Yesterday all my trouble seemed so far away
Now it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh I believe in yesterday
Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be
There’s a shadow hanging over me
Oh yesterday game suddenly
Why she had to go I don’t know
She wouldn’t say
I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday
Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play
Now I need a place to hide away
Oh I believe in yesterday
It is a fact of life that we are often misled by the media, isn’t it? So it is with the story on the emergence of the iconic Beatles back nearly sixty odd years ago. If you ask most people, at least in Britain, as to who was the person behind the success of this group and it’s so called “Beatlemania”, they would certainly identify him as the late Brian Epstein. It is true that he was a big influence on their market triumphs, but he was after all just simply a great music entrepreneur, who diligently and strongly managed their success, as well as being a great friend, wasn’t he?
No, the true creator of the Beatles in a musical sense was George Martin, who has just passed away.
George Martin was a prodigious music producer, and the first person who saw the musical potential of the unknown but very talented group. He took them under his wing, which was a fairly hazard gamble at the time, and he steadfastly guided them along a long musical route to global stardom.
His contribution was recognised as being so great that he has even been described as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Those on the outside can never know the half of it though, can they?
One simple example is enough perhaps to illuminate the facts however? Paul McCartney composed and wrote some music, a melody, and penned some lyrics, and took it all to George. Paul tried a recording, which George didn’t like the sound mix. Nevertheless, he was enthralled with it, but astoundingly told Paul (who was obsessed with his own creation) that he thought it should be recorded with a backing arrangement of a string quartet. It took some persuasion for Paul to give it a go, as after all the band was a rock & roll group, wasn’t it? That insight was amazing really and the song, first recorded at Abbey Road studios, subsequently became a legend and a worldwide hit – like in the USA, Norway, Holland, Germany, Austria, Spain, Poland, and of course UK.
It was Paul’s baby (though the song was credited to Lennon-McCartney), and the other Beatles initially were anything but enthralled with such an anti-image ‘Yesterday’ release, so it became essentially a solo recording by McCartney, released first in the States, before the other Beatles relented and permitted its UK release in the mid 60’s.
The song “Yesterday” has been inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, and was performed in countless countries, with many-many millions of renderings on radio & TV as well as on stage. It gained a place in Guinness World Records, and became one of the most recorded songs in the history of popular music, winning a number of awards as an ‘outstanding song’ and ‘most performed work’, during the twentieth century. It is reportedly the fourth most successful song of all-time in terms of royalties paid, having amassed a total of well over twenty million pounds in payments.
Wow, some four thousand different versions of this classic tune have been recorded by a wide range of different artists other than the Beatles, including famous names like Ray Charles, Matt Monro, Marianne Faithfull, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Liberace, Tammy Wynette, Daffy Duck, The Mamas and the Papas, Marvin Gaye, and Placido Domingo. Impressive or not?
[None of that kind of track record would have happened without the insight and musical genius of George Martin, would it?]