On this day in 1968, one of the Beatles‘ most recognizable songs was born: “Hey Jude.”

Paul McCartney is behind the seven-minute tune that has gone four-times platinum.

The song was written for John Lennon’s son Julian during John’s divorce from then-wife Cynthia Lennon. It was meant to comfort the young boy during the drama that ensued after it was revealed his father had been having an affair with Yoko Ono.

McCartney reportedly composed the song during a car ride to go visit Julian early in 1968.

McCartney’s decision to change the title from “Hey Jules,” to “Hey Jude,” had a lasting impact. For one, John thought the song was about him when he heard it. When John asked Paul straight-up if the song was about him, Paul lied and said he’d written the song about himself.

But John wasn’t the only one to misunderstand the intent. a journalist named Judith Simons and author Jane Asher (who McCartney had been in a relationship with) were both suspected of being “Jude.”

Jullian wouldn’t realize the song was about him until 20 years after it was released.

In 2002, the original handwritten lyrics for the song were nearly auctioned off — analysts anticipated they would go for £80,000. However, McCartney went to court to stop the auction, claiming the paper containing the lyrics had disappeared from his West London home. The courts decided in McCartney’s favor and prohibited the sale of the lyrics.

-Chris Coyle, KZOK


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