Paul McCartney Said The Beatles’ ‘Hello, Goodbye’ Is About a ‘Deep Theme of the Universe’

Someone who wasn’t a musician helped Paul McCartney write The Beatles‘ “Hello, Goodbye.” Paul wrote the song to express a positive message relating to a “deep theme of the universe.” Subsequently, audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom had similar reactions to the song.

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison standing in a row
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

How someone helped Paul McCartney write The Beatles’ ‘Hello, Goodbye’

Alistair Taylor was the assistant of Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager. According to the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Taylor recalled helping Paul create “Hello, Goodbye” in his book Yesterday. “Paul marched me into the dining room, where he had a marvelous old hand-carved harmonium,” Taylor recalled. “‘Come and sit at the other end of the harmonium.’

“‘You hit any note you like on the keyboard,'” he added. “‘Just hit it and I’ll do the same. Now whenever I shot out a word, you shout the opposite and I’ll make up a tune. You watch, it’ll make music.”

Paul and Taylor went back and forth. “‘Black,’ he started,” Taylor wrote. “‘White,’ I replied. ‘Yes.’ ‘No.’ ‘Good.’ ‘Bad.’ ‘Hello.’ ‘Goodbye.'” 

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Paul McCartney explained the meaning of The Beatles’ ‘Hello, Goodbye’

Paul further discussed writing “Hello, Goodbye.” “‘Hello, Goodbye’ was one of my songs,” he said. “There are Geminian influences here I think the twins. It’s such a deep theme in the universe, duality.”

Paul elaborated on the song’s meaning. “Man-woman, black white, ebony ivory, high low, right wrong, up-down, hello goodbye — that it was a very easy song to write,” he recalled. “It’s just a song of duality, with me advocating the more positive. You say goodbye, I say hello. You say stop, I say go. I was advocating the more positive side of the duality, and I still do to this day.”

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How the song performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“Hello, Goodbye” became a huge hit in the U.S. For three weeks, the song topped the Billboard Hot 100. It stayed on the chart for 11 weeks altogether. “Hello, Goodbye” appeared on the soundtrack of Magical Mystery Tour. The soundtrack was No. 1 for eight of its 93 weeks on the Billboard 200.

“Hello, Goodbye” was No. 1 for much longer in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the song was No. 1 for seven of its 12 weeks on the chart. Meanwhile, Magical Mystery Tour reached No. 31 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for 10 weeks.

“Hello, Goodbye” went on to be covered by a number of other artists. The Glee cast, The Cure, and James Last each recorded the song. “Hello, Goodbye” was a popular track and Paul says it has a good message.

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