Yesterday (1965)

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The Beatles.

Though it is credited to the group, the only Beatle on the song is Paul McCartney. He sang and played acoustic guitar with a string quartet.  Producer George Martin had said, "We can't put Ringo on it, it's too heavy…what about a classical string quartet?"

It was released on the soundtrack for the Beatles' 1965 film Help! Because "Yesterday" differed so greatly from their other songs, the other Beatles vetoed the song's release as a single in the UK.

It won the Ivor Novello award for Most Outstanding Song of 1965. 

On BMI's Top 100 Songs of the Century (based on American radio and television airplay), "Yesterday" ranked #2 for having been played more than seven million times. 

In 2000, it ranked #1 on Rolling Stone & MTV's list of 100 Greatest Pop Songs.

 Chart position: #1 (US, 4 weeks).

"Yesterday" sold a million copies within the first 10 days of its release.

It also reached #1 in Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Spain. It wasn't issued as a single in the UK until 1976 (when it reached #8.)

The Top Ten Songs:
October 30, 1965 (US Billboard Hot 100).
  1. "Yesterday" (Beatles)
  2. "A Lover's Concerto" (Toys)
  3. "Get Off Of My Cloud" (Rolling Stones)
  4. "Keep On Dancing" (Gentrys)
  5. "Everybody Loves A Clown" (Gary Lewis and the Playboys)
  6. ""Treat Her Right (Roy Head)
  7. "You're The One" (Vogues)
  8. "Positively 4th Street" (Bob Dylan)
  9. "Hang On Sloopy" (McCoys)
  10. "1-2-3" (Len Barry)

Written by:
Paul McCartney, though all Beatles compositions by McCartney and/or John Lennon are credited as "Lennon/McCartney".

McCartney has said the entire melody came to him in a dream one night.  Upon waking, he went to a piano and recorded the tune on a tape recorder to avoid letting it slip from his mind.  McCartney was concerned that he might have subconsciously plagiarised someone else's work.

McCartney 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".

The initial working title was "Scrambled Eggs", which was used until something more suitable could be written.  The final lyrics were written on the back of an envelope, which is still owned by McCartney.

In July 2003, British musicologists stumbled upon remarkable similarities between the lyric and rhyming schemes of "Yesterday" and the popular song "Answer Me" (recorded by singers such as Frankie Laine and Nat "King" Cole,) leading to speculation that McCartney had been influenced by the song.

Others have speculated that McCartney subconsciously based "Yesterday" on Ray Charles' version of "Georgia On My Mind".  One claim goes even furthur back, to a 19th century Neapolitan song called "Piccere' Che Vene a Dicere".

Also by: Too many to list!

The Guinness Book of Records ranks "Yesterday" as the world's most recorded popular song ever written, with over 3,000 versions. A short list: the Supremes, Perry Como, Jan and Dean, Ray Charles, Floyd Kramer, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley, Bill Medley, Bob Dylan, Dr. John, Michael Bolton, Boyz II Men, Tom Jones, Andy Williams, Tammy Wynette, the Smothers Brothers, Placido Domingo, Eddie Fisher, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Burl Ives, Gladys Knight & the Pips, Brenda Lee, the Letterman, Liberace, Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, Ray Price, Lou Rawls, the Seekers, Frank Sinatra and the Temptations.

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