What if Yesterday never happened? The world without The Beatles

World

What if Yesterday never happened? The world without The Beatles

A new comedy imagines a world without the Fab Four, but for this rock critic the idea is no laughing matter

Neil McCormick

Imagine a world without the Beatles. It is actually quite hard to do. There would have been no Beatlemania, no A Hard Day’s Night, no Sgt Pepper. Abbey Road would just be a regular London zebra crossing without tourists stopping traffic every day. We would never have sung along to All You Need Is Love, Hey Jude or Let it Be.

There would be nothing in the way she moves, guitars would not gently weep, blackbirds wouldn’t sing in the dead of night. John Lennon might well still be alive.

A new film, Yesterday, has a humorous stab at this peculiar concept. Written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle, the film’s premise is that a gigantic electrical storm has fried the planet and altered the space-time continuum, removing the Beatles from existence (along with cigarettes, Coca-Cola and, less catastrophically, Oasis). Only one person on Earth remembers the Fab Four, a hopeless singer-songwriter called Jack Malik (played by EastEnders actor Himesh Patel) who suffered a head injury at the exact moment of cosmic amnesia...

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