Hey Jude - Song Analysis

1108 words 5 pages
Hey Jude - Song analysis

“Hey Jude” is a song by the English rock band The Beatles and was written by Paul McCartney. It was first released in August 1968 under The Beatles label ‘Apple Records’. Hey Jude runs for 7mins and 11secs and at the time of release was the longest single to top the British charts.
The song is said to have evolved from “hey Jules”, a song that had been written as a ballad to comfort Lennon’s son Julian during his parents’ divorce. McCartney said,
"I started with the idea 'Hey Jules,' which was Julian, don't make it bad, take a sad song and make it better. Hey, try and deal with this terrible thing. I knew it was not going to be easy for him. I always feel sorry for kids in divorces ... I had the idea [for
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In the outro, the use of the flat-VII chord gives the jam session a modal, Mixolydian feel that contrasts the first half of the song.The outro is a staggering 72 bars long yet does not feel like it is, as the momentum and instrumentation through this section swells and leaves the listener engaged. Instruments are gradually added to this section creating a thickness to the sound. There is a doubling of the bass line which is layered progressively over the course of multiple repetitions of the vocal line “nah nah nah nah…”.These backing vocals at times works alongside the E flat chord to create a dissonant 9th.

This mantra like phrase continues repetitively throughout the 72 bar outro. At repeat 4 you can hear the inclusion of mid range strings, a couple of octaves above the bass you can hear trumpets, the trumpets enable a sense of grandeur to the outro and help this section keep its momentum and interest. In the 8th repeat the violins rise and swell 4 octaves above the Bass line and the vocal ad lib becomes more frantic in nature and supplies the listener with a sense of almost panic and urgency as the song fades out.


This song relies heavily on delicate contrasts throughout the beginning half and during the 2nd half, the song relies more on big tones, layering of instruments and stacked harmonies both on beat and off beat. The song,