Friday, 18 June 2021

What is the most recorded song of all time?

YESTERDAY was never released as a single in the UK

YESTERDAY famously came to McCartney in a dream, while he was living with the Asher family in Wimpole Street. The melody seemed so familiar that or several days he was convinced that he had subconsciously plagiarized the melody. Eventually George Martin convinced him that he had not.

Finding words proved a lot trickier. The working title was ‘Scrambled Eggs’ and the opening couplet  unpromising : 'Scrambled eggs/Oh how I love your legs.'


The recording of the song marked a major change in musical direction. It was the first to have a strange a string arrangement, the first to have only one Beatle (Paul) performing. Though the others did not object there was some unease YESTERDAY did not fit with The Beatles brand image. Perhaps for this reason it was not released as a single in the UK.

Though YESTERDAY was acclaimed by most critics on its release, not all of the  great and groovy were impressed. Bob Dylan was particularly snooty:

"If you go into the Library of Congress, you can find a lot better than that. There are millions of songs like 'Michelle' and 'Yesterday' written in Tin Pan Alley".

Bob eventually changed his tune, or rather Paul's. In 1970 he recorded  an impromptu version, with George Harrison playing guitar.


1986 the Guinness Book of Records declared YESTERDAY the most recorded song of all time. There were 1600 versions then — and this figure has risen to more than 2000. It has been popular in several genres — in including jazz and classical — and is a cabaret staple across the world.

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