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I like this song for three reasons:

1) It’s a great song! Inspirational message, warmly sung, one of those Paul McCartney melodies that sounds good no matter what instrument it’s played on or what (horrible) voice is singing it. And the whole last “Na Na” section just sounds like sunshine.

2) When my son was a baby, and our bedtime ritual consisted of a story and then lights-out and a few songs in the dark, this, out of the fragments of lullabies and 70’s soft rock hits I resorted to, was the song he liked the most. “Sing heyjude song,” he’d ask. He especially enjoyed the “Jude-Judy-Judy-Judy-Judy-ahhhhwaaah” part I’d interject into my na-na’s, just like (almost like) Paul himself. Then, during a 7th grade chorus recital, I saw him up on stage singing the song and had one of those full-circle moments that parenthood sometimes affords, an airy rush of wonder at how far he’d come, we’d come. Later he told me he thought the song was stupid and had no memory of me ever singing it to him.

3) There’s a story Paul tells in one of the many Beatles documentaries of how he was singing the song for John and Yoko for the first time and he came to the line about “The movement you need is on your shoulders” and said, that’s just a placeholder, I’ll come up with something better later, and they said no, no, it’s the best line, you have to leave it in! The Beatles, let’s face it, can seem monolithic: everything so achieved it seems given, overfamiliar and even a little boring. A story like that reminds me that what seems inevitable now wasn’t, that there were smart, fallible guys back there making these decisions that didn’t necessarily have to turn out to be so right. Someone came up with the idea of starting with just voice and piano, then bringing in the tambourine, and then the backup voices and drum fills. It’s not just genius or accident the way John’s voice sticks to Paul’s on key lines. Paul’s rock and roll screams at the end, his voice full of joy that seemingly can’t be contained? Those were probably spontaneous.