In early 1965, Paul McCartney woke up one morning with a melody in his head and the words “scrambled eggs” on his lips. “It was just there, a complete thing,” he has said about Yesterday, the bleak, aching take of regret that now ranks as one of the most-covered compositions in history (over 2,500 versions and counting).
At first, The Beatles tried recording the song as a band (one version had Lennon playing the organ), but nothing sounded right. Finally, producer George Martin suggested that McCartney perform the song solo on an Epiphone Texan steel-string acoustic. Afterwards, Martin convinced a reluctant McCartney to allow him to add a string quartet as backing.
The success of Yesterday had a profound musical impact on The Beatles, who would soon begin experimenting with different sounds, instruments and varying configurations of the band.