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  • Frank Sinatra rejected one of Paul McCartney’s songs and wondered if the tune was a prank.
  • Paul said Sinatra misunderstood the track and thought it was about a morbid subject matter.
  • Sinatra once covered The Beatles’ “Yesterday” for his album My Way.
Frank Sinatra wearing a fedora
Frank Sinatra | GAB Archive/Redferns

Frank Sinatra turned down one of Paul McCartney‘s songs because he thought it was terrible. Subsequently, Paul said the song wasn’t so great. Notably, Sinatra released a cover of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” on one of his famous albums.

Paul McCartney wrote a song with Frank Sinatra in mind when he was a teenager

In his 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul said he wrote a song called “Suicide” during his early days as a songwriter. He wrote the track with Sinatra in mind. Years later, when he was at Abbey Road Studio, Paul received a phone call from Sinatra.

“And I was able to go, ‘Oh. I’ll be there in a minute,’ touch a fader and then go off,” he said. “And everyone would go, ‘Oooooo! Sinatra’s on the phone!’ How many people have that? He was asking for a song, so I found the song, made a demo and sent it to him.”

Frank Sinatra didn’t understand Paul McCartney’s song because he took it literally

Sinatra was no fan of “Suicide.” “Apparently, he thought it was an almighty piss-take,” Paul said. “‘No way!’ he’s supposed to have said to one of his people. ‘Is this guy having me on?’ Some career with Sinatra ended in terrible ignominy. I think he couldn’t grasp it was tongue in cheek.” 

Paul explained the meaning of “Suicide.” “It was only supposed to be a play on the word ‘suicide,’ not actual physical suicide,” he said. “If a girl lets a guy trample all over her, she’s committing some sort of suicide. I think he sent the demo back. Looking back on it I’m quite relieved he did, actually, it wasn’t a good song, it was just a teenage thought.”


The Beatles: John Lennon Said Paul McCartney and George Harrison Overshadowed Him on This Song

How Ol’ Blue Eyes’ ‘Yesterday’ performed on the pop charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

Sinatra later covered some of The Beatles’ songs, including “Yesterday.” Sinatra’s “Yesterday” was never a single so it did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. The tune appeared on the album My Way, which hit No. 11 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 19 weeks.

According to The Official Charts Company, Sinatra’s “Yesterday” never chartered in the United Kingdom either. On the other hand, My Way hit No. 2 in the U.K and stayed on the chart for 52 weeks. 

Sinatra never recorded “Suicide” but he still had a connection to The Beatles.

How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to speak with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.