In January 1964 Paul woke up with the chords and rough melody of the tune in his head, which he immediately worked out on piano. It sounded good right away. What was unusual was that after this initial burst of inspiration, he continued to tinker with the song for over 18 months. This is a phenomenal amount of time to spend on a song during a period when it was not uncommon to write something on a Tuesday, record it on Wednesday, and have it off to the pressing plant by the weekend.
Just about everyone around Paul became sick and tired of Yesterday before it was finished. While he was finessing it on the set of “Hard Days Night”, director Richard Lester got so bored of McCartney’s endless fussing that he lost his temper and told Paul to “finish the bloody thing or I’ll have the piano removed from the set.”
Around that time George Harrison was heard to say "Blimey, he’s always talking about that song you’d think he was Beethoven or somebody!"
Yesterday is not really a Beatles song. It is a Paul McCartney solo record. He’s the only Beatle who appears on it, accompanied by a string quartet of anonymous non-Beatles. During the recording George Matin almost finished The Beatles five years early when he suggested to Brian Epstien the possibility of releasing “Yesterday” as Paul’s solo single. The ever astute Epstien emphatically and intelligently said No.
“Whatever we do we are not splitting up The Beatles.”
Yesterday is literally a power ballad. It is Vladimir Putin’s favorite Beatles song. No surprise there. Yesterday has a power to captivate and enslave all who hear it. Just like Vlad.
Yesterday was also the point at which The Beatles stopped being just a four-piece Rock And Roll Band and became sculptors of audio landscapes. They had begun to compose Loudspeaker Paintings, using the recording studio itself as a musical instrument.
The string quartet was recorded in less than 2 hours. Guess what they were paid?
Five Guinnies each. ($7.50).
The Ukuele version features the singular talent of Colton Ford. We were a little nervous about tackling this song but Colton held our hands and guided us through with grace and elegance. It takes a big soul to attempt this piece. Colton is more than up to the task.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
“When you are covering a hit track, if you can retain the integrity of the original and bring your own style to it in the process, you can reveal something to the listener about you as an artist that perhaps they haven’t heard before. Adding my interpretation hopefully gives a new perspective to this Beatles’ classic, enabling me to show a different side of my vocal ability” explains Colton Ford of his choice to interpret "Yesterday."
For those who remain unable to get beyond Ford’s porn star past to focus on his singing present Ford has a few words: “I can’t control how people feel about me, my past and my music. I have always sung and created music, so I just continue to do what I’ve always done. My main concern is to make music that I feel and that I’m proud of. The rest is out of my control. I know that there are some people who aren’t going to be able to see beyond my porn persona, and that’s ok.”
Pausing for a moment, he adds, “I feel, however, that there are far more people out there who are interested in hearing what I can do musically, and are able to look beyond that part of my past. Those are the people I’m looking to reach. I’m doing what I love to do, so at the end of the day, I can say that I’m following my heart and living my dream. Isn’t that what we all want for ourselves?”