Count Basie Orchestra – “Yesterday”

The Beatles’ Help! had its North American release on this day (August 13) in 1965, coming a week after its official release in the U.K. on August 6. The album, which originated as a soundtrack for a film of the same name starring the Fab Four, has had a profound influence on the direction of modern music, and the proof is in the fact that so many of the album’s songs — from “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” to “Ticket To Ride” to “Help!” — continue to live on in covers by today’s leading artists. In fact, it’s often said that one of the album’s most enduring tunes — Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” — has been covered more than any other songs in pop history.

As a testament to the immense musical appeal of “Yesterday,” we’re bringing you a cover that will impress even the most demanding jazz ears. It’s by the one and only Count Basie, who recorded the song with his orchestra in 1966 for the album Basie’s Beatle Bag in Polydor Records. The track’s lyrics are crooned by the endlessly hip Bill Henderson on vocals, and Basie himself switches to organ for the event, flicking cool and concise melodic lines into the air at exactly the right moments. McCartney’s elegantly simple melody has never swung harder.

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