The Beatles – Yesterday

First Hit #1: October 9, 1965

Here, the first Paul McCartney solo single. It’s interesting that one of the most famous songs the Beatles ever recorded was recorded by one Beatle and a few string accompanists. Which is not a complaint, since I can’t see this song working as well if it was a full band behind it. Fitting right in with Help! and it’s surprisingly melancholy mood – though not actually featured in the film, the madcap comedy about people trying to kill Ringo – Yesterday is a song about loneliness that really needs just one guy doing it. I’d even question the presence of the strings, just Paul and his guitar would really reinforce the mood of the piece. Not that the strings aren’t very lovely, but it’s a song that certainly benefits from one band member being the one person playing on the track. There is a Paul sans strings demo on Anthology, and if I’m honest I do prefer the sound, it doesn’t lose anything and it enforces that solitude inherent in being freshly rejected.

A lot has been said about Paul McCartney’s tendency to write silly love songs, including by the man himself in the song Silly Love Songs, but some of his more striking tracks have been just cutting songs about loneliness, this among them.

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