Paul McCartney carrying a young Julian LennonOriginally titled “Hey Jules”, Paul McCartney wrote “Hey Jude” in an attempt to comfort Julian Lennon, John and Cynthia’s son, during their divorce. In 1968, John and Cynthia Lennon separated due to his affair with Yoko Ono. Sometime after this, McCartney drove out to visit Julian and Cynthia. Later, Cynthia 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.”

About the original title of the song, Paul McCartney said, “I started with the idea ‘Hey Jules’, which was Julian, don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces … I had the idea [for the song] by the time I got there. I changed it to ‘Jude’ because I thought that sounded a bit better.”

It would be almost twenty years after McCartney wrote the song that Julian would discover that it had been written for him. He remembered being closer to McCartney than to his own father: “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.”

18 Responses to “Whom did Paul McCartney write “Hey Jude” for?”

  1. fiona Says:

    I never knew that.. I love the song Hey Jude and never really understood the lyrics. thanks for the insight.

  2. BeatlesTrivia Says:

    I’m glad the post helped you learn a bit more about Hey Jude. Thanks for the comment!

  3. BeaTles Says:

    I love this song! The Beatles are the greatest band ever – they truly are musical legends. I LOVE them!!!!! Thanks Paul for writing this song!

  4. luu Says:

    because the sound it was better

  5. John Says:

    Like luu says, I heard the reason he changed the words to ‘Jude’ was because it was difficult to clearly enunciate ‘Jules’ into the microphone.

  6. Wade Says:

    HE was driving to Jules after john devorced her and he was thinking in his head what to say to her and he came up with hey jules your next move is on your shoulder. see the resemblence thats how he came up with hay Jude

  7. Beatles4eva Says:

    Paul was much closer to Julian than John ever was. It’s like Paul was a second father to Julian. How sweet of Paul though; he feels sorry for children when their parents divorce. Paul was always close with Julian. I’ve seen tons of pictures of Paul playing around with “Jude” during the Magical Mystery Tour movie when they were on break. Sometimes I see Paul’s girlfriend, Jane Asher, be with Julian sometimes with Paul. John wasn’t really that close to “Jude”, but he was really close to Sean. I’m not saying that I hate John. I love The Beatles! Thanks Paul for writing Hey Jude!

  8. ChristmasTime Says:

    Aww… that is so sweet…how thoughtful of him to comfort little Julian..

  9. M_acca Says:

    Of course it IS about Jules. You know, Paul just couldn’t stand John’s and Cynthia’s divorse.

  10. Chana Perl Says:

    howdy, good writing.

  11. Fan girl Says:

    That is so cute! i love the song and my choir teacher just told us about that story. I love that paul did that! cutest story ever! but why did julian not now till so much later?

  12. Denise Says:

    what? wade, jules (julian) is a boy, and cynthia is the one john divorced (obviously everybody knows this).
    your comment makes no sense.

  13. NeverShoutNever Says:

    Awe how sweet of Paul to do

  14. Ostrich Says:

    I think he should have kept it as ‘Hey Jules’. I understand ‘Jude’ is easier to sing then ‘Jules’, but what if he had sung it as ‘Jools’?

  15. Alice Says:

    When i heard this story it made me smile. what a great person Paul is. He’s my favorite in the band. Love the song Love the story. so beautiful!:)

  16. Alice Says:

    it must have been sad when john was singing back up for this song. He must have been thinking about it while singing.

  17. LCN Says:

    Aww .. sweet Paul. He cared enough to check on him <3 That's a good person; going out of your way to check on a little boy and his mother. And writing a song. 🙂

    Alice, just so you know, John had assumed "Hey Jude" was about he and Ono's relationship; he didn't know until Paul told him about driving down there, which was after when they first sang it. But he probably did feel kind of bad after he knew the meaning.

  18. Dystopian Dance Mix Vol. 2: Perfect Dad Day | Dystopian Halloween Party Says:

    […] Well, it’s been five tracks, so I guess it’s time for one last rap song about paternal abandonment. In this case, though, what’s interesting is that it comes from Tyga: a guy who’s better known for slowly walking away from exploding cars and wearing furs with Rick Ross than anything approaching soul-searching. By way of contrast, “Dad’s Letter”–reportedly written by Tyga, born Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, at the behest of his therapist–catches the swag-rapper in uncharacteristically pensive mode, imagining what he would say to the father he never met: “Growin’ up, all I wanted was a father figure / Me and mom alone every dinner / One day I hope you hear this, I pray you doin’ better / This what it sound like, if I sent my dad letters.” Originally released on his 2009 mixtape The Potential, the song was apparently so meaningful to Tyga that he also included it on his 2013 studio album Hotel California–the year after the birth of his own son, King Cairo. Significantly, “Dad’s Letter” includes a vow to his father that “whatever results” with his own child, he’ll “be there like you wasn’t.” More Dad than Dad: Paul McCartney and young Julian Lennon, circa 1967; photo stolen from Beatles Trivia […]

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