My not-quite-yet-irrelevant self got a couple of good chuckles out of Rachel Manteuffel’s critique of Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” in her March 2 op-ed, “Boomers, there’s a shadow hanging over ‘Yesterday.’ ” At first I found it entertaining to think that what we see as a profound statement in our youth (such as Beatles songs, or tattoos) can turn out, as time goes by, to be unoriginal and inane — if not downright embarrassing.

But I was even more amused once I realized that Manteuffel sounded just like my mother. I was 10 years old in 1963 and, like all my friends, an ardent Beatles fan (George forever!); my 30-year-old mom and my aunt, who was in her mid-20s, had little in common but their mutual dislike of the Fab Four. So, millennials, perhaps your problem with the Beatles’ music is that you’re just too old to appreciate it.

Elanore Lampner,

Cockeysville, Md.

Dear millennials and boomers,

Please take a cue from us and stop talking about yourselves all the time.


Gen X

Doug Johnson, Washington

As a baby boomer, I take exception to Rachel Manteuffel’s piece on the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” I realize that her line-by-line dissection of the lyrics was somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but even so, it reminded me of Mr. Keating in “Dead Poets Society”: “We’re not laying pipe, we’re talking about poetry.” And in this case, music.

Something magical did happen as boomers explored the individual spirit, protested the war and questioned mom and dad’s Mayberry naivete at every turn, often through music. That spirit lives on as the freedom to experiment, innovate and multitask amid today’s untethered technology and social-media explosion. Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday” didn’t captivate us for its intricate lyrics. It was about the emotion in his voice matched with that single, mournful cello.

Ironically, when you talk to most young people, they know our music.

Greg Ryan, Reston

Rachel Manteuffel asked : What does “Yesterday came suddenly” mean? For the Beatles and their listeners, it may have meant: The good time, which seemed so vital, was suddenly in the past, a memory of yesterday.

Bob Schwabauer,


Rachel Manteuffel apparently has no idea that “Yesterday” was a Beatles song that most boomers didn’t particularly like. Rather, it was a song that many of our parents said was the one Beatles song they could stand, which accounts for much of its lasting popularity. In fact, that probably accounts for why we didn’t particularly like it.

Larry Jacobson, Rockville