10 Most Interesting Facts About ‘Eleanor Rigby’

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10 Most Interesting Facts About ‘Eleanor Rigby’ | Society Of Rock Videos

via PAUL McCARTNEY/YouTube

Featured on The Beatles’ 1966 album, Revolver, “Eleanor Rigby” served as the band’s transformation from being a mainly rock and roll- and pop-oriented group to a more experimental act. It was a watershed moment for them because it broke several rules, musically and lyrically. Let’s check out ten interesting facts about it:

1. Although it was credited to Lennon-McCartney, it was written mostly by Paul McCartney.

“It just came,” Macca explained. “When I started doing the melody I developed the lyric. It all came from the first line. I wonder if there are girls called Eleanor Rigby?”

2. The song was a narrative of loneliness.

There were two lonely people in the lyrics – a churchgoing woman named Eleanor Rigby and the pastor Father McKenzie.

“The name “Father McCartney” came to me, and all the lonely people,” he explained. “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”.”

3. McCartney got the name “Eleanor” from actress Eleanor Bron. “Rigby” came from a store named “Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers”.

“I just liked the name,” McCartney said. “I was looking for a name that sounded natural. ‘Eleanor Rigby’ sounded natural.”

4. The Beatles didn’t play any instrument during recording.

They hired session musicians instead.

5. There’s a gravestone for someone named Eleanor Rigby in St. Peter’s Churchyard in Woolton, England.

Woolton was where McCartney first met John Lennon. There was also another gravestone there named “McKenzie”. McCartney denied that he was inspired by these names.

6. They achieved the vaguely distorted sound by putting the microphones too close to the instruments.

7. The Beatles never played this live.

Because of the string section, this was difficult to replicate in a live setting. McCartney played it during his 2002 Back In The US tour, but he used keyboards instead of strings.

8. McCartney later revealed that he felt he could’ve done better.

“I remember not liking the vocal on Eleanor Rigby, thinking, I hadn’t nailed,” he told GQ Magazine in 2010. “I listen to it now and it’s… very good. It’s a bit annoying when you do Eleanor Rigby and you’re not happy with it.”

9. In 2008, a certificate for the woman buried in St. Peter’s Churchyard went up for auction.

“Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictitious character that I made up,” Macca responded. “If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that’s fine with me.”

10. The Beatles brainstormed the lyrics.

In later years, however, Lennon and McCartney gave different accounts as to who had more lyrical contributions.

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