The only thing you did was “Yesterday”

Paul McCartney is reputed to have composed Yesterday in his sleep and for a considerable period afterward to have been sure that he was guilty of plagiarism.

My wife tells me that Yesterday is the song most selected as the one that songwriters wished they had written. I am not sure if that is true but it certainly has a list of accolades that supports the view and it surely ranks as one of the greatest songs ever written.

Wikipedia notes

  • there are over 2000 cover versions
  • it was voted the best song of the 20th century by listeners and music experts in the BBC 2 Radio Poll
  • both MTV and Rolling Stone voted it the best song of all time

    Beatles notes that according to the Guiness Biok of Records it is the most covered song of all time.

    So if John Lennon was correct in his sledge of Paul McCartney in How do You Sleep from the truly momentous album Imagine that

    The only thing you done was yesterday

    then that would for most people be enough.

    I was lucky enough to see Paul McCartney when he fronted Wings sing it as a solo in 1975. Just thinking about it now sends goosebumps down my spine. It was awesome! It was one of my most memorable concert moments.

    I find it incredible that apparently The Beatles were afraid it would tarnish their image if it was released as a single only being released I the UK many years later. It appeared on Help and was released as a single in the US.

    So often I hear that my favourite Beatle was John, Paul,only wrote silly love songs. Certainly the music primarily credited to John in the Lennonon McCartney partnership was sharper however MCCartney’s ability to write a pop,song is perhaps unparalleled.

    As you find yourself reflecting on The Beatles and perhaps considering who was the most talented (what a pointless task when you consider George’s list of credits and Ringo who according to Mark Lewisohn was sought after to join the greatest band of all time) is it possible to go past The Beatle who wrote Yesterday?

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    3 Responses to The only thing you did was “Yesterday”

    1. David Perry says:

      I really like Paul. But it was such a great loss when John was killed. His last songs were different from what he had done before, sining about his wife and his son. He seemed at peace himself and I think his music would have been better than ever. But we’ll never know. For me it’s less a question of who was better. They pushed each other, they improved what the other had started. They needed each other. Of course Paul has had a fantastic solo career, but working with John the result could have been better. My two cents…

      • browney says:

        Couldn’t agree more.

        Double Fantasy seemed to show that John was at peace with himself. Watching the Wheels was my favourite.

        For me Lennon and McCartney were songwriting royalty. Then of course there was George and Here Comes the Sun which for most bands would have been their greatest songs,but for The Beatles it was just one of many true classics.

        Thanks for adding your “two cents”.

    2. Pingback: Book Review Man on the Run, Paul McCartney in the 1970s | browney237's Blog

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