According to biographers of McCartney and the Beatles, McCartney composed the entire melody in a dream one night in his room at the Wimpole Street home of his then girlfriend Jane Asher and her family.  Upon waking, he hurried to a piano and played the tune to avoid forgetting it.  The track was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 14 June 1965, immediately following the taping of " I'm Down", and four days before McCartney's 23rd birthday.
There are conflicting accounts of how the song was recorded, the most quoted one being that McCartney recorded the song by himself, without bothering to involve the other band members.  Alternative sources state that McCartney and the other Beatles tried a variety of instruments, including drums and an organ, and that George Martin later persuaded them to allow McCartney to play his Epiphone Texan steel-string acoustic guitar, later overdubbing a string quartet for backup. Regardless, none of the other band members were included in the final recording.
  McCartney said the breakthrough with the lyrics came during a trip to Portugal in May 1965: "Yesterday" was the fifth of six number one The Beatles' singles in a row on the American charts, a record at the time.  The other singles were " I Feel Fine", " Eight Days a Week", " Ticket to Ride", " Help!" and " We Can Work It Out".  On 4 March 1966, the song was issued as the title track of the British EP Yesterday.
On 26 March, the EP went to number one, a position it held for two months.  Later that year, "Yesterday" was included as the title track of the North American album Yesterday and Today.
McCartney later performed the original "Scrambled Eggs" version of the song, plus additional new lyrics, with Jimmy Fallon and the Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.  Recording [ edit ] The first section ("Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away . ") opens with an F chord (the 3rd of the chord is omitted), then moving to Em 7  before proceeding to A 7 and then to D-minor.  In this sense, the opening chord is a decoy; as musicologist Alan Pollack points out, the home key (F-major) has little time to establish itself before "heading towards the relative D-minor".
 He points out that this diversion is a compositional device commonly used by Lennon and McCartney, which he describes as "deferred gratification".  Upon being convinced that he had not robbed anyone of their melody, McCartney began writing lyrics to suit it. As Lennon and McCartney were known to do at the time, a substitute working lyric, titled "Scrambled Eggs" (the working opening verse was "Scrambled eggs/Oh my baby how I love your legs/Not as much as I love scrambled eggs"), was used for the song until something more suitable was written.
In his authorised biography, Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now, McCartney recalled: "So first of all I checked this melody out, and people said to me, 'No, it's lovely, and I'm sure it's all yours. ' It took me a little while to allow myself to claim it, but then like a prospector I finally staked my claim; stuck a little sign on it and said, 'Okay, it's mine!' It had no words. I used to call it 'Scrambled Eggs'.
"  The original song, "Scrambled Eggs", was written to hold the music and phrasing in place.
 After Muzak switched in the 1990s to programs based on commercial recordings, its inventory grew to include about 500 "Yesterday" covers.  The leakage of sound from one track to another was a concern when the surround version of the song was mixed for Love, but it was decided to include the track nevertheless. As Martin explained in the liner notes of Love:  "Yesterday" won the Ivor Novello Award for "Outstanding Song of 1965",  and came second for "Most Performed Work of the Year", behind the Lennon–McCartney composition " Michelle".
The song has received its fair share of acclaim in recent times as well, ranking 13th on Rolling Stone 's 2004 list " The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time"  and fourth on the magazine's list "The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs" (compiled in 2010).   In 1999, Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) placed "Yesterday" third on their list of songs of the 20th century most performed on American radio and television, with approximately seven million performances. "Yesterday" was surpassed only by the Association's " Never My Love" and the Righteous Brothers' " You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'".
 "Yesterday" was voted Best Song of the 20th century in a 1999 BBC Radio 2 poll.  The Beatles' influence over their US record label, Capitol, was not as strong as it was over EMI's Parlophone label in Britain. A single was released in the US, pairing "Yesterday" with " Act Naturally", a track which featured vocals by Starr.
 The single was released on 13 September 1965 and topped the Billboard Hot 100 chart for four weeks, beginning on 9 October. The song spent a total of 11 weeks on the chart, selling a million copies within five weeks.  The single was also number one for three weeks on the US Cash Box pop singles chart the same year.
In 2006, a version of the song was included on the album Love. The version begins with the acoustic guitar intro from the song " Blackbird" transposed down a whole step to F major from its original key G to transition smoothly into "Yesterday". We agonised over the inclusion of "Yesterday" in the show.
It is such a famous song, the icon of an era, but had it been heard too much? The story of the addition of the original string quartet is well known, however, few people know how limited the recording was technically, and so the case for not including it was strong, but how could we ignore such a marvellous work? We introduced it with some of Paul's guitar work from " Blackbird", and hearing it now, I know it was right to include it. Its simplicity is so direct; it tugs at the heartstrings. Release [ edit ]
Hammond concluded his article by saying that, despite the similarities, "Yesterday" is a "completely original and individual [work]". 
 In a March 1967 interview with Brian Matthew, McCartney said that Lennon came up with the word that would replace "scrambled eggs": Yesterday.  Resemblance to other songs [ edit ]
All my troubles seemed so far away. It's easy to rhyme those a's: say, nay, today, away, play, stay, there's a lot of rhymes and those fall in quite easily, so I gradually pieced it together from that journey. Sud-den-ly, and 'b' again, another easy rhyme: e, me, tree, flea, we, and I had the basis of it.
 Paul played his guitar and sang it live, a mic on the guitar and mic on the voice. But, of course, the voice comes on to the guitar mic and the guitar comes on to the voice mic.
Then I said I'd do a string quartet. The musicians objected to playing with headphones, so I gave them Paul's voice and guitar on two speakers either side of their microphones. So there's leakage of Paul's guitar and voice on the string tracks.
McCartney's initial concern was that he had subconsciously plagiarised someone else's work (known as cryptomnesia). As he put it, "For about a month I went round to people in the music business and asked them whether they had ever heard it before. Eventually it became like handing something in to the police.
I thought if no one claimed it after a few weeks then I could have it. "  In July 2003, British musicologists stumbled upon superficial similarities between the lyric and rhyming schemes of "Yesterday" and Nat King Cole's and Frankie Laine's " Answer Me, My Love"; originally a German song by Gerhard Winkler and Fred Rauch called Mütterlein, it was a number 1 hit for Laine on the UK charts in 1953 as "Answer Me, O Lord", leading to speculation that McCartney had been influenced by the song. McCartney's publicists denied any resemblance between "Answer Me, My Love" and "Yesterday".
 "Yesterday" begins with the lines: "Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay. " In its second stanza, "Answer Me, My Love" has the lines: "You were mine yesterday.
I believed that love was here to stay. Won't you tell me where I've gone astray". The second section ("Why she had to go I don't know . ") is, according to Pollack, less musically surprising on paper than it sounds.
Starting with Em 7,  the harmonic progression quickly moves through the A-major, D-minor, and (closer to F-major) B ♭, before resolving back to F-major, and at the end of this, McCartney holds F while the strings descend to resolve to the home key to introduce the restatement of the first section, before a brief hummed closing phrase.  Composition and structure [ edit ] The song was around for months and months before we finally completed it. Every time we got together to write songs for a recording session, this one would come up. Paul wrote nearly all of it, but we just couldn't find the right title. We called it 'Scrambled Eggs' and it became a joke between us.
We made up our minds that only a one-word title would suit, we just couldn't find the right one. Then one morning Paul woke up and the song and the title were both there, completed. I was sorry in a way, we'd had so many laughs about it. 1 Resemblance to other songs "Yesterday" was released on the album A Collection of Beatles Oldies a compilation album released in the United Kingdom in December 1966, featuring hit singles and other songs issued by the group between 1963 and 1966. McCartney originally claimed he had written "Yesterday" during the Beatles' tour of France in 1964; however, the song was not released until the summer of 1965.
During the intervening time, the Beatles released two albums, A Hard Day's Night and Beatles for Sale, each of which could have included "Yesterday". Although McCartney has never elaborated on his claims, a delay may have been due to a disagreement between McCartney and George Martin regarding the song's arrangement, or the opinion of the other Beatles who felt it did not suit their image.  In 2006, just before the album Love was released, George Martin elaborated on the recording set-up of the song:  On 8 March 1976, "Yesterday" was released by Parlophone as a single in the UK, featuring " I Should Have Known Better" on the B-side.
The single peaked at number 8 on the UK Singles Chart. The release came about due to the expiration of the Beatles' contract with EMI, which allowed the company to repackage the Beatles' recordings as they wished. EMI reissued all 22 of the Beatles' UK singles, plus "Yesterday", on the same day, leading to six of them placing on the UK chart.
 Take 1, without the string overdub, was later released on the Anthology 2 compilation. On take 1, McCartney can be heard giving chord changes to Harrison before starting, but while Harrison does not appear to actually play, he was most certainly present because his voice is captured on the session tapes. Take 2 had two lines transposed from the first take: "There's a shadow hanging over me"/"I'm not half the man I used to be",  though it seems clear that their order in take 2 was the correct one, because McCartney can be heard, in take 1, suppressing a laugh at his mistake.
During the shooting of Help!, a piano was placed on one of the stages where filming was being conducted and McCartney took advantage of this opportunity to tinker with the song. Richard Lester, the director, was eventually greatly annoyed by this and lost his temper, telling McCartney to finish writing the song or he would have the piano removed.  The patience of the other Beatles was also tested by McCartney's work in progress, George Harrison summed this up when he said: "Blimey, he's always talking about that song.
You'd think he was Beethoven or somebody!"  McCartney performed two takes of "Yesterday" on 14 June 1965.   Take 2 was deemed better and used as the master take. On 17 June, an additional vocal track by McCartney and a string quartet were overdubbed on take 2 and that version was released.
 Concerning the debate on how the song should be released, Martin later said: "['Yesterday'] wasn't really a Beatles record and I discussed this with Brian Epstein: 'You know this is Paul's song .
Shall we call it Paul McCartney?' He said 'No, whatever we do we are not splitting up the Beatles. '"  Since "Yesterday" was unlike the Beatles' previous work and did not fit in with their image, the Beatles refused to permit the release of a single in the United Kingdom. This did not prevent Matt Monro from recording the first of many cover versions of "Yesterday".
His version made it into the top ten in the UK charts soon after its release in the autumn of 1965.  Pollack described the scoring as "truly inspired", citing it as an example of "[Lennon & McCartney's] flair for creating stylistic hybrids";  in particular, he praises the "ironic tension drawn between the schmaltzy content of what is played by the quartet and the restrained, spare nature of the medium in which it is played".  Replica of the Epiphone Texan acoustic guitar played by McCartney on the song When the song was performed on The Ed Sullivan Show, it was done in the above-mentioned key of F, with McCartney as the only Beatle to perform, and the studio orchestra providing the string accompaniment.
However, all of the Beatles played in a G-major version when the song was included in tours in 1965 and 1966. 1 Charts
 Interesting to note also that the main melody is seven bars in length, extremely rare in popular song, while the bridge, or "middle eight", is the more standard form of eight bars; often two four-bar phrases combined. The song was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1997. Although it was nominated for Song of the Year at the 1966 Grammy Awards, it lost out to Tony Bennett's " The Shadow of Your Smile".
  "Yesterday" was nominated for six Grammys in total that year, and "Help!" was also nominated in four categories.  After the band had failed to win any of the ten awards, Allan Livingstone, the head of Capitol Records, officially protested about the results, saying that "Yesterday" being passed over for the Song of the Year "makes a mockery of the whole event".  The tonic key of the song is F major (although, since McCartney tuned his guitar down a whole step, he was playing the chords as if it were in G), where the song begins before veering off into the key of D minor.
It is this frequent use of the minor, and the ii-V7 chord progression (Em and A 7 chords in this case) leading into it, that gives the song its melancholy aura. The A 7 chord is an example of a secondary dominant, specifically a V/vi chord. The G 7 chord in the bridge is another secondary dominant, in this case a V/V chord, but rather than resolve it to the expected chord, as with the A 7 to Dm in the verse, McCartney instead follows it with the IV chord, a B ♭.
This motion creates a descending chromatic line of C–B–B ♭–A to accompany the title lyric.