Yesterday & Today


Nadav Kander / Rolling Stone

On his way to work this morning, Paul McCartney had to wait for some pedestrians at a white-striped crosswalk. They stood in groups, cameras in hand, blocking a tree-lined London street. As McCartney sat patiently in his SUV, none of them looked his way – the tourists were too busy taking pictures of themselves crossing Abbey Road.

«It’s happened to me a few times,» McCartney says later, with a small laugh. «It’s a moment I quite enjoy. There’s a good, strong metaphor there But there’s so many metaphors in my life – I don’t look for them. The life of a Beatle is full of metaphors.»

Resisting an urge to jump out of the car and pose with his fans, he instead heads straight onto hallowed, if distinctly musty-smelling, ground: Abbey Road’s Studio Two. «Welcome to my world,» McCartney says, striding through double doors at the back of a high-ceilinged, rectangular, gymnasiumlike room. He’s chomping on a piece of gum «Ancient and modern Every time I come in here, I unravel the whole story again. This is where it all happened.»


At the deepest level, McCartney has little idea where all the melodies come from. He still hasn’t figured out how he wrote «Yesterday» in his sleep. «I don’t like to use the word ‘magic,’ unless you spell it with a ‘k’ on the end, because it sounds a bit corny. But when your biggest song – which 3,000 people and counting have recorded – was something that you dreamt, it’s very hard to resist the thought that there’s something otherworldly there.»

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