One of the most famous, successful, hopeful and incredible songs of all time just turned 50 years old. We’re talking about The Beatles’ Hey Jude.
It’s incredible how some songs will always be relevant and remain timeless. And very cool when they become an anthem of hope. Written to comfort a little boy named Jules, Hey Jude became so much more than a lullaby.
That’s right. 5-year-old Julian Lennon was going through his parents’ John and Cynthia (when Yoko entered the picture). So Paul McCartney proceeded to write a song for John’s son, to make him feel better. Of course the song would go “hey Jules” but he decided to change it because he “thought that sounded a bit better“. Little did he know back then that this 7-minute-long piece would have such success all around the world.
Paul McCartney once told Rolling Stone:
I was going out in my car, just vaguely singing this song and it was like, ‘Hey, Jules…’. And then I just thought a better name was Jude. A bit more country and western for me.
The opening lines where “a hopeful message for Julian: ‘Come on, man, your parents got divorced. I know you’re not happy, but you’ll be OK.'”
Hey Jude has helped more than you know
Being at the top of the US charts for about nine weeks (longer than any other Beatles song),this was The Beatles’ biggest hit. And this was the band’s label, Apple Records‘ first single to be released. Also, one of John Lennon’s favorite Beatles’ songs. He’d say it was one of McCartney’s best written pieces ever, describing it as a “masterpiece”.
Hey Jude‘s lyrics have helped so many overcome painful situations, they have been sung in times of riots and war, they have brought people together. It never ceases to impress us the fact that such a long song, that has more than three minutes of “naaah-naaah-naah-na-na-na-naaaah-na-na-na-naaaah hey Jude”, can be so important.
Music critic and author Tim Riley wrote:
If the song is about self-worth and self-consolation in the face of hardship, the vocal performance itself conveys much of the journey. He begins by singing to comfort someone else, finds himself weighing his own feelings in the process. And finally, in the repeated refrains that nurture his own approbation, he comes to believe in himself.
Don’t forget to watch James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney, in which they performed Hey Jude at a local pub in Liverpool.