Paul McCartney Reflects On Fellow Beatle John Lennon’s Dislike Of ‘Yesterday’ In New Interview

Words by Riley Fitzgerald
Graphic by Bravo Magazine

In a recent interview with the BBC, Paul McCartney reflected on his occasionally tumultuous relationship with fellow Beatle John Lennon.

The worst thing for John,” Paul told the BBC, “was that he didn’t write ‘Yesterday.”

I did,” Paul asserts, “and he would get really quite biffed because you would be in New York and the pianist would go and hum the song. That would annoy him.”

Here Paul refers to the time Lennon was in New York and encountered a musician who, assuming Lennon had written the Help! era song as part of the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership, began to perform ‘Yesterday’.

(Note that by some accounts the musician was a violinist and not a pianist and Lennon was in Spain, not New York.)

Lennon, embarrassed, is alleged to have mumbled for the performer to stop stating: “That’s Paul’s.”

Lennon’s dislike for the song was well known.

‘Yesterday’ drove him crazy,” journalist and friend of Lennon Howard Smith told MOJO Magazine in 2013. “People would say, ‘Thank you for writing ‘Yesterday’, I got married to it, what a beautiful song…’ He was always civil. But it drove him nuts.

On 1971 album Imagine John, who had fallen out with Paul following the breakup of the Beatles, even went as far as to sing “The only thing done was ‘Yesterday’.”

Despite their differences, the pair did eventually make amends.

He’s like a brother,” John Lennon said of Paul to one interviewer mere hours before he was tragically shot dead on December 8, 1980. “I love him. Families … we certainly have our ups and downs and our quarrels. But at the end of the day when it’s all said and done, I would do anything for him. I think he would do anything for me.”

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