Yesterday


The most recorded song of all time.

GEORGE MARTIN: I suggested a classical string quartet. That appealed to him (Paul) but he insisted “No vibrato, I don’t want any vibrato.” . . . There is one particular bit which is very much his—and I wish I had thought of it!—where the cello groans onto the seventh the second time around. (All You Need Is Ears, George Martin & Jeremy Horns, 1979)

BONNIE MASTERJOHN: It was all about loving and heartbreak. It was the first song I ever sang in front of people at my school. See, my grandpa was really into music. He listened to all kinds of music: opera and everything like that. I remember him saying about that song that he believed that it sounded a lot like one of the opera songs that he listened to. So I noticed the music and the lyrics.

RUSSELL RUDERMAN: Paul says this melody came to him in a dream, and for a year he assumed it was another song. Finally convinced that the melody was original, he added heartfelt words and crafted the most covered song of all time. This is easy to believe, as Paul is the most melodically gifted musician of our generation, and follows his muse and intuition to create new music.

DENNIS BLAIR-SOARES: Paul’s best. Interestingly it was performed without the group on TV. (The video at the top of this page is of that TV performance.)

GREGG NICELEY: My dad, who was a musician, hated The Beatles. Not only The Beatles but rock music in general. He would not listen to any of their albums and even defaced one that I had, although that was because of their hair. He had a good grasp of music theory, jazz in particular, and I suppose The Beatles music (as innovating as it was) did not live up to his standards. It just could never compare with the jazz classics. This all made the day that we were in the car listening to Paul’s tune, “Yesterday,” really unbelievable. When it had ended he said, “You know that is not really a bad tune!” On the other hand, that was the only one he ever commented on!


Songwriters: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

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