John Lennon’s Influence on Keeping a Famous Line in ‘Hey Jude’

Paul McCartney, renowned as one of the creative forces behind The Beatles, recently shared insights into the making of their timeless hit ‘Hey Jude’ on his podcast titled ‘Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics’, produced by iHeartPodcasts and Pushkin. The music legend delved into the song’s origins, which were deeply intertwined with his personal experiences and relationships within the band.

During the podcast episode, McCartney reminisced about the inspiration behind ‘Hey Jude’, revealing that it was influenced by his close bond with John Lennon’s eldest son, Julian. The song’s genesis also coincided with a tumultuous period in Lennon’s life, marked by his separation from his first wife, Cynthia, as he embarked on a relationship with Yoko Ono. McCartney described how these real-life events shaped the emotional landscape of the song, infusing it with layers of personal and shared history.

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One intriguing aspect discussed by McCartney was his initial hesitation about a particular lyric in ‘Hey Jude’; he admitted that he initially considered it as mere placeholder text and intended to replace it with a more refined line. However, it was Lennon who convinced him otherwise during a crucial moment.

Recalling the interaction, McCartney recounted playing the song for Lennon and Ono for the first time. Upon reaching the disputed lyric, McCartney reassured Lennon that he would alter it, only to be surprised by Lennon’s response. Lennon, recognizing the depth and significance of the line, urged McCartney to retain it in the song.

John Lennon Hey Jude
Image Courtesy: People

‘Hey Jude’ went on to make music history by becoming the longest song to top the Hot 100 chart, with a runtime of seven minutes and 12 seconds. Beyond its chart-topping success, the song’s enduring relevance lies in its universal themes of resilience, encouragement and finding solace during challenging times.

McCartney reflected on the timeless relevance of the song’s lyrics, emphasising their continued resonance in today’s context and their ability to uplift and inspire listeners across generations.

-Sushmita Sarkar