Here is my continuing look at how the Beatles were influenced by other musicians, including themselves. This is based on Steve Turner’s “The Beatles: A Hard Day’s Write,” subtitled “the stories behind every song.” Fairly often, the members of the group are quoted as having been inspired by a piece for their own creations. So I thought I’d put some of their songs up against the source material, with links to all, though some are live or otherwise non-standard versions.
Yes, It Is, the B-side to the single Ticket to Ride:
John claimed it was nothing more than an attempt to rewrite ‘This Boy‘ as it had the same chords, harmonies and “double-Dutch words.”
I’m Down, the B-side to the single Help:
An unashamed attempt by Paul to write a Little Richard song with which to replace ‘Long Tall Sally‘ in the Beatles’ set
Paul found it was not so easy.
Yesterday: The story that Paul woke up from a dream, worried that the tune had been unconsciously plagiarized is well known. He asked people for a month whether they were familiar with it.
In July 2003 the Liverpool writer Spencer Leigh made the discovery that there were both musical and lyric similarities between ‘Yesterday’ and the Nat King Cole song ‘Answer Me‘ (1953). The Cole song even has the lines “yesterday I believed that love was here to stay/Won’t you tell me that I’ve gone astray?’ The response from Paul’s office when the news broke was that the two songs were as alike as ‘Get Back’ and ‘God Save the Queen’.
This sounds, at worst, like subconscious plagiarism.
Watch the video here, especially after the 1:30 mark.