Paul McCartney Thought Up The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ at a Movie Star’s House
Paul McCartney revealed he came up with the melody of The Beatles’ “Yesterday” when he was at a movie star’s house. Paul had a very close relationship with that star. In retrospect, Paul wasn’t sure how long it took for him to finish writing “Yesterday.”
A reporter once told Paul McCartney that The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’ took a year to finish
During a 2009 interview with Clash, Paul was asked why it took a year to finish “Yesterday.” “Was it?” Paul said. “I don’t remember it taking a year.
“It must have been from when I actually had the melody to when I’d finished it all,” he added. “I dreamed the melody one day in London when I was staying at Jane Asher’s house, who was my girlfriend at the time, and I was staying there and I woke up one morning with the song in my head.”
Jane Asher had a huge career outside of her association with The Beatles
Asher is an actor known for her roles in classic films such as The Masque of the Red Death, Alfie, The Quatermass Xperiment, and Deep End. Over the course of her long career, Asher has displayed an incredible acting range, appearing in horror films, comedies, and period pieces. She dated Paul from 1963 to 1968. She’s also the sister of Peter Asher, who recorded the Lennon-McCartney composition “A World Without Love” with his British Invasion duo Peter and Gordon.
Paul tried to remember if it took a year to complete “Yesterday.” “I’m not sure how long it took to get it to the sessions — maybe we weren’t recording at that point; it sounds like we weren’t if I was on holiday,” he said. “We’d be having a break or something. So probably when we got back in the studio in Abbey Road I then [started it], so I’m not sure if that whole process was a year but that was the story.”
What John Lennon had to say about ‘Yesterday’ in retrospect
The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono features a 1980 interview. In it, John was asked about “Yesterday.” He attributed the song entirely to Paul. He noted that people regularly played the song around him even though he didn’t write it. In fairness, John joked it would be weird if someone played “I Am the Walrus” to him in a restaurant!
John praised “Yesterday,” saying that its lyrics proved Paul was a talented lyricist. On the other hand, he opined that the narrative of the song never resolves itself. The “Imagine” singer also said his early songs didn’t resolve themselves either.
John was correct that “Yesterday” does not have a complete narrative, but that’s not a problem. Sometimes tracks are great because they end on a cliffhanger or display some ambiguity. The simple, open-ended story of “Yesterday” is part of the tune’s universal appeal.
Even before “Yesterday” became a famous song, it also had a major connection to a celebrity.