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Posted by: In: Other 11 May 2022 Comments: 0



1965-The song was not released as a single in the UK until 1976 when it reached Number 8.

Best Bit-At 0.59. The Beatles appeared several times on the Ed Sullivan Show, but this time Paul McCartney had to perform ‘Yesterday’ solo. Just before the curtain opened a stagehand asked him, ‘Are you nervous? ‘No,’ Paul lied, to which the stagehand replied,’You should be, there’s 73 million watching.’

According to legend Paul McCartney composed the entire melody of ‘Yesterday’ in a dream one night while staying at the family home of his then girlfriend Jane Asher. Upon waking he rushed to a piano and played the tune to avoid forgetting it. Initially McCartney was concerned that he had subconsciously plagiarised someone else’s work, McCartney has said,’For about a month I went round to people in the music business and asked them whether they had ever heard it before. Eventually it became like handing something in to the police. I thought if no one claimed it after a few weeks then I could have it.’Although McCartney had the melody, he hadn’t yet written any lyrics, so from the onset he chose the working title ‘Scrambled Eggs.’ He first began to compose the songs lyrics during a five hour car trip from Lisbon to Albufeira in southern Portugal in May 1965, when on holiday with Jane Asher. The villa where McCartney and Asher were staying was owned by The Shadows guitarist Bruce Welch, McCartney asked Welch if he could borrow his guitar, and then proceeded to play ‘Yesterday’ for the very first time.

‘Yesterday’ was a watershed moment for the Beatles (see also best songs 599-238-218-157-141-80-51-10 and 6) with this being the first time that a song was made in the Beatles name, but only had any real input from one band member. Following this many Beatles classics would be significantly written by just John Lennon (see also best songs 927-473-456-168 and 20) or Paul McCartney, (see also best songs 646 and 147) but because of contractual reasons the songs would always be credited to Lennon/McCartney. In future years having Lennon’s name appear before his in the writing credits would anger McCartney, who felt his name should often be first, especially on songs such as ‘Yesterday’ where he was the sole writer.

As ‘Yesterday’ was so different to anything else released under the Beatles name at that time, the band decided not to release it as a single in the UK, but in America they were signed to ‘Capitol’ records, where they didn’t have the same influence, and they were overruled by the label who chose to release the song as a double ‘A’ sided single with ‘Act Naturally,’ the single went on to spend four weeks at Number 1 on Billboard in September and October 1965. In the UK the song was first issued in August 1965 on the ‘Help’ Album, and then in March 1966 on the ‘EP Yesterday,’ but it was finally released as a stand alone single 10 years later. In 1976 when the Beatles contract with ‘EMI’ records expired the ‘Parlophone’ label reissued all 22 original UK Beatles singles plus ‘Yesterday’ for the first time, with ‘I Should Have Known Better’ on the ‘B’ side, with the single reaching Number 8 in the UK chart.

‘Yesterday’ was recorded by Paul McCartney playing an acoustic guitar, and being backed by a string quartet which included the British violinist Sidney Sax, (1913-2005) Sax also played on ‘Eleanor Rigby’ (see also best songs 599) and ‘All You Need Is Love’ (see also best songs 141) According to the Guinness World Records ‘Yesterday’ is the most covered song of all time with over 3000 different recordings, it is also the second most played song on radio of all time behind ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin” by The Righteous Brothers (see also best songs 782.)

‘Why she had to go I don’t know she wouldn’t say. I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday.’