Paul McCartney – Eleanor Rigby

By: Beatles

Item ID: Signed Sheet Music

Paul McCartney – 8x10 White Album Insert Photograph and handwritten lyrics to Eleanor Rigby from Revolver Release.

The Beatles released “ Eleanor Rigby" on the 1966 album Revolver and as a 45 rpm single. It was written primarily by Pa...Read More

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Paul McCartney – 8x10 White Album Insert Photograph and handwritten lyrics to Eleanor Rigby from Revolver Release.

The Beatles released “ Eleanor Rigby" on the 1966 album Revolver and as a 45 rpm single. It was written primarily by Paul McCartney, and credited to Lennon–McCartney. While experimenting with his piano, Paul McCartney came up with the melody of "Eleanor Rigby". the original name was not Eleanor Rigby, but Miss Daisy Hawkins. Donovan Reported that he heard McCartney play it before it was finished and it had completely different lyrics.

In 1966, McCartney recalled how he got the idea for Eleanor Rigby.
“I was sitting at the piano when I thought of it. The first few bars just came to me, and I got this name in my head ... "Daisy Hawkins picks up the rice in the church". I don't know why. I couldn't think of much more so I put it away for a day. Then the name "Father McCartney" came to me, and all the lonely people. But I thought that people would think it was supposed to be about my Dad sitting knitting his socks. Dad's a happy lad. So I went through the telephone book and I got the name "McKenzie".
McCartney said he came up with the name "Eleanor" from actress Eleanor Bron, who had starred with the Beatles in the film Help!. "Rigby" came from the name of a store in Bristol, "Rigby & Evans Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers", which he noticed while seeing his girlfriend of the time, Jane Asher, act in The Happiest Days of Your Life. He recalled in 1984, "I just liked the name. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. 'Eleanor Rigby' sounded natural." However, it has been pointed out that the graveyard of St Peter's Church in Liverpool, where John Lennon and Paul McCartney first met at the Woolton Village Garden fete in the afternoon of 6 July 1957, contains the gravestone of an individual called Eleanor Rigby. McCartney conceded he may have been subconsciously influenced by the name on the gravestone. In 2008, however, he appeared to discard this theory. That year, when a birth certificate was sold at auction of a woman named Eleanor Rigby, with seller and buyer believing it belonged to the person referenced in the song, McCartney publicly declared: "Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictitious character that I made up." He added, "If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me." The real Eleanor Rigby lived a lonely life similar to that of the woman in the song.

McCartney wrote the first verse by himself, and the Beatles finished the song in the music room of John Lennon's home at Kenwood. John Lennon, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and Lennon's childhood friend Pete Shotton all listened to McCartney play his song through and contributed ideas. Harrison came up with the "Ah, look at all the lonely people" hook. Starr contributed the line "writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear" and suggested making "Father McCartney" darn his socks, which McCartney liked. It was then that Shotton suggested that McCartney change the name of the priest, in case listeners mistook the fictional character in the song for McCartney's own father.
The song is often described as a lament for lonely people or a commentary on post-war life in Britain.
McCartney could not decide how to end the song, and Shotton finally suggested that the two lonely people come together too late as Father McKenzie conducts Eleanor Rigby's funeral. At the time, Lennon rejected the idea out of hand, but McCartney said nothing and used the idea to finish off the song, later acknowledging Shotton's help.
Lennon was quoted in 1971 as having said that he "wrote a good half of the lyrics or more" and in 1980 claimed that he wrote all but the first verse, but Shotton remembered Lennon's contribution as being "absolutely nil". McCartney said that "John helped me on a few words but I'd put it down 80–20 to me, something like that.

"Eleanor Rigby" does not have a standard pop backing. None of the Beatles played instruments on it, though John Lennon and George Harrison did contribute harmony vocals.[29] Like the earlier song "Yesterday", "Eleanor Rigby" employs a classical string ensemble, in this case, an octet of studio musicians, comprising four violins, two violas, and two cellos, all performing a score composed by producer George Martin. Where "Yesterday" is played legato, "Eleanor Rigby" is played mainly in staccato chords with melodic embellishments. For the most part, the instruments "double up" that is, they serve as a single string quartet but with two instruments playing each of the four parts. Microphones were placed close to the instruments to produce a more vivid and raw sound; George Martin recorded two versions, one with and one without vibrato, the latter of which was used. McCartney's choice of a string backing may have been influenced by his interest in the composer Antonio Vivaldi, who wrote extensively for string instruments. Lennon recalled in 1980 that "Eleanor Rigby" was "Paul's baby, and I helped with the education of the child ... The violin backing was Paul's idea. Jane Asher had turned him on to Vivaldi, and it was very good." The octet was recorded on 28 April 1966, in Studio 2 at Abbey Road Studios; it was completed in Studio 3 on 29 April and on 6 June. Take 15 was selected as the master.

George Martin, in his autobiography All You Need Is Ears, takes credit for combining two of the vocal parts "Ah! look at all the lonely people" and "All the lonely people" having noticed that they would work together contrapuntally. He cited the influence of Bernard Herrmann's work on his string scoring. (Originally he cited the score for the film Fahrenheit 451, but this was a mistake as the film was not released until several months after the recording; Martin later stated he was thinking of Herrmann's score for Psycho.)
The original stereo mix had McCartney's voice only in the right channel during the verses, with the string octet mixed to one channel, while the mono single and mono LP featured a more balanced mix. On the Yellow Submarine Songtrack and Love versions, McCartney's voice is centered and the string octet appears in stereo, creating a modern-sounding mix.

Simultaneously released on 5 August 1966 on both the album Revolver and on a double A-side single with "Yellow Submarine" on Parlophone in the United Kingdom and Capitol in the United States, "Eleanor Rigby" spent four weeks at number one on the British charts, but in America, it only reached #11.

The song was nominated for three Grammys and won the 1966 Grammy for Best Contemporary (R&B) Vocal Performance, Male or Female for McCartney. Thirty years later, a stereo remix of George Martin's isolated string arrangement was released on the Beatles' Anthology 2. A decade after that, a remixed version of the track was included in the 2006 album Love.
It is the second song to appear in the Beatles' 1968 animated film Yellow Submarine. The first is "Yellow Submarine"; it and "Eleanor Rigby" are the only songs in the film which the animated Beatles are not seen to be singing. "Eleanor Rigby" is introduced just before the Liverpool sequence of the film; its poignancy ties in quite well with Ringo Starr (the first member of the group to encounter the submarine), who is represented as quietly bored and depressed. "Compared with my life, Eleanor Rigby's was a gay, mad world."
In 1984, a re-interpretation of the song was included in the film and album Give My Regards to Broad Street, written by and starring McCartney. It segues into a symphonic extension, "Eleanor's Dream."
A fully remixed stereo version of the original "Eleanor Rigby" song was issued in 1999 on the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, with some minor fixes to the vocals.

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