Even as something of a Beatlephile, I learned a few things reading this Rolling Stone article from 2018 about The Beatles' most "open-hearted masterpiece," Hey Jude.
Cynthia and Julian thought "Hey Jude" was for them. John heard it as the ballad of John and Yoko. But neither side was wrong — countless people around the world have heard this homily speaking to them. "The movement you need is on your shoulder" — John was so right about that line, and as Paul says, he thinks of John every time he sings that part. "Hey Jude" is a tribute to everything the Beatles loved and respected most about each other. Even George, who plays the most low-profile role in this song, tipped his cap with the na-na-na-na finale of "Isn't That a Pity," which you can hear as a viciously cheeky parody, an affectionate tribute or (most likely) both. The pain in "Hey Jude" resonated in 1968, in a world reeling from wars, riots and assassinations. And it's why it sounds timely as our world keeps getting colder. After more than 50 years, "Hey Jude" remains a source of sustenance in difficult times — a moment when four longtime comrades, clear-eyed adults by now, take a look around at everything that's broken around them. Yet they still join together to take a sad song and make it better.