Warning! SPOILERS ahead for Yesterday.
Yesterday doesn't just feature the songs of The Beatles, the film also includes several Easter eggs and references to the legendary band's career. Starring Himesh Patel as Jack Malick, Yesterday imagines a world where following an accident, he's the only person who can remember The Beatles or their music.
Directed by Danny Boyle from a script by Richard Curtis, Yesterday sees Jack take The Beatles' songs and pass them off as his own. He quickly becomes a sensation, blowing up almost overnight once a video of him opening for Ed Sheeran goes viral. Yet fame and fortune can't stop Jack from feeling immense guilt over lying about who actually wrote these great songs.
The Beatles' music obviously features heavily in Yesterday, but the songs are not the only references the film has to John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Here is every Beatles reference and Easter egg we caught in Yesterday.
The Many Other Beatles Songs Referenced In Yesterday
In addition to the 16 Beatles songs Jack performs in Yesterday, others are referenced in the dialogue. Jack jokes about Ellie still taking care of him when he's 64, the dentist who repairs Jack's teeth mentions he gets a little help from his friends, and later on, Jack says he wants a guitar to sound like it's weeping - references to "When I'm Sixty-Four", "With A Little Help From My Friends", and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", respectively.
Once Jack realizes that he's the only person who knows of The Beatles, he sets about trying to remember each and every song. This leads him to write down the title of each song he can remember on a post-it note and stick it to his bedroom wall. And while there are mentions and even performances of several Beatles' songs in Yesterday, the many post-it notes are a reminder of just how many songs The Beatles actually wrote and recorded. Most notably, there's the "Eleanor Rigby" post-it note - the song Jack struggles to recall all the lyrics to - and "Revolution 9", a trippy, experimental studio number that it's impossible to imagine Jack actually performing.
The Perfect Oasis Joke
In Yesterday, it's not just the music of The Beatles that mysteriously no longer exists. Both Coke and Harry Potter don't exist in this alternate universe, but their ceasing to exist isn't really connected to the lack of The Beatles. There is one thing absent from the world, though, that is connected to The Beatles and it's one of Yesterday's best jokes. It comes when Jack mentions the song "Wonderwall" by Oasis and is met with confused looks from his friends. He goes home, searches Google for Oasis, and lo and behold - the band doesn't exist.
The joke comes at the expense of 1990s Brit-pop band which both considered The Beatles an influence and once infamously claimed they were going to be bigger than them. That claim began something of war of words between the surviving Beatles and Oasis, kept alive by tabloid press more than anything. Still, the ordeal led many critics of Oasis to label them a derivative of The Beatles, hence the joke that without The Beatles there would be no Oasis.
Jack's Beatle-Inspired Attire
In addition to copying The Beatles' music, Jack also lifts their sense of style. In the recording studio scenes with Ed Sheeran, Jack is wearing a white shirt with a black vest - a combination that both John Lennon and Paul McCartney can be seen wearing in photos (above) taken during recording sessions at Abbey Road. During his meeting with the record label, Jack is seen wearing a sweater vest that is very similar to the many sweater vests worn by McCartney over the years. And, later on in Yesterday, Jack wears a turtleneck when he's out with Ellie in Liverpool, followed by a snappy looking suit while performing at the Pier Hotel - both fashions popularized by The Beatles.
Jack's Retro Selfie
During that meeting between Jack and his record label, they debut several black and white photos of Jack which they intend to use as album artwork. Another photo, however, viewable in the same scene, shows Jack holding an old camera, presumably having used it take the photo of his reflection in a mirror. That photo is an exact recreation of an actual photo Paul McCartney took of himself in mirror (above), an early attempt at the selfie, if you like.
Rejected Album Titles
Also during Yesterday's record label meeting, Jack has the titles he pitches for his album rejected. His suggestions? Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and (as it's colloquially known) the White Album - the names for two of The Beatles' most famous records. The record producer shows Jack a few mock album covers for his rejected titles, none of which bear any resemblance to The Beatles' classic albums. Their Sgt. Pepper, for example, is a cover that is literally just a pepper in a sergeant's uniform. The producer even goes so far as to complain about the phrase White Album lacking diversity. Eventually, the label settles on One Man Only, but their rejections of those classic Beatles album titles only highlight how it took a band like The Beatles in order for those titles to work.
Paul & Ringo on The Late Late Show
While Yesterday doesn't include a cameo from either Paul McCartney or Ringo Starr, there is a scene that takes place on the set of The Late Late Show with James Corden that does feature the two surviving Beatles (sort of). The scene has Jack being interviewed by Corden, but the questioning takes an accusatory turn once Cordon teases that they have two men who claim they actually wrote all of Jack's songs. The camera then cuts to a shot of two pairs of feet stepping in to frame - one of which is barefoot. At that moment Jack wakes up, realizing the whole thing was a dream brought on by his immense guilt over stealing The Beatles' songs. However, the dream sequence is also a fun nod to the famous Abbey Road album cover on which all four Beatles are walking across Abbey Road's crosswalk - Ringo in black shoes, while Paul is barefoot.
Jack's Trip To Liverpool References
In order to help himself recall more of The Beatles' music, Jack travels to Liverpool and seeks out several of the locations made famous by different Beatles songs. He visits the grounds known as Strawberry Fields that once housed a Salvation Army-run childrens' home, walks past a barber shop on Penny Lane, and the graveyard where Eleanor Rigby is buried. When Jack and Rocky arrive, they fly into Liverpool John Lennon Airport (though Lennon's name is dropped in Yesterday) where Jack is immediately recognized and chased by a mob of fans just as The Beatles were many times, including their debut movie, A Hard Day's Night.
Yesterday's Rooftop Concert
When it comes time to debut Jack's album, he convinces the record label to throw a concert back in his hometown at the Pier Hotel. Instead of a stage, Jack and his band perform on the roof of the hotel in a nod to The Beatles' rooftop concert atop Abbey Road studios, the last time the band publicly played together. In Yesterday, this rooftop performance isn't exactly Jack's final public appearance (that's at Wembley Stadium), but it does send him down the path of choosing to pack it all in soon after.
The Last Beatles Fans
As it turns out, Jack is not the only person on Earth who remember The Beatles - a woman from Liverpool and man from Moscow do as well, and they confront Jack with the truth as Yesterday nears its climax. During a press conference Jack holds before the rooftop concert, they're in the crowd, yelling out questions about The Beatles and waving a yellow submarine figure. It isn't an exact copy of the animated Yellow Submarine, but it's shockingly close for a world without The Beatles for reference. Later on, as Yesterday wraps up Jack and Ellie's story with a montage set to "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da", this man and woman can be seen dancing and wearing Sgt. Pepper uniforms, further proving themselves as two of the last known, true Beatles fans.
Visiting John Lennon Mirrors A Real-Life Event
Yesterday's most poignant moment comes when Jack visits a 78-year-old John Lennon - a shock for both Jack and audiences seeing as, in our world, Lennon was tragically murdered in 1980. In Yesterday, the role of Lennon is played by Robert Carlyle, and the actor manages a rather convincing portrayal thanks to the makeup, prosthetics, and his voice work. In the scene, Lennon helps to reassure Jack that a happy life is still a successful one, revealing that while this Lennon never became a Beatle, he was still quite pleased with how his life turned out.
The "cameo" is a real treat for Beatles fans, some of who may note that this meeting is similar to a real meeting between Lennon and a shell shocked Vietnam veteran. In that encounter, a man by the name of Curt Claudio - and who felt an intense connection to Lennon's music - showed up unexpectedly at his house, but rather than call the police and have him arrested, Lennon calmly talked with him, explaining in this case how his songs come from his own experiences and are not meant for anyone specifically. The nature of the exchange between Lennon and the veteran (which can be seen in the Channel 4 documentary, John & Yoko, Above Us Only Sky) and that between Lennon and Jack aren't exactly alike, but Lennon's easy nature is, meaning it's entirely believable that Lennon would welcome a strange visitor into his home just as he does in Yesterday.