Yesterday, by John Lennon

Thought I would start off with the McCartney classic, Yesterday.  It is hard to define a clear “verse” or “chorus” as both parts of the song have a very verse-like feel, with little repetition apart from the title or tagline, “Yesterday”. The most striking harmonic feature is the second chord of the song.  Have a look at the following chart showing the jump from F to em…


An immediate and unexpected leap from F to em.  Of course the harmony then falls through the fifths as we would expect.  This is in fact a common jump (chromatic descending), but unusual so early in a progression.
The descending fifth sequence is then used again in the next part of the song.
Classic use of the descending fifths progression.  This leads the ear to the root chord of F, giving a very satisfying sound when we get there.  Notice that the end of this phrase ia a perfect cadence (C-F).  This nicely finishes the chord progression.  Earlier in the song (oh I believe in Yesterday) he used a plagal cadence (Bb-F) which has a harder edge.
Such simple chords, such a simple device, jumping up to the 7 chord, and falling back down through the fifths, such a sublime result.
For more Beatles song analysis and Beatles chords progressions follow this link