Hey Jude (7:05)

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“Hey Jude” is a song by the English rock band The Beatles that was recorded in 1968. Originally titled “Hey Jules”, the ballad was written by Paul McCartney—and credited to Lennon/McCartney—to comfort John Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce. “Hey Jude” begins with a verse-bridge structure based around McCartney’s vocal performance and piano accompaniment; further details are added as the song progresses to distinguish sections. After the fourth verse, the song shifts to a fade-out coda that lasts for more than four minutes.

“Hey Jude” was released in August 1968 as the first single from The Beatles’ record label Apple Records. Over seven minutes in length, “Hey Jude” was at the time the longest single ever to top the British charts. It also spent nine weeks as number one in the United States—the longest run at the top of the American charts for a Beatles single. The single has sold approximately eight million copies and is frequently included on professional lists of the all-time best songs.

Inspiration and composition

In 1968, John Lennon and his wife Cynthia Lennon separated due to his affair with Yoko Ono. Soon afterwards, Paul McCartney drove out to visit Cynthia and Julian, her son with Lennon. “We’d been very good friends for millions of years and I thought it was a bit much for them suddenly to be persona non gratae and out of my life,” McCartney said. Later, Cynthia Lennon recalled, “I was truly surprised when, one afternoon, Paul arrived on his own. I was touched by his obvious concern for our welfare… On the journey down he composed ‘Hey Jude’ in the car. I will never forget Paul’s gesture of care and concern in coming to see us.”


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