Yesterday (song)

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"Yesterday" is a song originally recorded by The Beatles for their 1965 album Help!. According to Guinness World Records, "Yesterday" has the most cover versions of any song ever written. The song remains popular today with more than 3,000 recorded cover versions, the first hitting the United Kingdom top 10 three months after the release of Help!. Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) asserts that it was performed over seven million times in the 20th century alone. The song was not released as a single in the UK at the time of its release in the United States, and thus never gained number 1 single status in that country. However, "Yesterday" was voted the best song of the 20th century in a 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll of music experts and listeners. In 2000, "Yesterday" was voted the #1 Pop song of all time by MTV and Rolling Stone Magazine. In 1997, the song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

"Yesterday" is a melancholy acoustic guitar ballad about a break-up. It was the first official recording by The Beatles that relied upon a performance by a single member of the band, Paul McCartney. He was accompanied by a string quartet. The final recording was so different from other works by The Beatles that the other three band members vetoed the release of the song as a single in the United Kingdom. (However, it was issued as a single there in 1976.) Although credited to "Lennon/McCartney", the song was written solely by McCartney. In 2002 McCartney asked Yoko Ono if she would allow reversing the credit on the song to read "McCartney/Lennon". Ono refused.[1]

Contents

Origins

According to biographers of McCartney and the Beatles, McCartney composed the entire melody in a dream one night in his room at the Wimpole Street home of his then girlfriend Jane Asher and her family.[2] Upon waking, he hurried to a piano and played the tune to avoid forgetting it.[3]

McCartney's initial concern was that he had subconsciously plagiarised someone else's work (known as cryptomnesia). As he put it, "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."[3]

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