"Hey Jude" is the title of a 1968 hit single written by Paul McCartney and released by The Beatles. It is also the title of a 1970 singles compilation album by the same band.
The song, originally titled "Hey Jools", was written for John Lennon's son Julian, when John and his first wife, Cynthia, were getting divorced. The song was often praised by John Lennon, who called it a masterpiece.
The song, released in August of 1968, spent two weeks at number one in the British Record Retailer charts and nine weeks in the top spot on the US Billboard charts, in spite of being more than twice the length of normal single, at over seven minutes. The finished recording included a 36 piece orchestra.
The drums come in unintentionally late on the released recording. Ringo Starr, the bands drummer, had walked out of the studio briefly. McCartney, who didn't realize this, began the first (and later released) take. "...I suddenly felt Ringo tiptoeing past my back rather quickly, trying to get to his drums. And just as he got to his drums, boom boom boom, his timing was absolutely impeccable." (McCartney)
In 2002, the original hand written lyrics for the song were nearly auctioned off at Christie's in London. The sheet of note paper with the scrawled lyrics had been expected to fetch up to £80,000 pounds at the auction, which was scheduled for April 30, 2002. McCartney went to court to stop the auction, claiming the valuable piece had disappeared from his west London home. Richard Morgan, representing Christie's, said McCartney had provided no evidence that he had ever owned the piece of paper on which they were written. The courts decided in McCartney's favor and prevented the lyrics from being sold. The lyrics were originally sent to Christie's for auction by Frenchman Florrent Tessier, who purchased the piece of paper at a street market stall in London for £10 in the early 1970s.