Paul McCartney Is Embarrassed By This Beatles Classic

Despite Its Insane $30 Million Value, Paul McCartney Is Embarrassed By This Beatles Classic

Paul McCartney has his doubts about performing one of The Beatles’ most profitable songs ever.

Highlights

Paul McCartney was embarrassed by The Beatles’ hit song “Yesterday” and almost didn’t record it, but it went on to become one of their most covered songs.
John Lennon felt that “Yesterday” was missing something, but still considered it a good song.
McCartney believes that “I Saw Her Standing There” is one of the best songs he’s ever written.

Paul McCartney is one of the most talented British musicians of all time. He’s also considered one of the most successful composers and performers of all time. After all, he’s written or co-written 32 songs that have topped the Billboard Hot 100 and has sold millions of albums across the world. Even today, at age 81, McCartney is still making new music and touring the world, with no plans to retire any time soon.

McCartney first rose to fame as one of the founding members and lead songwriters of the legendary band The Beatles. Despite their success, McCartney has admitted that he’s always been embarrassed by one of The Beatles’ biggest hits.

Paul McCartney Was “Embarrassed” By The Beatles’ Song ‘Yesterday’

Yesterday is not only one of The Beatles’ songs but also one of the highest-grossing songs of all time. Back in 2012, the BBC reported that this track was the fourth-most-successful song ever, having made a total of $30 million million in royalty payments.

Believe it or not, Paul McCartney came up with this song in a dream. “I was living in a little flat at the top of a house and I had a piano by my bed,” he said in an interview for The Beatles Anthology. “I woke up one morning with a tune in my head and I thought, ‘Hey, I don’t know this tune – or do I?’ It was like a jazz melody. My dad used to know a lot of old jazz tunes; I thought maybe I’d just remembered it from the past. I went to the piano and found the chords to it, made sure I remembered it and then hawked it round to all my friends, asking what it was: ‘Do you know this? It’s a good little tune, but I couldn’t have written it because I dreamt it.’”

As time went on, McCartney started to come up with lyrics for this song, choosing to picture a romantic relationship in its bitter end stages.

Related: Paul McCartney Scored His Biggest Overseas Hit With This Billboard Flop

However, once he had the final piece, McCartney found out that it was like nothing The Beatles had done before. He also didn’t want to play the song on his own “It was a little bit embarrassing,” he said during a 2021 appearance on The Howard Stern Show.

“I didn’t want to be the guy out on the stage on his own. When I brought it in, it was just me and a solo guitar. That was it. We elected not to release it as a single in England. Like, ‘Nah, we’re a rock group’. We liked it, but it wasn’t a big feature on our stage act”.

McCartney was so embarrassed by the song that he almost didn’t record the final track. But he was convinced to do it by producer George Martin, who also suggested a string quartet accompany him.

“I said ‘Are you kidding?’. I hated the idea. [Martin] said, ‘Well, let’s just try it, and if you hate it, we can just wipe it and go back to you and the guitar’. So I sat at the piano and worked out the arrangements with him, and we did it, and of course, we liked it,” he told Rolling Stone. This proved to be the right choice because ‘Yesterday’ went on to become one of The Beatles’ most covered songs of all time.

John Lennon Thought That ‘Yesterday’ Was Lacking Something

John Lennon on 'The Tomorrow Show'

When Paul McCartney first played ‘Yesterday’ in front of his bandmates, John Lennon couldn’t help but feel that the song was missing something. Despite this, he admitted that he always considered it a good song. In fact, Lennon even referenced ‘Yesterday’ in his song ‘How Do You Sleep?’, which was featured on his 1971 solo album Imagine.

“Paul wrote the lyrics to ‘Yesterday’,” Lennon said in a 1980 interview found in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. “Although the lyrics don’t resolve into any sense, they’re good lines. They certainly work, you know what I mean? They’re good, but if you read the whole song, it doesn’t say anything; you don’t know what happened. She left and he wishes it were yesterday – that much you get – but it doesn’t really resolve.

Although he didn’t contribute to writing the song, Lennon still received the songwriter’s credit as part of his partnership with McCartney. Despite this, Lennon always recognized that this song was all McCartney’s work. “I have had so much accolade for ‘Yesterday.’ That’s Paul’s song and Paul’s baby. Well done. Beautiful—and I never wished I’d written it,” he said.

Paul McCartney Thinks I Saw Her Standing There Is The Best Beatles Track

Paul McCartney performing

During his time with The Beatles, Paul McCartney wrote over 71 songs for the band. Some were big hits while others didn’t even make it to the charts, like the song ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.’

However, McCartney believes that one of the best songs he’s ever written is none other than ‘I Saw Her Standing There,’ which was the first song on The Beatles’ first album.

Originally, McCartney had the lyrics “Just seventeen/Never been a beauty queen” in mind, but John Lennon didn’t like the second part. So, they ended up changing it to “you know what I mean.” “I was like ‘Oops, this is not good,’” he told Howard Stern.

“Years later, I was getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Neil Young was there … and I told him that story,” McCartney added. “He was playing that night … and he did the song and he used that line, of course. He was the only one to ever use that line, I think.”

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