Hey Jude was conceived by Paul McCartney in June, 1968 whilst out for a drive and was originally intended as “Hey Jules”, a song written to comfort John Lennon’s son, Julian, in the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. He made a demo tape of the track on piano and then took it to his song writing partner, John Lennon, apologising for the lyrics. Lennon apparently dismissed McCartney’s embarrassment over the line “The movement you need is on your shoulder” and Lennon later declared Hey Jude as the best song his partner had ever written.
Hey Jude was released in August 1968 as the first single on the newly formed Apple label and became one of the most successful Beatles songs ever. At over seven minutes long, it became the longest song to ever top the U.K. charts and stayed at the top of the U.S. charts for a record-breaking nine weeks. Hey Jude became the biggest-selling debut release for a record label ever, selling an estimated eight million copies worldwide and topping the charts in eleven countries.
The Beatles spent two days at Abbey Road Studios recording Hey Jude on 29 and 30 July, 1968 before recording a master track at Trident Studios on 31 July. Trident was the only studio at that time which had an eight-track recording facility. The recording was completed on 1 August with a full orchestra comprising thirty-six classical musicians playing violins, violas, double basses, cellos, flutes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, trumpets and trombones.
Recording notes very rarely appear on the market. Another example of Paul McCartney’s recording notes for Hey Jude were sold through Sotheby's in 1996 and this example first appeared on the auction market in the same year.