The Beatles song Paul McCartney called a complete fluke

Paul McCartney has carved himself into one of the most influential songwriters in pop music history. Throughout his work with The Beatles and beyond, McCartney’s knack for writing hooks has only been matched by his prolific work, making a tapestry of different sounds across his career. While he has talked about working hard to bring his best songs to life, he admits that one of his finest compositions was a complete fluke.

When The Beatles were first getting together, though, McCartney usually bounced ideas off John Lennon to create their masterpieces. Although the duo would eventually be able to write phenomenal songs independently, tracks like ‘From Me To You’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ thrived off of Lennon and McCartney working in tandem to create the best pop hooks imaginable.

Although Lennon dominated most of the band’s material in the early days, things began to veer off in different directions after A Hard Day’s Night. While the band would continue to make music under the Lennon/McCartney umbrella, Lennon’s writing partner had created a song that was bound to become a classic.

Conceived as a delicate ballad, McCartney’s mournful ‘Yesterday’ was one of the most solemn tracks that the band had released when it came out on the soundtrack to the film Help!. While the song was one of the greatest that the band would ever compose together, McCartney still considers it to be a complete accident.

When talking about the song in 2001, McCartney thought the track was a complete fluke. After being asked whether ‘Yesterday’ was the best track he ever wrote, McCartney replied, “I don’t know if it’s the best song I ever wrote… it was the flukiest song I ever wrote because it was a dream and I woke up, and I had the melody in my head. And it’s done amazingly well. It’s been recorded by something like 3000 people. In that respect, I think you can call it the best, but I just prefer other songs.”

While staying in the attic of his girlfriend Jane Asher’s house, McCartney composed the track in 1963 after having a dream about the melody. Even though he thought the melody was strong, McCartney initially thought the song didn’t belong to him, often playing it to anyone that he could, thinking that he had ripped off an old jazz standard that his father had played when he was a child.

Even though the band could have easily had a hit with it, it was McCartney’s idea to bury the track on the back of Help!, thinking that it wouldn’t work with The Beatles’ usual formula. When discussing the song with Rolling Stone, McCartney would say that he was hesitant to share the track with the group, saying, “We were a little embarrassed by it. We were a rock and roll band.”

Despite baring the Lennon/McCartney moniker on the song, the melody and lyrics belonged entirely to McCartney, marking a brilliant marriage of lyrics and melody under one roof. Even though the band were on the cusp of the most creative projects of their career, this may have been the unofficial first solo Paul McCartney track ever recorded, not featuring any of his bandmates on the track outside of McCartney’s vocal and acoustic guitar.

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