McCartney: "Hey Jude? I wanted to change that line: John said no"

McCartney: “Hey Jude? I wanted to change that line: John said no”

“Hey Jude”, one of the Beatles' most popular and beloved songs, could have had slightly different lyrics from the one we all know, where by “slightly different” we mean that one of the verses of the song could have been changed or completely deleted. Paul McCartney tells the story, more than fifty-five years after the release of the song in 1968. The Liverpool baronet had already revealed the anecdote in an interview contained in the “Beatles Anthology” project but has returned to dust off the episode on the occasion of an episode of the podcast iHeartPodcasts Macca, talking about “Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics”, in which he retraced his life by analyzing the lyrics he wrote over the course of his entire career.

Macca, now 81, recounted what happened the evening he played the draft of “Hey Jude” to his partner John Lennon for the first time.

The song, as is known, was inspired by little Julian, John's firstborn, born five years earlier from the relationship between the singer and his first wife Cynthia, before Lennon met Yoko Ono. The line that Paul McCartney had only temporarily inserted into the text was the one that closed the bridge, “the movement you need is on your shoulder”:

When I first played the song in my music room, on the piano, I had John and Yoko standing behind me, listening to me. I was so proud to play him this new song.

When he reached the end of the bridge, Paul stopped and after singing the line “the movement you need is on your shoulder” he turned to John:

I told him, “Don't worry, I'll change it.”

But Lennon had a different reaction than Paul expected:

He looked at me and said, “You won't do that, you know? That's the best line.”

The line, in the end, remained in the text. “Hey Jude” at the time with its 7 minutes and 12 seconds duration it became the longest song to reach number 1 on the Hot 100, the best-selling singles chart in the US.