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Paul McCartney reveals inspiration behind iconic “Yesterday” lyric

todayFebruary 26, 2024


ABC/Heidi Gutman

Paul McCartney is opening up about the inspiration behind one of the iconic lyrics to his classic tune “Yesterday.”

During the latest episode of his McCartney: A Life in Lyrics podcast, the former Beatle explains that the line “I said something wrong, now I long for yesterday” was inspired by a time he corrected how his mother pronounced a word, something he deeply regretted.

“Sometimes, it’s only in retrospect you can appreciate it,” he says. “I remember very clearly one day feeling very embarrassed cause I embarrassed my mum.”

“She would talk what we thought was a little bit posh,” he explains, noting, “I know that she said something like, ‘Paul, will you ask him if he’s going?’ and I went, ‘Arsk?! Arsk! It’s ask, mum!’ And she got a little bit embarrassed.”

He adds, “I remember later thinking, ‘God, I wish I’d never said that.’ And it stuck with me … after she died.”

While the song seems to be about a heartbreak over a failed relationship, McCartney later realized it’s also about the loss of his mother.

“So I don’t know. Does this happen? Do you find yourself unconsciously putting songs into girl lyrics that are really your dead mother?” he says. “I suspect it might be true. It sort of fits, if you look at the lyrics.”

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