British legends The Beatles are back on the big screen thanks to the new movie Yesterday, which is named after the classic John Lennon and Paul McCartney composition. Like 2007's Across the Universe movie, Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr's songs as The Beatles are covered by and used to tell the story of Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter (who is not related to former One Direction member Zayn Malik). British actor Himesh Patel portrays Malik in his rise to superstardom in a Beatles-less world.
The premise of Yesterday is Patel's Malik is not having any luck with his music career. The songs he's written on his own can't capture a crowd. After getting hit by a bus during a global blackout, Malik wakes up in a world where The Beatles never existed. However, he still remembers songs from the guys' iconic discography and decides to pass them off as his own compositions. Like with The Beatles, Malik's career takes off once the songs go viral and make him a viable pop star. Patel sings The Beatles songs in the movie himself. Here's five songs from the soundtrack that he does a damn good job of covering.
5. "Carry That Weight"
One of my favorite songs from The Beatles' 1969 album Abbey Road, "Carry That Weight" by Lennon-McCartney makes a surprise appearance in the movie. Clocking in at under two minutes, the track always seemed more like an interlude. As Malik starts to notice the viral attention, Patel sings the song and stays very faithful to the original version. He carries his weight in this moving moment.
4. "The Long and Winding Road"
"The Long and Winding Road" is a standout from The Beatles last album, 1970's Let it Be. Another Lennon-McCartney composition that Phil Spector turned into a sweeping production. Without giving too much away from the movie, Patel's Malik leaves Yesterday's other big star, British singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran, in awe when he delivers a stripped-down version of the song on the piano.
3. "Here Comes the Sun"
"Here Comes the Sun" from Abbey Road is one of the most perfectly placed songs in Yesterday. As the fame of Patel's Malik outgrows the U.K., he travels to what's portrayed as sunny L.A. with this George Harrison composition soundtracking his journey. Like The Beatles' version, Patel's take on the classic is still bright and psychedelic but with a modern, folksy twist. He sounds just as hopeful as Harrison.
My all-time favorite Beatles song "Something" makes it on the Yesterday soundtrack but it's barely a blip in the actual movie. Another knockout Harrison composition on the Abbey Road album, Patel's Malik cuts the track in a recording studio in brief but beautiful moment. Fortunately, there's a full-length version available where he channels the love song into an unassuming yet still magical cover.
How could a list of the best Beatles covers in the Yesterday movie not include the title track? The Lennon-McCartney composition serves as the moment where Patel's Malik starts to realize that The Beatles have been deleted from the planet following his accident. Like Patel's co-stars watching him play the song on guitar acoustically, I too got emotional seeing and hearing his haunting take.
Yesterday the movie is now playing in theaters. The soundtrack featuring Patel was released on June 21.