Still Yesterday

Can the number of covers of a song give a fair idea about the influence it had on the minds of the people? If yes, then I dont think we need not go too far from The Beatles to find one of the most influential songs of the century. It might have been “Scrambled Eggs” (working title given to the song)for Paul when he wrote and composed the song, but later on it went on to become “Yesterday”, the most covered song in the history of music with over 3000 covers from artists . Inspiring musicians and normal people alike has been the forte of The Beatles, yet they have always cited Elvis as their main inspiration with Lennon going on to say

Had there been no Elvis, there would have been no Beatles.

So when they must have heard the Elvis cover version of the song, I can only imagine the feelings that these guys must have had.

According to wiki, “Yesterday takes the form of a melancholic acoustic guitar ballad about a breakup”.But, the stories about the song dont end here. Written and composed by Macca, this was the first Beatles song which had just one member of the band performing, Macca accompanied by string quartet. Another interesting trivia about the song is the fact that, despite its popularity, it wasnt released as a single in UK (until ’76) as the sound of the song was so different from other Beatles work that the other three members vetoed the release of the song as a single.

Although Beatles didnt record a single of the song, but Matt Monro had already recorded the song, and produced the first of the thousand covers of the song, few months after the realease in the album. Thus, releasing Yesterday as a single even before The Beatles did. The Beatles could control its release in UK, but they didnt have much control over the wishes of their American Record label Capitol, which released it as a single in US. And this is what wiki has to say about it

The single was charting by 29 September 1965, and topped the charts for a full month, beginning on 9 October. The song spent a remarkable total of 11 weeks in the American charts, selling a million copies within five weeks. “Yesterday” was the most-played song on American radio for eight consecutive years, its popularity refusing to abate.

Macca composed the melody in one of his dreams, and as soon as he woke, he went on to compose the harmony lest he forgot it. In his mind, he had an inkling that he might have copied some famous song unknowingly in his sleep and as a result, he went around meeting people from music industry for around a month asking people whether they had heard the tune before, finally satisfied he sat down to work on the lyrics under the working title Scrambled Eggs, as was the custom with The Beatles for naming their still unnamed songs.

Widely hailed as one of the biggest song of Macca, Bob Dylan had a marked dislike for the song, saying there were many songs of the standards of Michell and Yesterday in Tin Pan Alley. Although the reason why Dylan, himself went on to record his own version of Yesterday, four years later is beyond the understanding of this mere mortal.


8 thoughts on “Still Yesterday

  1. yesterday is a great song but sometimes I feel it’s a wee bit overrated. I mean never found it that earth shattering. I guess it had elements of dark knight in it. Because of the hype, you start expecting so much from it, it sorta lets you down.

    waiting for the review of another of McCartney’s songs – Oh darling 🙂

    1. Even i have always felt the same, its a good song. but not definitely a ground breaking one which would go on to inspire so many people.

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