One of The Beatles’ most well known early hits was Paul McCartney’s ‘Yesterday’ taken from the 1965 album Help!. McCartney supposedly composed the entire melody and song structure of the mournful ballad in a dream one night while sleeping at the Wimpole Street home of his then-girlfriend Jane Asher and her family. When he awoke, he rushed to the piano to play the song and hum some early lyrics before he forgot it.
Due to the nature of the song’s inception, McCartney was initially worried that he had subconsciously derived the progression from someone else. Reflecting on his plagiarism panic, McCartney said: “For about a month I went round to people in the music business and asked them whether they had ever heard it before. Eventually, it became like handing something into the police. I thought if no one claimed it after a few weeks then I could have it.”
Fortunately, nobody “claimed it” and The Beatles recorded the classic. Upon release, it became a major hit in the US, spending a total of 11 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, reaching number one for four weeks. The single’s tenure in the top spot would have lasted longer had their friendly rivals, The Rolling Stones, not released their hit single, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’.
The Stones’ classic was released in September 1965 and usurped the top spot on November 6th, remaining there for two weeks. The single followed the band’s immensely popular hit ‘Satisfaction’ which was released in the summer and struck while the iron was hot.
Despite its success, the band were never particularly satisfied with ‘Get Off of My Cloud’. During a 1971 interview, guitarist Keith Richards explained why. “I never dug it as a record. The chorus was a nice idea but we rushed it as the follow-up,” he said. “We were in L.A. and it was time for another single. But how do you follow ‘Satisfaction?’”
Richards then revealed that he had wanted ‘Get Off of My Cloud’ to sound slower. “Actually, what I wanted was to do it slow like a Lee Dorsey thing,” he revealed. “We rocked it up. I thought it was one of [Andrew Loog Oldham] ’s worst productions.”
Listen to The Rolling Stones’ number one hit, ‘Get Off of My Cloud’, below.