Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday”

Like any treatment of popular music during the twentieth century, this chapter discusses The Beatles as arguably the most creative force in pop music in the last hundred years. How did all their creativity come about? Was it the genius of the team? Was it a sudden moment of inspiration or, as Thomas Edison said, just plain perspiration (hard work)? For one famous song by The Beatles, the moment of creation came in a dream. The song in question is Paul McCartneys Yesterday (voted number one pop song of all time by several polling groups). In the following video, note the obvious and the not so obvious. The song first came to McCartney in a dream, but he wasnt sure where it had come from; like Mozart, he carried it around in his head, but not in written form; and once the song became popular, everyone wanted it (as McCartney says, it now has literally thousands of covers). Now, watch McCartney tell the story at the U.S. Library of Congress, when he received the George Gershwin Prize in 2010.

When does the creative moment come to you? When youve had your first cup of coffee and are focused intensely, or when youre relaxed and defocused? When youre concentrating hard or when youre just daydreaming in the bath or shower, or jogging, or even dreaming while asleep, perhaps remembering something immediately upon awakening from that dream.

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