In a recent episode of the Club Random Podcast hosted by Bill Maher, Julian Lennon, musician, photographer, and son of the late Beatles legend John Lennon, delved into his complex feelings about the iconic Beatles hit, “Hey Jude,” written for him by Paul McCartney during a tumultuous period in his childhood.
Lennon, considering the idea of writing a memoir about his life, found himself facing the prospect of the song being a central theme in any cinematic adaptation.
Maher suggested starting the film with a scene of McCartney driving to see a young Julian in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce, a suggestion that didn’t evoke joy from Lennon, given that it was a chapter of his own life.
“I have a love-hate [relationship] with it, I have to say,” Lennon admitted. “I’ve probably heard that song and heard renditions of it more than most people alive. And even my dear friends send me babies in nappies playing guitars [and] singing, ‘Hey Jude’, which I really don’t need.”
He expressed gratitude for the well-intentioned song but also acknowledged the somber reality it represents. For Lennon, “Hey Jude” serves as a stark reminder of the upheaval caused by his father’s departure when he was just three years old.
“The fact that Dad walked out, walked away — left Mum and I. That was a point of complete change and complete disruption and complete darkness and sadness. I mean, I was only 3, but I recognized that something was up, you know? But for Mum, it was heartbreaking. So it’s a reminder of that time and that place. So I get both sides of it, but a lot of people don’t necessarily understand there’s a dark, yin and yang of that song.”
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Released in 1968, “Hey Jude” originally started as “Hey Jules” and was penned by McCartney to offer a hopeful message to Julian during the challenging time of his parents’ divorce.
McCartney aimed to console the young Julian, saying, “Come on, man, your parents got divorced. I know you’re not happy, but you’ll be OK.”
In September, Julian Lennon released his seventh studio album, “Jude,” reclaiming the name and expressing his desire to turn the sad song into a positive affirmation. Reflecting on his mother, Cynthia Lennon, who passed away in 2015, Lennon emphasized that everything he does is about making her proud.
The story behind “Hey Jude” is not just a tale of musical inspiration but a poignant chapter in Julian Lennon’s personal journey, encapsulating the complexities of love, loss, and the enduring impact of a timeless Beatles classic.
Watch the full interview below: