“Actual rock stars have, like, all sorts of different guitars. I’ve just got two of the same,” “Yesterday” star Himesh Patel joked during the film’s soundtrack release party at the former Tower Records building in Los Angeles on Thursday night.
Patel might not have a rock star setup yet, but he certainly played like one during his acoustic set. The actor performed unaccompanied — just a man and his two guitars — soulfully singing Beatles tunes “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “Yesterday” while promoting a movie that many suggest could be his breakthrough role.
In the Danny Boyle-directed “Yesterday,” Patel plays Jack Malik, a struggling musician who wakes up from an accident to find that the whole world has forgotten about the existence of The Beatles. Since he’s the only one aware of the tunes, Malik soon adopts the songs and becomes a megastar by passing off the Fab Four’s genius as his own. The role required Patel to sing and play guitar and the 27-song soundtrack features his versions of Beatles hits “Let It Be,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (a duet with co-star Lily James) and more.
For the soundtrack release party, hosted by Universal Pictures, Tower Records was fully decked out in black and yellow “Yesterday” paraphernalia. Before and after the performance, guests sipped Beatles-themed cocktails by Snake Oil cocktail company and enjoyed light appetizers. Attendees also enjoyed a photo-op where they could imitate posing in the famous crosswalk outside Abbey Road Studios like the Beatles did for the cover of their album of the same name. Patel also recreated that infamous photograph, but while fans were posing for Instagram, the 28-year-old star posed for his own movie poster.
Though the crowd of about 75 people gathered at the legendary West Hollywood location paled in comparison to the giant stadium-sized groups Patel played for while filming the movie (some scenes used co-star Ed Sheeran’s massive touring audiences as extras), the young talent shared his gratitude for the support. He also performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” last night as he did at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York and in Las Vegas during CinemaCon.
“Thanks very much for coming and I hope you enjoy the record,” Patel told the crowd. “We put a lot of hard work into it – I’m really excited for this album. Cheers.”
“Yesterday” is in theaters on June 28.