAMN yer OLD! lmao. Boy did that trigger a lot of memories!

    DD, pfffftttttt. You can pick one alright but like a good mother, you tell everyone ya love them ALL the same. Baloney. Now spill the damn beans.

    High 5’s to Hicksteria and pokes brc in the eye. Paul was too much of a cupie doll. Now repeat after me, George was the BEST Beatle. SAY IT!

    LOL, I need coffee bad.

  16. Althea

    May 1, 2007 at 12:01 pm

    To me, John was the better musician and song writer, but Paul had the best voice. I love the Beatles but I never have quite forgiven Paul for that monstrosity, “Ebony and Ivory.”

  17. music maven

    May 1, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    I like certain things about each and DON’T LERVE one more than the other…for example:

    Ringo — I love his self-effacing humor, but his musicality not so much.

    John — Love and respect his musical talent, compassion and overall rebellioness, but didn’t like his nastiness and Yoko-ness.

    George — Think he’s the best “talent” in the bunch but he never put himself out there. Also, he let Clapton steal his wife.

    Paul — The most well rounded in personality and musicality. Great family guy and shrewd businessman, but I can’t quite get past the Vegan thing as well as “Ebony & Ivory” AND “Silly Love Songs”. And, no pre-nup? How stupid.

    So, Dingo, I still refuse to pick a “favorite”.

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

  18. shrewspeaks

    May 1, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    George Martin is my favorite Beatle

  19. Dingo

    May 1, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    So, Dingo, I still refuse to pick a “favorite”.

    The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

    Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh, that was gooodddddd. Thats not fair! But when yer right, yer right.

    Hey, maybe George didnt WANT his wife so he LET stinkleface steal her.

    Dont get me goin’. Ahm an old woman.

  20. music maven

    May 1, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Clapton is a god…period.

    George & Eric…Together Again

    George Harrison was quoted as saying (paraphrasing): “Eric didn’t steal Patti, really, as I was done with her. I think that it always pissed Eric off that it really didn’t bother me. I think he wanted it to bother me, but it didn’t.”

  21. Dingo

    May 1, 2007 at 5:25 pm

    OK, I’ll say it. I never liked Clapton ‘cept when he was in Cream.

    Aside from “Into The Mystic”, “Badge” may be argueably one of the best songs ever recorded. All in MHO of course.

  22. RedRoseSpeedway

    October 11, 2007 at 10:56 am

    Althea: I would argue that Paul was the better musician because he can literarly pick up any instrument and in a matter of hours he’s playing it. I don’t think John could do that. I’ve seen/read about Paul playing drums, guitar, bass, moog synthesizer, piano, mandolin, ukelele, french horn, and a various assortment of wind instruments, including some weird sounding nose flute.

    I do respect John’s talent however, which I think was enormous, but I just like Paul better.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: