Lennon, the son of the late John Lennon and his first wife, Cynthia, who passed in 2015, offered up his thoughts about the song on the "Club Random with Bill Maher" podcast last week.
When Lennon, a musician and photographer, told Maher he was embarking on a memoir, the host suggested a movie version, with an opening "grabber" shot of McCartney arriving at the home of the boy and his mother to write "Hey Jude."
"That's your grabber," Lennon responded, and said he had a "love-hate" relationship with the song, the Los Angeles Times reported. The outlet used some lyrics from the song as puns in its story, suggesting "the sad song" did not "make it better" for Lennon.
You can watch the discussion on YouTube:
Why would Julian Lennon not like 'Hey Jude'?
It's not that he doesn't appreciate the gesture from McCartney, but the song also serves as a "stark and dark reminder of actually what happened, the fact that dad walked out ... left mom and I," he told Maher. "That was a point of complete change and complete destruction and complete darkness and sadness. I mean, I was only three, but I recognized something was up."
"But for mom … it was heartbreaking," Lennon shared. "It's a reminder of that time and that place. I get both sides of it, but a lot of people don't necessarily understand there's a dark, yin and yang, of that song."
John and Cynthia Lennon were married in 1962 in Liverpool and Julian was born in 1963. The couple divorced in 1968. John Lennon was assassinated on Dec. 8, 1980, in New York. Cynthia Lennon died in 2015 at the age of 75.
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Did Paul McCartney write 'Hey Jude' for Julian Lennon?
The song, released as a single in 1968, was originally called, "Hey Jules," but McCartney changed it to "Hey Jude," he said in "Paul McCartney: The Lyrics," published in 2021, "because I thought that was a bit less specific."
"Jude" came from the character "Jud" in the musical "Oklahoma," McCartney wrote.
"I was thinking about how tough it would be for Jules, as I called him, to have his dad leave him, to have his parents go through a divorce," McCartney wrote. "It started out as a song of encouragement."
McCartney recalled when he first played the song for John Lennon. "I'm not even sure if he knew at the time the song was for his son Julian. The song had started when I was travelling out one day to see Julian and his mother Cynthia. At this point John had left Cynthia, and I was going out to Kenwood (in Surrey, England) as a friend to say hi and see how they were doing."
As the song developed and McCartney added the line "you were made to go out and get her," he wrote, "there's now another character, a woman, in the scene."
"By this stage the song has moved on from being about Julian," McCartney wrote. "It could now be about this new woman's relationship. I like my songs to have an everyman or everywoman element."
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Contributing: Maria Puente.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Hey Jude': Why Julian Lennon has 'love-hate' relationship with song