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September 28, 1968 - The Beatles started a nine week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Hey Jude', the group their 16th US No.1, tying Elvis Presley's record at the time for most U.S. number-one songs. Billboard ranked it as the number-one and the biggest selling single of 1968.
In May 1968, John Lennon and his wife Cynthia Lennon separated because of John's affair with Yoko Ono. The following month, McCartney drove out to visit Cynthia and John's son, Julian, at Kenwood, the family's home in Weybridge. Cynthia had been part of the Beatles' social circle since before the band's rise to fame in 1963; McCartney later said he found it "a bit much for them suddenly to be personae non gratae and out of my life". Cynthia recalled of McCartney's surprise visit: I was touched by his obvious concern for our welfare. On the journey down he composed 'Hey Jude' in the car. I will never forget Paul's gesture of care and concern in coming to see us.
The song's original title was "Hey Jules", and it was intended to comfort Julian Lennon from the stress of his parents' separation. McCartney later said, "I knew it was not going to be easy for him", and that he changed the name to "Jude" because he thought that sounded a bit better.
According to music journalist Chris Hunt, in the weeks after writing the song, McCartney tested his latest composition on anyone too polite to refuse. And that meant everyone. On 30 June, McCartney stopped at a village in Bedfordshire and performed "Hey Jude" at a local pub. He also regaled members of the Bonzo Dog Band with the song while producing their single "I'm the Urban Spaceman", in London, and interrupted a recording session by the Barron Knights to do the same. Ron Griffith of the group the Iveys – soon to be known as Badfinger and, like the Black Dyke Mills Band, an early signing to the Beatles' new record label Apple Records – later recalled that on their first day in the studio, McCartney gave them a full concert rendition of Hey Jude.
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