Paul McCartney's mother died when he was in his early teens, and the vision of her comforting him in his dreams famously informed "Let It Be." But he thinks her death may have subconsciously made its way into another Beatles classic: "Yesterday."

McCartney appeared on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert last night, and discussed whether losing his mother, Mary, fueled his creativity, as it had with many other artists.

"I didn't think it had affected me musically," he recalled. "I just knew it was a tragedy. ... And to lose your mum at 14 is, you know, not easy. So it was just very difficult for a few years to try and come to terms with it, but then I discovered music."

Fans occasionally bring up "Yesterday" -- specifically the line "Why she had to go / I don't know / She wouldn't say" -- and wonder if the 1965 song could be about her. "I certainly didn't mean it to be," McCartney said. "But it could be. Those things can happen."

You can watch the interview below.

Much of the conversation with Colbert centered on the song, including a part where McCartney retold a story about how he had dreamed the melody one night, then asked his friends if it sounded familiar before claiming it as his own. That led to the host asking if he had seen the recent movie of the same name.

McCartney said the studio contacted him about arranging a screening, but he and his wife "wanted to see it with people rather than a corporate screening." So they "crept in" to a movie theater -- making gestures suggesting he put on a disguise to avoid being recognized -- and sat in the back row and watched the characters talk about what an incredible songwriter he is.

"Well, it was a pretty good plug for me," he quipped, before adding, "I thought it was a nice movie."

 

Beatles Albums Ranked