In music history, few names are repeated as often as The Beatles. 52 years ago, "Hey Jude," was released in the United States in 1968, the first song released on their new Apple record label. The Beatles' popularity had reached their peak; concert attendance was dropping, they decided to quit touring, and "Lady Madonna" made little to no waves on the charts. With albums like Yesterday and Today and Sgt. Pepper behind them, it appeared that the Beatles' bubble was on the verge of popping.
Luckily for us, "Hey Jude," became the anthem of the sixties and changed the outlook for fans, convinced of the group's impending demise.
The optimism of the ballad contrasted with the group's concurrent troubles, including John's divorce from Cynthia Lennon and affair with Yoko Ono, as well as Ringo Starr's departure.
McCartney originally wrote the song for Lennon's five year old son, Julian, under the name, "Hey Jules," meant to comfort him during his family's hardships. In a later interview, Lennon claimed he thought the song was written for him as a blessing to his relationship with Ono. The legacy of Hey Jude remains in being able to comfort and bring solace to people in situations of turmoil.
Recorded in between sessions for the White Album, "Hey Jude" was written by Paul McCartney. The first take of recording it was chosen for release. Lasting over seven minutes long, it was the longest song to top the British charts, ending with a 40-piece orchestral coda.
As a promotional video, Michael Lindsay-Hogg captured The Beatles performing "Hey Jude," with a live audience joining in for the coda.
The anthemic song has been called a tribute to their friendship, released four days before Ringo Starr officially left the band and walked out of a recording session for the White Album.
Named the most popular record of the 60s by Billboard Magazine, "Hey Jude" was a comeback of epic proportions. Just a year after its release, the Beatles had their final photo shoot in late August 1969. Paul, John, George, and Ringo gathered together at John's home near Ascot, Berkshire.
In the following years, all four members released solo albums, some featuring each other. But the togetherness encompassed by Hey Jude had passed, and the lasting Beatlemania was painted by nostalgia.