“Yesterday” remained in Sinatra’s concert repertoire for some time, as he sang it e.g. at Caesars Palace later in 1969, and also, to the Costa arrangement during his two gala concerts at the Royal Festival Hall in London on May 7 and 8, 1970 (with the Count Basie Orchestra) – the latter performances he later considered some of his best concert singing ever. And since neither of the two had been professionally recorded, he asked an English fan for a copy of the audience tapes, sending back a golden lighter in return.
Once more, it was under the baton of Vincent Falcone jr., who brought so many innovations, fresh sounds and seldom-performed songs back to Sinatra’s repertoire in the late 70s and early 80s, that Frank Sinatra started to sing “Yesterday” again in concert, in late summer 1979 during an engagement at the “Resorts International” in Atlantic City. When touring the East Coast in October 1979, Sinatra would even perform a small “Beatles segment” in his shows, consisting of “Yesterday” being immediately followed by the only other Fab-Four-composition in his repertoire, “Something”, which he had first recorded for Reprise in 1970, and was now performing to a new Nelson Riddle arrangement (in December, he would also record that version for Reprise, as released on “Trilogy”).
While “Something” would remain in Sinatra’s repertoire until March 1991, “Yesterday” was dropped again in November 1979, and he never sang it again on stage. He did, however, still rehearse it as late as March 1990, when he was preparing for an engagement at “Bally’s” in Las Vegas. At that time of his career, of course, Sinatra’s voice wasn’t quite up to those long-extended syllables anymore, and maybe that’s also why he finally decided not to sing it during the actual concerts.
The 1969 Reprise recording of “Yesterday”, meanwhile, remained in the catalogue, also being re-issued on a “sampler-concept” album called “Everything Happens To Me” by Reprise on CD in February 1996, with a song programme that was, according to the liner notes, personally selected and sequenced by Sinatra.
“Yesterday”, the song, offers much of what so many modern compositions lack, and Sinatra’s version transports much of what so many modern vocalists fail to accomplish: Combining a simple melody to simple lyrics with simple feeling.
Which is simply called “music”. Remember?
Oh yes, I believe in “Yesterdayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy”...
IV. (Data for the Sinatra recording)
YESTERDAY (Words & Music by Paul McCartney)
recorded on February 20, 1969, in Hollywood, Western Recorders Studio 1
Arrangement: Don Costa
Orchestra conducted by Don Costa:
John Cave, Vincent DeRosa, Richard Perissi (French horn); Gene Cipriano, Justin Gordon, Lloyd Hildebrand, Ronny Lang, Don Lodice, Bud Shank (saxophone, woodwinds); Israel Baker, Thelma Beach, Arnold Belnick, Lou Raderman, Sally Raderman, Nathan Ross, Mischa Russell, Ralph Schaeffer, Marshall Sosson, Gerald Vinci (violin); Allan Harshman, Paul Robyn, Alvin Dinkin, Alex Neiman (viola); Justin di Tullio, Armand Kaproff, Edgar Lustgarten, Jacqueline Lustgarten (violoncello); Kathryn Julye (harp); Bill Miller, Lou Levy (piano, celeste, harpsichord); Al Viola (guitar); Chuck Berghofer (bass); John Guerin (drums); Emil Richards (percussion)
First issue/album/LP/CD: My Way (Reprise) (first issued March 1969)
Album/CD: Everything Happens To Me (Reprise) (issued February 6, 1996)
CD: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings (20 CD Box, Reprise) CD 14