When you think about 60’s music, you think about The Beatles.
And When you think about The Beatles, you are probably thinking about one of their greatest songs – Hey Jude.
In this book, I will tell the background story that leads Paul McCartney to write this unforgettable master piece.
I will discuss about the instruments in the song, the lyrics and more.
I will play the cover made by Elvis Presley, and the live performance made by McCartney in 2010.
So, are you ready to take a sad song and make it better?
Our journey starts in Liverpool, UK, 1960.
Three young lads – Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison started to rock clubs in Liverpool and Hamburg.
Couple of years later, they found the missing piece of the puzzle and invited Ringo Starr to join the band.
The young band made their first International success with the hit “Love Me Do” released in 1962 in the UK and 1964 in the US.
I believe this song initiated the British Invasion.
So, Who is it Jude?
and why McCartney wrote a song about him?
1961, young Lennon was a rising star and became well known in Liverpool. His fame and personality drew a lot of attention from the British ladies.
One of those ladies, Cynthia Powell was very lucky. Lennon and her went to the same class.
After a few parties and a few drinks, Powell got pregnant, which led her and Lennon to get Married.
A boy was burn, and יקרא שמו ב UK – Julian.
Julian was the first and only son of Powell and Lennon.
Julian was born in 1963, growing up into the era of the Beatlemania. His father, spent most of his time in the studio and touring around the world.
Decades later, Julian described his relationship with his father – “Dad could talk about peace and love out loud to the world but he could never show it to the people who supposedly meant the most to him: his wife and son.”
1968, While working on the “The White Album”, John became very busy, so he suggested to his wife, Cynthia, to go on a vacation in Greece.
Coming back to the UK, on May 22nd, Cynthia found John and another girl, Yoko Ono, sitting together with white robes in their living home.
Yoko was a Japanese Artist, she first met Lennon in 1966 while working on her art exhibit in London.
Since their first meeting, a romantic relationship as began.
John and Cynthia divorced in August 1968.
Julian was only 5 years old, and his relationship with his father became even worse.
Paul McCartney and Julian had a special bond, one that Julian will describe years later as – “..Paul and I used to hang about quite a bit … more than Dad and I did. We had a great friendship going and there seems to be far more pictures of me and Paul playing together at that age than there are pictures of me and my dad”
Paul felt the sadness of Julian after his parents divorce.
Couple of months after John and Cynthia divorced, Paul visited Cynthia and Julian. Cynthia described that visit – “I was touched by his obvious concern for our (Julian and Cynthia) welfare”
On the journey back from that visit, Paul composed the song “Hey Jules”, in order to refrain the pain of Julian after his parents separation.
A Couple of days later, McCartney changed the lyrics from Jules to Jude because he thought that it will sound a bit better.
Hey Jude is all about taking a positive outlook of a sad situation.
Throughout the song, Paul is encouraging young Jude to “..Take a sad song and make it better..”.
Paul is also advising Jude to believe in love – “..You have found her, now go and get her. Remember to let her into your heart..”
After Julian grew up, he discovered that the song was written for him, he said – “It’s very strange to think that someone has written a song about you. It still touches me”
Hey Jude was recorded in July 1968 and released in August 1968.
It immediately became a hit. Reaching the top of the charts in – US, UK, Australia, Germany and 20+ more countries.
The lead vocalist of the song (and also the lead vocalist of almost all the best songs of The Beatles) is Paul McCartney.
Hey Jude is also listed in many of Best of all time Charts:
8th Place – “500 Greatest Songs of All-Time” – The Rolling Stones magazine. The highest place of The Beatles in that list.
12th Place – “Hot 100 – All Time” – Billboard
Grammys Hall Of Fame.
2nd Place – “Best Songs of All Time” – The Delite
Hey Jude is the longest track of The Beatles that reached 1’st Place on the Charts. The song lasts 07:11, almost 4 times the length of their first single “Love Me Do” lasting 02:22.
Making a song so long wasn’t a normal thing back then, but it inspired a lot of great artist to do the same, which gave birth to some of the most classis rock ballads ever written –
Stairway to Heaven (08:02) – Led Zeppelin
Hotel California (06:31) – The Eagles
Free Bird (09:08) – Lynyrd Skynyrd
The most famous cover of Hey Jude is the one that Elvis Parsley Recorded back in 1969.
You are invited to hear the cover of Elvis in the next page.
In 2010, Paul McCartney performed a live show at Hyde Park, London. You can enjoy this brilliant performance in the next page as well.
Another not so famous cover was made by Omri Canfi to his girlfriend Kim Kaminsky – if you want to hear, ask for a link 😉
Hey Jude was the first song by The Beatles that was recorded on a 8-track recording machine. A cutting-edge technology back then.
The previous single to Hey Jude was Lady Madonna. Lady Madonna was recorded on a 4-track equipment.
Listening both songs one after the other can really show the difference between the quality of the 8-track recording to the 4-track.
You are more then welcome to hear the difference yourself.
Lady Madona – 4-track Recording – (Remastered 2015):
Hey Jude – 8-track Recording – (Remastered 2015):
Nowadays, songs are being recorded mainly using computer software’s – with the ability to record up to 250 tracks.
Hey Jude instrumentation included:
Paul McCartney – Piano, Bass Guitar
John Lennon – Acoustic Guitar
George Harrison – Electric Guitar
Ringo Starr – Drums, Tambourine
36-piece orchestra including – ten violins, three violas, three cellos, two flutes, one contra bassoon, one bassoon, two clarinets, one contra bass clarinet, four trumpets, four trombones, two horns, percussion and two string basses.
A Coda (tail in Italian) is an expression in music referring to a passage in the end of the song to slowly fade the song away.
Hey Jude has one of the most famous Codas in popular music, lasting nearly four minutes long (the “na na na na na” part).
To make the Coda even better, The Beatles invited the orchestra members to clap their hands and sing along for double the price.
All 36 members agreed beside one player who said – “I’m not going to clap my hands and sing Paul McCartney’s bloody song!”
Hey Jude made some people angry when it was first released.
The reason is that Jude is also a nickname for Jewish people. One day in 1968, McCartney received a phone call from a Jewish guy, named Mr. Leon.
McCartney recalls that phone call and tells that the guy said to him – “What are you doing, how dare you do this. I’ll send my son to beat you up”. McCartney reply – “no, no, no, wait a minute, I swear to you it’s nothing like that… cool it down, it has nothing to do with that, you’ll hear when you hear the record. It’s just a name in a song.”
I believe that Hey Jude is one of the most iconic songs of the 60’s and one of the most iconic songs ever.
It broke many records and had a huge impact on the youth back then. It influenced a lot of great artists and showed a new generation of recording quality, that made every song since then sound way better.
I Believe that the world is divided to 2 kind of people, those who believe that John Lennon was the leader of The Beatles, and those that really knows The Beatles 😉
Thank you very much for reading my book.
I appreciate the time you spent reading it, I will love to hear your honest opinions and then I’ll begin to make it better.