“Hey Jude” turns 50


This Sunday celebrates the Beatles longest-running single “Hey Jude.”

Back in June, you may recall that the song's writer and Beatles icon Paul McCartney appeared on Carpool Karaoke to sing the track at the band's hometown Liverpool pub.

In this piece, the Smithsonian recounts the epic history of the song, including the fact that the song was originally entitled “Hey Jules.” McCartney's lyrics were intended to soothe John Lennon's son, Julian, who was distraught after his father's affair with Yoko Ono.

Below are some of the other interesting tidbits about the historic tune.

Hey Jude” skyrocketed to the top of the singles charts in the United States and Great Britain in 1968. After an August 26 U.S. release, it immediately arrived in the Top Ten and sat atop Billboard’s Hot 100 for nine consecutive weeks, making it the most successful single recorded by the most prosperous band in history. The single sold more than 5 million copies worldwide in six months and 7.5 million over four years. It performed more spectacularly on the charts than any other single between 1959 and 1977. It was also the first release on the Beatles’ own record label—Apple.

Shunning public appearances, the Beatles introduced the song to the world via film and video. The film version premiered in Britain on September 8 on David Frost’s show “Frost on Sunday,” and a month later the video version premiered October 6 in the U.S. on the “Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”

At more than seven minutes long, “Hey Jude” remains one of the longest No. 1 singles ever. The extended coda—a repetition of “nah, nah nah nahnahnah nah, nahnahnah nah, Hey Jude”—fills the second half of the record. In all, the lyrics use the sound “nah” 240 times.

‘Nah nah nah….’

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