Friday, April 29, 2011

Y is for Yesterday

Yesterday by the Beatles has apparently had more cover versions than any other song. It’s also one of the most melancholy songs produced by the band.


The suggestion of “all my troubles seemed so far away” points to a golden age when thing were better. Ironically Paul McCartney wrote it when the Beatles were in their heyday.

It was credited to Lennon/McCartney, although the song was written solely by McCartney. In 2002 McCartney apparently asked Yoko Ono if she would allow reversing the credit on the song to read "McCartney/Lennon". Ono refused.

The remaining Beatles would perhaps see the aptness of the song today. Lennon was shot dead 30 years ago, George Harrison has died of cancer, McCartney’s wife died and he’s divorced from that dreadful woman with one leg, after parting with $24 million in the process.

And Ringo Starr is, well Ringo Starr. But at least he narrated Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends.

As a concept Yesterday seems to convey the idea that everything used to be better. But that’s not always the case. Few people who watched today’s Royal wedding can have looked back to the 1981 wedding between Charles and Diana, and thought that was better, although it was quite a spectacle at the time.

Certainly Kate did not appear to be looking around at the seats to see where a potential mistress was sitting as Diana was in 1981.

But there certainly may be days when Wills and Kate will look back to todays’ wedding as a high point and a day when their troubles seemed so far away.

Ordinarily I don’t hold with rose colored spectacles though and I have little time for people who tell me: “When I grew up we left our doors unlocked. There was no crime. You didn’t have to keep an eye on your kids etc.”

I always feel like asking them if the “good old days” are the ones when the skies were full of German bombers and death camps were being built across Europe. Or are they referring to the trenches, or the days of Victorian poverty when Jack the Ripper slit his victims open on the streets of Whitechapel.

And even if Wills and Kate’s marriage went wobbly it couldn’t possibly end as badly as the 1533 marriage of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn.

The marriage ceremony was secret but the coronation of Queen Anne saw the Queen dressed in a cloth of gold with ornate barges following her for four miles down the Thames.

In 1536 the Queen parted company with her head.

We may like to hold onto those sepia memories but the further back you go the more unpleasant a place yesterday seems to be.

9 comments:

  1. I think every age or time has its good and bad moments. Perhaps we just choose to remember the good moments from "yesterday" and try to forget the bad moments.

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  2. I really like your last line. That's so true.

    "Yesterday" is the only song I can (almost kind of) play by memory on the piano. Love that song.

    Have a nice weekend, David.
    xoRobyn

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  3. Yesterday always seems better, the older you get it...as young as I am, I am already starting to experience it a tad. Like, I remember when kids used to be kids and play outside, rather than text each other with their smart phones. :P

    But it also depends on the experiences the person went through, that fogs their view. If they were a white middle class person with a charmed life back in 1950s America, of course they're going to look back in fondness. But I've met a few black people from that era who simply do not want to talk about it. Yesterday is far away and that is the way they want to keep it!

    I totally agree with your last line. I couldn't have said it better myself, even if I tried.

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  4. Love this! And The Beatles!

    I have always disliked the idea that the life of our predecessors was better or somehow less troublesome than the life we're living. Crime, hate, and war have always been around--- it isn't something we just dreamed up today because we were bored.

    Maybe the 'Yesterday' the Beatles were referring to wasn't such a long ago yesterday. Maybe it was a more recent yesterday...as in, everything we're suffering at this moment was further away the day before---- or, maybe I'm just rambling, lol... sorry :-)

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  5. I love "Yesterdays" the song and otherwise...life was always good back then...so it seems when you sit on the rocking chair and let your mind wander

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  6. When McCartney wrote the melody for "Yesterday" he sang the words "Scrambled Eggs" before he wrote the actual lyrics. Most of his stuff was written melody first, then lyrics.

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  7. Oh yesterday... I did that for Y too.

    Nice to meet you on the last day of the challenge. We made it! :)

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  8. You sure have an interesting slant on things. It's a lot to think about, but I think you're right. Poor Paul, who lost the love of his life, and keeps bouncing from younger woman to younger woman. And there's Ringo, been quietly married forever.

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