Paul McCartney dreamt Yesterday, so the story goes. Depending on how the universe goes it is either likely that someone who would be responsible for some of the greatest music ever – and the songs he did with The Beatles – could dream a song, or it was a remarkable piece of luck.
The legend is that the young version of Paul McCartney woke up one morning with a tune in his head. He presumed he had heard it somewhere before but after asking lots of people about the tune no-one recognised it and he then (rightly) presumed his head had thought of it without him asking it to. And he recorded Yesterday.
So, we presume that it was logical that a young man fresh with the seemingly infinite ability to eject melodic guitar pop (with the ease of a alcoholic supping down their 8am brandy) should be expected to dream a moment of music perfection. Why did it only happen this once?
An alternative might be that even non-musical geniuses might be able to dream a song because the talent has nothing to do with it. These great songs are just randomly dreamt every few years by every Tom, Dick and Paul McCartney. Macca just had the requisite tools to recreate this dream shanty.
Perhaps, even, Yesterday, had been knocking about various dreams without being picked up earlier. Perhaps a caveman had dreamt it. How would the stone age dreamer have communicated ‘have you heard this before?’ to his fellow pre-humans without a basic language system? McCartney was simply not on level playing field with this potential paleolithic rival.
And what about me? If I hadn’t heard of The Beatles or ever heard the song Yesterday but dreamt it, where would it leave me? I’d walk to work hum it and within seconds someone would point out that I was doing the tune of Yesterday by The Beatles (“the who?” I would say, to which I would leave myself open to jokes about the Daltrey-Townshend-Moon-Entwistle axis of rock). Even if I worked with people who also hadn’t heard of The Beatles it would only be a matter of time before I forgot the tune. I can’t play a fucking musical instrument so it would be gone.
Whatever the reason, it’s probably a good reason that it was Paul McCartney who dreamt the song when he dreamt it.