- Paul McCartney is surprised that not everyone knows the backstory of The Beatles’ “Yesterday.”
- “Yesterday” was released as a single many years apart in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The tune became far more popular in the U.S. than it was in the U.K.
The Beatles‘ “Yesterday” has an interesting backstory. Paul McCartney said he’s surprised he’s had to tell that story repeatedly. In addition, he said he’s had to tell one anecdote about John Lennon again and again.
A famous music producer was surprised by how much footage of The Beatles exists
In a 2021 Rolling Stone article, Paul and producer Rick Rubin interviewed each other. Rubin is a major producer known for working with artists such as Aerosmith, the Beastie Boys, Kanye West, Lana Del Rey, Lady Gaga, and numerous others. In the interview, Rubin discussed watching the documentary The Beatles Anthology.
Rubin said it was incredible how much footage of The Beatles existed, especially since the band predated camera phones. “There’s so much stuff out there,” Paul said. “But I think that’s one of the reasons The Beatles keep going — because you keep discovering another little thing.”
Paul McCartney assumes everyone knows the backstory of The Beatles’ ‘Yesterday’
Paul discussed telling certain anecdotes over and over. “I always think everyone’s heard all the stories,” he said. “As you get older, you think, ‘Am I just repeating all my stories?’ But I rationalize, well, there’s only one answer to the question, ‘How did you meet John?’”‘ I can’t make another meeting up. I can maybe try and explain how we met in a slightly different way.”
Paul said he’s talked about “Yesterday” repeatedly. “But I’ll still talk to someone and they say, ‘What? You dreamed ‘Yesterday?’ And so I’ll tell the story again, but it’s like, ‘You sure you haven’t heard this?’ But not everyone has.”
Paul praised his then-recent documentary McCartney 3, 2, 1. “As we go on and the young people come onboard, there’s a lot of stuff they haven’t heard,” he said. “And I think that’s one of the things about 3, 2, 1.”
‘Yesterday’ performed differently in the United States and the United Kingdom
The track appeared on many compilation albums, including 1962-1966. That album peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 175 weeks.
Notably, “Yesterday” became a single in the U.S. in 1965 and in the United Kingdom in 1976. The Official Charts Company says “Yesterday” became far less popular in the U.K. There, it peaked at No. 8 and stayed on the chart for nine weeks. On the other hand, 1962-1966 reached No. 3 in the U.K. and lasted on the chart for 167 weeks.
“Yesterday” was very popular and fans are still asking Paul questions about it!