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The Beatles Song Paul McCartney Called ‘the Smash of This Century’



In his time with The Beatles, Paul McCartney wrote many hit songs. Together, he and John Lennon made their mark on songwriting history. McCartney said that one of the songs he wrote without any of Lennon’s assistance was one of the top songs of the century. Still, he said that its release was a bit disappointing. 

Paul McCartney said a Beatles song he wrote was the song of the century

One of The Beatles’ most famous songs is “Yesterday,” which came to McCartney in a dream. Because of this, he assumed he couldn’t have actually come up with it. When he realized it was an original melody, he set to work writing lyrics. This made the song’s massive success felt even more thrilling.

“It was my most successful song. It’s amazing that it just came to me in a dream,” he said in The Beatles Anthology. “That’s why I don’t profess to know anything; I think music is all very mystical. You hear people saying, ‘I’m a vehicle; it just passes through me.’ Well, you’re dead lucky if something like that passes through you.”

Still, the song was a disappointment in some ways. McCartney saw “Yesterday” as one of the best songs of the century, but he still only received 15% of its profits. McCartney explained that some of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein’s business decisions did not benefit the band.

“For ‘Yesterday,’ which I wrote totally on my own, without John’s or anyone’s help, I am on 15%,” he said. “To this day I am only on 15% because of the deals Brian made, and that is really unjust, particularly as it has been such a smash. It is possibly the smash of this century.”


Paul McCartney admitted The Beatles were initially embarrassed by the song

Though McCartney now speaks about how proud he was of the song, he admitted that he and his bandmates initially found it embarrassing.

“In fact, we didn’t release ‘Yesterday’ as a single in England at all, because we were a little embarrassed about it — we were a rock’n’roll band.”

Still, he took pride in the song, even though his bandmates teased him about it.

“I am proud of it. I get made fun of because of it a bit,” McCartney said, adding, “I remember George saying, ‘Blimey, he’s always talking about “Yesterday,” you’d think he was Beethoven or somebody.’ But it is, I reckon, the most complete thing I’ve ever written.”

John Lennon wasn’t as impressed with the song

While Lennon also said that the song was one of McCartney’s best, he didn’t think it was entirely lyrically sound. Lennon thought he was the better lyricist. He believed McCartney could compete with him on songs like “Yesterday,” but he still thought it had problems. 

“A couple of lines he’s come up with show indications he’s a good lyricist, but he just never took it anywhere,” Lennon said in the book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview With John Lennon and Yoko Ono by David Sheff. “He wrote the lyrics to ‘Yesterday.’ 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 was yesterday — that much you get — but it doesn’t really resolve.”

Lennon, though, was notoriously hard on his former bandmate’s music.


Source: Cheat Sheet

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