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“Instinctive” is what McCartney calls this song. Paul was dating actress Jane Asher back then, and they both lived at her parents’ house in London. One morning Paul woke up with a melody in his head. Paul tells the story: “I woke up with a lovely tune in my head.  I thought, ‘That’s great, I wonder what that is?’  There was an upright piano next to me, to the right of the bed by the window.  I got out of bed, sat at the piano, found G, found F sharp minor 7th and that leads you through then to B to E minor, and finally back to E.  It all leads forward logically.  I liked the melody a lot but because I’d dreamed it I couldn’t believe I’d written it.  I thought, ‘No, I’ve never written like this before.’  But I had the tune, which was the most magic thing.  And you have to ask yourself, ‘Where did it come from?’  But you don’t ask yourself too much or it might go away…There are certain times when you get the essence, it’s all there.  It’s like an egg being laid, not a crack or flaw in it.” McCartney was concerned that he might have subconsciously taken that melody from plagiarized someone else’s work. He 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.”

Paul had to come up with lyrics real quick so that his memory of the melody wouldn’t go away, he wrote some simple words to go along with the phrasing of the melody line. Paul said: “It had no words. I used to call it ‘Scrambled Eggs.’  The lyrics used to go, ‘Scrambled eggs, oh, my baby, how I love your legs…’  There was generally a laugh at that point – you didn’t need to do any more lyrics. In Paul McCartney’s book “Many Years From Now,” John Lennon said: “The song was around for months and months before we finally completed it, Paul wrote nearly all of it, but we just couldn’t find the right title.  Every time we got together to write songs or for a recording session, this would come up.  We called it ‘Scrambled Eggs’ and it became a joke between us.  We almost had it finished when we made up our minds that only a one word title would suit and, believe me, we just couldn’t find the right one.” McCartney and Jane Asher then took a vacation and went to Portugal, Paul  wrote some of the lyrics during a car trip from Lisbon to Albufeira south of Portugal) 1965. The villa where Paul and Jane stayed was owned by Shadows’ guitarist Bruce Welch. Paul came up with the title “Yesterday” during his vacation. Bruce said: “I was packing to leave and Paul asked me if I had a guitar. He’d apparently been working on the lyrics as he drove to Albufeira from the airport at Lisbon. He borrowed my guitar and started playing the song we all now know as Yesterday.”

Release date

Released  August 6, 1965 (UK), September 13, 1965 (US)


John Lennon – Paul McCartney



Chart Rankings

US – 1

UK – 8


This legendary hit peaked at number 1 in the US for 4 weeks, Norway and the Netherlands. It reached number 2 in Australia, number 5 in Poland. In the UK, ‘Yesterday’ reached number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. It is the most covered pop song of all time, with over 3,000 versions recorded according to The Guinness Book Of World Records and it has been broadcast on American radio over seven million times. In 1997 it was  inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rolling Stone’s ranked it 13 on the 2004 list “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time”.

Artist’s age on release date

The Beatles were active for 5 years when they released “Yesterday”. McCartney was 23, Lennon was 25, Harrison was 22 and Ringo Starr was 25years of age.

Cover Versions

‘Yesterday’ has 3000 cover versions. Some of the artists that covered it are: David Clayton – Carrie Underwood – Thomas – Glee Cast – Neil Diamond – Jason Falkner – Kenny G – Eric Stone – Eva Cassidy – John Lennon (1988) – Wet Wet Wet – LeAnn Rimes – Boyz II Men- Michael Bolton – Ray Charles – Shirley Bassey – Paul McCartney (1984) – Elvis Presley – Marvin Gaye – Frank Sinatra (1969) and many many more.


Added by Slate

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