Paul McCartney said three Beatles songs were inspired by Fred Astaire’s version of “Cheek to Cheek.” The singer-songwriter also admitted that he pretends to be the singer and dancer to get a certain voice. Who knew one song could inspire multiple Beatles songs?
The Beatles modeled “Here, There, and Everywhere’ on Fred Astaire’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’
In 1935, Astaire recorded one of the most famous versions of “Cheek to Cheek” for the movie Top Hat. Paul McCartney said that song inspired “Here, There and Everywhere.” However, he says it’s a Cole Porter song; Irving Berlin wrote it.
“I think the structure of it, I like it,” Paul said on Fresh Air. “It always reminds me in structure of a great Cole Porter song, ‘Cheek to Cheek’ which Fred Astaire sang. It starts off ‘Heaven, I’m in Heaven,’ it goes through it. Then in the middle it goes ‘I like to go out dancing…’ But it takes me back to Heaven. And it’s so neat the way it just wraps itself up that I always thought wow, that’s a great trick.”
Paul has often said that “Here, There, and Everywhere” is one of his favorite songs, but that’s not hard to believe, considering he loves “Cheek to Cheek” just as much.
The Beatles’ ‘Honey Pie’ is also a product of Astaire’s ‘Cheek to Cheek’
In The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, Paul wrote that he was “definitely” thinking of Astaire and “the whole world of the silver screen” when he was writing The Beatles’ “Honey Pie.”
Paul said The White Album track is a throwback to the 1930s and 1920s, “the flapper era and Hollywood.” It’s obvious in lyrics like “You became a legend of the silver screen.”
In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, Paul said, “I was also an admirer of people like Fred Astaire; one of my favorites of his was ‘Cheek to Cheek’ from a film called Top Hat that I used to have on an old 78.”
“I’ll Follow the Sun” is also modeled after Astaire’s rendition
In The Lyrics, Paul wrote that The Beatles’ “I’ll Follow the Sun” is modeled after Astaire’s “Cheek to Cheek.” Paul thinks the tune has an interesting original melody. He’d been looking for “striking new combinations of notes.”
“I’ll Follow the Sun” follows the same structure of “Cheek to Cheek” just like “Here, There, and Everywhere.” The first verse wraps around back.
Paul liked “Cheek Cheek” because it started with “Heaven, I’m in heaven” and it goes through two verses and comes back at the end of the middle eight to “heaven.” It’s a single sentence. Paul wrote, “It was like our house in Fortlin Road. You went in the front door, went around through the living room, dining room, kitchen, hall, and ended back up where you started. ‘I’ll Follow the Sun’ does that too.”
Fortunately, Astaire often inspired Paul, not just with “Cheek to Cheek.” In return, Astaire liked The Beatles and thought they were “tremendous artists.” So, it all came full circle, just like the verses of “Here, There, and Everywhere,” “I’ll Follow the Sun,” and their inspiration, “Cheek to Cheek.”