Paul McCartney Recalls John Lennon’s First Reaction To ‘Yesterday’

The Beatles’ Paul McCartney recently made an appearance on NPR for an interview. Speaking with the host Terry Gross, the musician revealed how John Lennon reacted to ‘Yesterday’ when he first heard the song.

The Beatles is one of the most influential bands of all time as they continue to influence musicians after all those years. Throughout the band’s career, Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote most of the band’s songs under their songwriting partnership. Their collaboration led to the creation of many of the band’s classics, including ‘Yesterday.’

‘Yesterday’ was featured on the Beatles album ‘Help!’ released in August 1965. It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to the Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership. After the release, ‘Yesterday’ became a huge success and topped the US charts. Even today, it remains a popular song, and there are many covers.

During his interview on NPR, the host Terry Gross asked Paul McCartney about the time he and John Lennon started writing songs separately. As a response, McCartney told Gross that they started doing this when they were at different locations. He then gave the Beatles song ‘Yesterday’ as an example.

Although both McCartney and Lennon worked extensively on their songs when together, ‘Yesterday’ was created differently. McCartney said that ‘Yesterday’s melody came to him in his dream. He then played the tune to Lennon, and Lennon said he liked it. Then, Macca wrote the song’s lyrics when he was on holiday in Portugal.

Speaking to Terry Gross on NPR, Paul McCartney commented on why Lennon and he wrote separately as follows:

“It was just a question of location, really. I mean, if I was on holiday and I wanted to write a song, John wouldn’t be there, so I would just write the song. And I wouldn’t think, ‘Oh, I got to wait until I see him.’ The same happened with him. I would just be somewhere, feeling the song, and it was often just that, proximity.

If we weren’t able to just meet up that day, but you still had an idea for a song. For instance, ‘Yesterday,’ the song ‘Yesterday,’ the melody came to me in a dream, so I played that intact to John. And he said, ‘Oh, I like that.’ I was basically asking if this was someone else’s melody. I couldn’t believe it was mine because it arrived in a dream.

And then when I was on holiday in Portugal, it was a long drive from Lisbon down to the south coast, and I put the lyrics together there. It was just a different process.”

You can watch the rest of the interview below.