Paul woke up one morning in his top
floor bedroom at the Asher's home in Wimpole Street with the
tune for 'Yesterday' in his head. There was a piano by the
bed and he went straight to it and started playing. "It was
just all there," he said. "A complete thing, I couldn't
Although at that point it had no
lyric, Paul was worried that the tune itself might have been
unconsciously plagiarized, and that what had seemed like a
flash of inspiration may only have been a surge of
recollection. "For about a month, I went round to people in
the music business and asked them wether they had ever heard
it before," he said. "Eventually it became like handling
something into the police. I thought that if no-one claimed
it after a few weeks then I would have it."
He then came up with the
provisional title 'Scrambled Eggs' and began singing
'Scrambled eggs, Oh you've got such lovely legs', simply to
get a feel for the vocal. This was a common practice and
sometimes gave rise to interesting lines that were kept in
the final version. "We were shooting Help! in the studio for
about four weeks," remembers Dick Lester. "At some time
during that period, we had a piano on one of the stages and
he was playing this 'Scrambled Eggs' all the time. It got to
the point where I said to him, 'If you play that bloody song
any longer I'll have the piano taken off stage. Either
finish it or give it up!'"
Have an omelet with some muenster cheese.
Put your dishes in the washbin please
so I can clean the scrambled eggs.
Join me, do
There are lots of eggs for me and you
I've got ham and cheese and bacon too
so go get two and join me, do.
Fried or sunny-side
just aren't right. The mix-bowl begs.
Quick - go get a pan
and we'll scram-ble up some eggs, eggs, eggs,
Good for breakfast, dinnertime or brunch
Don't buy six or twleve - buy a bunch
and we'll have lunch
on scrambled eggs.
Paul must have conceived the tune
early in 1965, but it wasn't until June when he took a brief
holiday in Portugal at the villa of Shadows' guitarist Bruce
Welch that he'd completed the lyric. He then hit on the idea
of using a one word title &endash; 'Yesterday'.
"I was packing to leave and Paul
asked me if I had a guitar," says Welch. "He'd apparently
been working on the lyrics as he drove to Albufeira form the
airport at Lisbon. He borrowed my guitar and started playing
the song we all now know as 'Yesterday'."
Two days after returning from
Portugal, Paul recorded it at Abbey Road. The song startled
pop fans at the time because it featured a string quartet
with Paul as the only Beatle at the session. In America it
became a single (13th, November, 1965) and stayed the Number
1 spot for four weeks but, in Britain, it was never
released as either an A or a B
side during the group's carrer. It rapidly became a pop
standard (2,500 versions), covered by everyone from Frank
Sinatra to Marianne Faithfull. Nowadays, some 30 years on,
it is still the most played track on the radio (more than 5
million times; 2 millon more than any other
Although John claimed that he never
wished that he had written it, he did admit that it was a
"beautiful" song with "good" lyrics but argued that the
lyrics were never resolved. However, others have felt that
its strenght lies in its vagueness. All the listener needs
to know is that it's about someone wanting to turn back the
clock, to retreat to a time before a trafic event. The
application is universal.
There has been speculation that in
Paul's case the tragedy referred to was the death of his
mother and the regret was over his inability to express his
grief at the time.