Julian Lennon describes his "love-hate" relationship with 'Hey Jude', reveals it's a "dark reminder"
26 September 2023, 14:06 | Updated: 26 September 2023, 14:26
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Imagine if one of The Beatles wrote a song about you.
You'd go down in history as an inspiration for a song from one of the most impactful and influential acts ever to grace our ears.
Surely you'd either feel flattered - that's if the angle of said song was a positive one, and didn't loom over you for the remainder of your life.
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In the past, Julian has expressed that he was "thankful" for the support he got from his father's collaborator, after McCartney wrote 'Hey Jude' for him.
More recently, he has opened up more about how the song still hangs over him like a long shadow, and that he has a "love-hate" relationship with the song.
During his appearance on Club Random, the podcast from American comedian and political commentator Bill Maher, Lennon admitted that it was a "stark and dark reminder" of how his life as a child fell to pieces.
His admissions starts when he reveals to Maher that he is currently working on a memoir, with Maher responding that he should make a film instead.
Telling Julian that he should open up the hypothetical film with a "grabber" shot of McCartney arriving at the home of the young Lennon and his mother, Cynthia.
Lennon then claps back saying: "that's your grabber shot," before continuing to reveal that the "sad song" in fact didn't "make it better".
Whilst he appreciates the thought behind McCartney's anthemic ballad, he confirmed it serves as a "stark and dark reminder of actually what happened, the fact that dad walked out ... left mum and I."
"That was a point of complete change and complete destruction and complete darkness and sadness."
"I mean, I was only three, but I recognised something was up. But for mum … it was heartbreaking," Lennon revealed.
"It's a reminder of that time and that place. 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."
John Lennon married Cynthia Powell on 23rd August 1962, and their only son Julian was born the following year on 8th April 1963.
They divorced in 1968 when John left his family for Yoko Ono, and the father-son relationship was fractured from then onwards.
Seeing that Julian was despairing about his life crumbling around him at such a young age, he wrote 'Hey Jude' as an ode to him.
The Beatles - Hey Jude
In his 2021 book, Paul McCartney: The Lyrics, Macca wrote that the song was originally called 'Hey Jules', but then he changed the titular character "because I thought that was a bit less specific."
"I was thinking about how tough it would be for Jules, as I called him, to have his dad leave him, to have his parents go through a divorce. It started out as a song of encouragement."
McCartney then goes on to recall the first time he played the song for John Lennon, writing: "I'm not even sure if he knew at the time the song was for his son Julian."
"The song had started when I was travelling out one day to see Julian and his mother Cynthia. At this point John had left Cynthia, and I was going out to Kenwood (in Surrey, England) as a friend to say hi and see how they were doing."
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As his idea developed, Paul moved away from focusing solely on Julian and his troubles, adding the line: "you were made to go out and get her."
"There's now another character, a woman, in the scene," he wrote. "By this stage the song has moved on from being about Julian."
"It could now be about this new woman's relationship. I like my songs to have an everyman or everywoman element."
Despite McCartney trying to broaden the song's meaning, 'Hey Jude' is still evidently an albatross around Julian's neck.