Hey Jude

Stories

ByTheMinMusic

Hello all! Anyone who knows or follows me on Twitter knows that I am a Beatles nut so when I noted that this year would be the 50th anniversary of The Beatles releasing probably their most well-known hit, I thought I had to do a story on that! I have also done retro pieces on Sgt Pepper’s and Lady Madonna. Hope you enjoy it.

The story starts in 1968 when Paul McCartney visited John Lennon's ex-wife Cynthia and their son Julian. John and his first wife Cynthia had only recently divorced. On the way to visiting Julian and Cynthia he started forming words in his brain as if he was talking to Julian which were “Hey Jules, don’t take it bad, take a sad song and make it better”, so the song was originally entitled “Hey Jules” but “it seemed a bit a mouthful, so I changed it to Jude.”

Paul had nearly finished it but there was a part in it he didn’t like which was the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder.” He played it to John and Yoko (John’s new girlfriend and future wife) and when he got to this said line he said to John “I’ll fix that” and John asked “what?” and Paul replied saying that he had already used the word shoulder once in the song, the line was stupid and the line sounded like a parrot so he’d remove it but John replied “You won’t you know. That’s the best line in the song. I know what it means, ‘the movement you need is on your shoulder.’” This took Paul aback but he kept it in as per John’s request.

Paul said: “That was the great thing about John, whereas I would have knocked that line out. So that is the line now, when I do that song where I think of John, sometimes get a little emotional.”

As I have already explained, the song’s roots came via John’s son Julian but you could definitely see why John (who adored this song) thought it was about himself because a couple of lines don’t make sense for them to be about Julian, such as: “You were made to go and get her” – That has to be about John and Yoko

One verse confuses me as one part seems, to me anyway, to be Paul talking to John about Yoko: “You have found her, now go and get her” However, the last two lines of that verse: “Remember to let her into your heart Then you can start to make it better” …sounds like Paul talking to Julian about Cynthia and about the aftermath of the divorce and how they can help each other get through this tough phase of their lives.

Then there’s this verse: “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” The first and last lines make more sense, to me, if they’re about John and Yoko. The first line especially is Paul saying to John that I know this won’t last forever and you’ll need someone new soon to be there when it goes wrong, and that person is Yoko.

I can’t see how that could be about Julian but this is conjecture on my part, maybe I’m wrong. I can get very analytical about lyrics, perhaps too much so. Here’s Paul talking about that line:

Music guru Paul Gambaccini described the song succinctly: “It’s pure Paul.” The song was a huge hit, number one in the UK for two weeks and for nine weeks in the US. The song has become a staple of Paul’s performances over the years and is a fan’s favourite due to its incredible sing-alongability.

The B-Side to this single was Revolution. Revolution started out as an acoustic number and that version is on the White Album. John wanted to release the song but was told “it’s too slow” but they worked on it and a faster version was recorded and this was the result: