Cue the Inspiration: Hey Jude

Two days ago I handed in the first draft for my next book, an untitled Young Adult novel. Actually, the working title has been Jude, Adrift, but I wonder about the commercial appeal of that title. Does it sound like a drag? Another possible title I’ve been thinking about, inspired by a character’s text message: Hey u.

The main character is named Jude Fox. And while it centers around an eventful car crash, I guess it’s a love story from a male point of view, a perspective largely missing in contemporary YA literature. Now that the book is settled, so to speak, I can go back to the lyric of Lennon & McCartney’s song, “Hey Jude,” and recognize how amazingly close it fits, as if I unconsciously wrote an entire book in response to the song.

Do you think that’s possible? Is that what I did, without even knowing it?

Or perhaps the themes of the song are so universal that it could fit almost any book, from Mudville to Go, Dog! Go!

Final point: I remember being a seven-year-old kid and watching this film on television with my brothers and sisters. It was a huge deal at the time, broadcast in 1968 on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which used to be must-watch TV in my house.

So, first, the introductory clip from the show:

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Wasn’t that cool? The sense of high seriousness of that introduction, of importance. And it’s a nice coincidence that I own the same jacket as Tommy!

Now the song in its entirety:

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Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better

Hey Jude, don’t be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better

And anytime you feel the pain
Hey Jude refrain
don’t carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it’s a fool
who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Na na na na na
na na na na

Hey Jude don’t let me down
You have found her, now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
then you can start to make it better

So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude begin
You’re waiting for someone to perform with
And don’t you know that it’s just you
Hey Jude, you’ll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Na na na na na
na na na na yeah

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad
take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
Better, better, better, better, better, oh

Na, na na na na na na . . .

—–

Click below if you want to hear Elvis Presley’s take on the song. I pretty much love it:

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2 comments

  1. Liz S says:

    I remember seeing this on the Smothers Brothers show (also highly anticipated viewing in our house) and, besides my own grade-school na-na-na’ing, thinking 1) look how close all those people are getting to the Beatles on stage, including KIDS; and 2) John Lennon is CHEWING GUM!

  2. Jimmy says:

    Liz, great memory. I think that’s such a great observation, and it shows why you are such a good children’s book editor. It’s easy to reflect on those experiences from a perspective of the Adult Brain, perhaps thinking about the cultural significance of the event, rather than recall from the Kid Perspective, who wonders what kid on gum John likes best.

    I remember waking up to watch the Apollo Moon landing, and I was just bored, disappointed, such a grainy picture on TV. I couldn’t wait until my mother let me stop watching.

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