I can’t even imagine what Beatlemania was like at its height, or if it has an equivalent today. But there’s no doubt that The Beatles are one of the most popular bands that have ever existed. After their more raucous rock n roll and their later psychedelic explorations, their sound was a classic pop one, but also with a certain thoughtful artistry.
“Yesterday” is from the 1965 album Help!, and was also included on an 1966 EP as the title track. It is a hauntingly sad song, with McCartney wistfully recounting a break up and how hopeless he feels. The string section add to the sombre tone very well indeed. The only other instrument is a single acoustic guitar. The lack of a drum section or bass help the song to retain its tragic feeling and make McCartney’s singing even more poignant.
For me, it serves as a reminder that the best and most enduring songs are often the most simple ones. “Yesterday” is a very beautiful song, that will probably affect people the same in a 100 years as it did when it was written.