Imagine There’s No Beatles: Read On About Danny Boyle’s New Comedy “Yesterday”

Picture this: you wake up the morning after a weird electrical event knocks out power in your corner of the world and causes a serious accident that has landed you in hospital. You survive, not entirely unscathed, but—happy to be alive-–you pick up a guitar and begin strumming your favourite song; an old standard, one you’ve loved for years; a veritable classic! After that classic opening chord, you start to sing:

“It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog…”

When you finish, your friends and family begin to clap. What is that song? they ask you. When did you write it?

“I didn’t!” you protest with a laugh. “John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote it.”

Met with stares of confusion. Who?

You know…from The Beatles?”

Nothing registers. Your friends and family are flummoxed. But so are you. Because you woke up in a world where everyone’s memories of the most famous band in the world are completely and totally…gone!

This is the premise of Danny Boyle’s new musical comedy Yesterday, starring Lily James and newcomer Himesh Patel as the English lad, Jack, who appears to be the only person on the planet who remembers the Fab Four following a freak accident. The trailer dropped recently and it looks like it’s going to be a riot!

Jack ends up as a wildly successful singer/songwriter, coasting on the musical gifts of John, Paul, George, and Ringo…which has got to prompt some interesting questions. What would you do if you were the only one to remember The Beatles?

The film also stars Kate McKinnon. Ed Sheeran and James Corden make cameo appearances as well. It is set for a summer release.

This is not the first time that there’s been a resurgence of interest in The Beatles. In the mid 1990s, it was The Beatles Anthology—an 8-part documentary series, a companion book, and three double album releases filled with alternate takes and studio chatter and never-before-heard music, including the first singles released by the band since 1970 (“Free as a Bird” and “Real Love“). In the mid-to-late 2000s, there was Across the Universe, the Cirque du Soleil show LOVE in Las Vegas (still going strong after 12 years!), and The Beatles Rock Band, which coincided with the release of remastered stereo and mono mixes of the entire Beatles catalogue. Now, again, there’s a lot of new Beatles material on the way in the coming months—from Peter Jackson’s confirmed reworking of the Let it Be film to a rumoured remasters of The Beatles’ final albums itself to mark the 50th anniversary of their release—and I, for one, am thrilled to bits with it all. It’s like a mini Beatlemania all over again.

Now, the big question I leave for you: What would you do if you were the only person who remembered The Beatles?

Written by Lindsay Stamhuis

Lindsay Stamhuis is a writer and English teacher. In addition to editing and writing about TV and Film, she is the co-host of The Bicks Pod, a podcast currently deep-diving into the collected works of William Shakespeare. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her partner Aidan, their three cats, and a potted pothos that refuses to grow more than one vine.

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