Paul McCartney On How Misunderstanding Inspired Title Of Beatles Classic


Photo: AFP

Inspiration can hit when you least expect it, and for Paul McCartney it came in the form of mishearing one of his road crew members while on tour with The Beatles. In a recent episode of his iHeartRadio podcast Paul McCartney: A Life in Lyrics, Macca revealed that he came up with the title for the band's iconic 1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band after a member of his crew asked him for salt and pepper.

“I was with our roadie Mal [Evans], a big bear of a man,” he recalled. “I was coming back on the plane, and he said, ‘Will you pass the salt and pepper?’ And I misheard him. I said, ‘What? Sgt. Pepper?’ He said, ‘No, salt and pepper.’ And I always returned to one of the things about the Beatles, and me and John [Lennon], was that we noticed accidents.”

In each episode of the podcast, McCartney talks in depth about specific songs and recently spoke about the real reason he wrote "Hey Jude," which was penned for John Lennon's oldest son Julian after John and his first wife Cynthia divorced.

"So in my mind I'm thinking 'Hey Jules' you know, 'don't make it bad.' You know, I know this is tough for you but 'take a sad song and make it better.' Your dad's just left you so I was like, trying to be encouraging," he explained. "It was an encouraging song. Remember to let love into your heart and it will make it better."

Though the song was meant to be uplifting, Julian has admitted that he actually has a dark association with the Beatles hit. "Obviously as a kid, his lyrics and the song at the age of five didn't really mean too much. Of course it was only later in life that I realized what it was all about," he confessed in 2022. "And as much as I'm very thankful because of his support in having written that song a lot of people don't realize it was also a dark reminder of what actually did happen. Of dad walking out the door, leaving mum and I on our own to fend for ourselves. And that really, really, really was the case."

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