Eleanor Rigby

August 5, 1966

Eleanor Rigby is a song by The Beatles, which was created in the original version in 1966 for the album Revolver. The song was composed by Paul McCartney, even if it is like most Beatles compositions attributed to the duo Lennon / McCartney.


Paul McCartney wrote the piece on the piano in the music room of the house of the parents of his then-girlfriend Jane Asher.

"I composed the piano, as I just improvised over a E minor chord; then I let it stand as improvisation and put a tune about it, just danced above it. It has almost Indian rhythms. "

Donovan recalled that McCartney as preliminary placeholder text the lines " Ola Na Tungee blowing his mind in the dark, with a pipe full of clay. Noone can say. " Used. What should go in the piece, McCartney did not know until he " picks up the rice in a church where a wedding HAS BEEN " wrote the line. He raised the question of why someone should pick up rice in the church. His thoughts led to the decision to write a song about lonely people.

McCartney tried to find a real -sounding name for the main character of the song. He eventually combined the name of a shop, which he had seen in January 1966 in Bristol, with the name of the actress Eleanor Bron, who starred in the Beatles movie Hi- Hi- help! had played.

" I got the name Rigby from a shop in Bristol. I was wandering round Bristol one day and saw a shop called Rigby. And I think what Eleanor from Eleanor Bron, the actress we worked with in the film Help! But I just liked the name. I was looking for a name did sounded natural. Eleanor Rigby sounded natural. "

" The name of Rigby I have a shop in Bristol. I walked around one day in Bristol and saw a shop called Rigby. I think Eleanor goes back to the actress Eleanor Bron, with which we in the feature film Help! had worked together. I was looking for a name that sounded natural. Eleanor Rigby sounded natural. "

With this basic idea and the melody McCartney went to John Lennon's house in Weybridge to there to finalize the text. Also present were George Harrison and Ringo Starr and Pete Shotton, a childhood friend and former member of the Quarrymen. Together they amassed ideas, such as the priest, who stuffs his socks. The priest was formerly known as "Father McCartney " because it fitted well on the number of syllables. However, they decided to find a more harmless name and searched the phone book for a suitable replacement. The choice fell on the last name " McKenzie ".

John Lennon claimed in two interviews - one in 1972 for the music magazine Hit Parader, one in 1980 with David Sheff for Playboy magazine - that he had a much larger share of the text of Eleanor Rigby as McCartney. McCartney disagreed and quantified Lennon's share to about 20 percent. Pete Shotton, who was present at Lennon's house in preparation of the missing parts of the text, McCartney was based representation and wrote in his book John Lennon in My Life that Lennon " has contributed virtually nothing " about this Lennon - McCartney classic.

Musical background

On April 28, 1966, recorded the strings under the direction of George Martin in Studio 2 of Abbey Road Studios in London. In the recording four violins, two violas and two cellos were used. The package came from George Martin. Tony Gilbert and Sidney Sax, John Sharpe and Jürgen Hess played the violins. Stephen Shingles and John Underwood played by the violas and Derek Simpson and Norman Jones were the cellist. To achieve a very special sound, Geoff Emerick, the engineer placed the microphones in the recordings very close to the instruments.

Paul McCartney's singing voice was recorded on 29 April 1966. John Lennon and George Harrison singing the harmonies. On June 6, 1966 McCartney replaced his vocals with a new recording.


The 2:06 minutes long song was coupled out in the UK on August 5, 1966 along with Yellow Submarine as a single. It was the first time that the Beatles a single simultaneously released with the album from which it was coupled. The two songs were declared as A- side, and went up on August 10, 1966 # 2 on the British charts a. The following week, the single reached the first place and stayed there for four weeks. For the single 250,000 pre-orders had been submitted. At the end of the year 1966 455.000 singles were sold in the UK. In the U.S., the single was released on August 8, 1966. The single sold in the first four weeks of 1.2 million units. In the U.S. singles chart, in the radio airplay to be accounted for chart placement, Yellow Submarine was the more popular title and reached number 2, while Eleanor Rigby came in at number 11 as the best placement.

At the Grammy Awards 1967 Paul McCartney received the award for " Best Contemporary ( Rock & Roll) Solo Vocal Performance " in the song.

Cover versions

Various artists have covered the song:

Other outstanding performers who recorded the piece in their repertoire, were the Four Tops, Rare Earth, Aretha Franklin and Kim Weston.


The novel, published in 2004 Eleanor Rigby by Canadian author Douglas Coupland is named after the Beatles song.