The song that earned The Beatles $30 million

The Beatles’ music may as well be a part of Western culture than traditional rock and roll. Although the lives of the Fab Four may have been no different than anyone in their personal lives, the different creative avenues they went down throughout their career led to them becoming one of the biggest acts in the world to this day. Even with the massive success of their singles, one song has built up a vast empire on its own.

When working out of the Cavern Club in the early days, most of the band’s work favoured rock and roll from artists like Chuck Berry and Little Richard. Even though they shared a mix of originals and covers throughout their studio records, the biggest hits came from when they were building off the foundation of rock and roll, like the relentless teenage angst in ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘She Loves You’.

Though the band could write rock songs all day, it paled compared to their signature ballads, which would become a staple of their career. While the songs usually fluctuated between the typical ‘I-love-you’ tracks from any other rock band at the time, Paul McCartney hit on a bulletproof melody in 1963.

Living at Jane Asher’s house, McCartney started to put the pieces together for what would become ‘Yesterday’. Thinking that he had indirectly stolen it from an old jazz tune that his father used to play, McCartney quickly started to adopt the song as his own, playing it between takes of their second major blockbuster, Help!.

While McCartney knew the song was good, he remembered being embarrassed to show it to the rest of the band, thinking it would ruin their reputation as a seasoned rock and roll outfit. Once producer George Martin heard it, though, the suggestion of adding strings turned the song into a plaintive ballad, as McCartney sings his woes about letting the love of his life slip away.

Since its release, ‘Yesterday’ has also earned the distinction of being one of the most covered songs in history, with everyone from Frank Sinatra to Aretha Franklin trying their hand at making McCartney’s melody work for them. Combined with the royalties from the covers and the publishing rights, ‘Yesterday’ has earned The Beatles over $30million, beating out any of their major singles.

Regardless of whether it was rock and roll, the song touched the hearts of fans worldwide in a way that few artists have been able to do. Even though John Lennon shared the song’s publishing with McCartney, he admitted that it was McCartney’s vision from the beginning, saying that he never wished to have written it himself.

While $30million could have easily been enough for any other band to retire, ‘Yesterday’ is still leaving its mark as one of The Beatles’ most celebrated masterpieces. Not bad for a song that wasn’t even put out as a single at first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Mick Jagger John & Yoko’s Elvis Presley & Priscilla Presley