Paul McCartney may be the closest thing our generation has produced to Franz Schubert — a master of melody, writing tunes anyone can sing, songs that seem to have been there all along. Most people don't realize that "Ave Maria" and "Serenade" were written by Schubert (or that his "Moment Musical in F" so resembles "Martha My Dear"). McCartney writes with similar universality. His "Yesterday" has been recorded by more musicians than any other song in history. Its stepwise melody is deceptively complex, drawing from outside the diatonic scale so smoothly that anyone can sing it, yet few theorists can agree on exactly what it is that McCartney has done.
The Washington Post (June 1, 2007)
Daniel J. Levitin - It Was 40 Years Ago Today[washingtonpost.com]