♫ Eleanor Rigby ♫

When David first suggested doing a Beatles’ week, he mentioned a few of the classic Beatles’ songs, including this one.  Then, somebody else mentioned it, and last night, Keith mentioned it, so it seemed that it was meant for me to play it!

Paul McCartney wrote most of this song. He got the name “Eleanor” from actress Eleanor Bron, who appeared in the 1965 Beatles film Help!. “Rigby” came to him when he was in Bristol, England and spotted a store: Rigby and Evens Ltd Wine and Spirit Shippers. He liked the name “Eleanor Rigby” because it sounded natural and matched the rhythm he wrote.

McCartney explained at the time that his songs came mostly from his imagination. Regarding this song, he said …

“It just came. 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?”

McCartney wasn’t sure what the song was going to be about until he came up with the line, “Picks up the rice in a church where a wedding has been.” That’s when he came up with the story of an old, lonely woman. The lyrics, “Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door” are a reference to the cold-cream she wears in an effort to look younger.

The song tells the story of two lonely people. First, we meet a churchgoing woman named Eleanor Rigby, who is seen cleaning up rice after a wedding. The second verse introduces the pastor, Father McKenzie, whose sermons “no one will hear.” This could indicate that nobody in coming to his church, or that his sermons aren’t getting through to the congregation on a spiritual level. In the third verse, Eleanor dies in the church and Father McKenzie buries her.

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”.

Eleanor-RigbyLiverpool Echo newspaper commissioned this statue of Eleanor Rigby. It was sculpted by singer and London native Tommy Steele and unveiled on December 3, 1982. It is dedicated to “all the lonely people.” Items to note in the statue: a four leaf clover (for Good Luck), a page of the Bible (for Spiritual Guidance), soccer cleats (for Fun and Sport), a comic book (for Comedy and Adventure) and a sonnet (for Love). It can be found near the corner of Matthew and Stanley Streets.

Eleanor Rigby
The Beatles

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby
Picks up the rice in the church where a wedding has been
Lives in a dream
Waits at the window
Wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door
Who is it for?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Father McKenzie
Writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear
No one comes near
Look at him working
Darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there
What does he care?

All the lonely people
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people
Where do they all belong?

Ah, look at all the lonely people
Ah, look at all the lonely people

Eleanor Rigby
Died in the church and was buried along with her name
Nobody came
Father McKenzie
Wiping the dirt from his hands as he walks from the grave
No one was saved

All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all come from?
All the lonely people (ah, look at all the lonely people)
Where do they all belong?

Songwriters: John Lennon / Paul McCartney
Eleanor Rigby lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

16 thoughts on “♫ Eleanor Rigby ♫

    • Awesome! I liked them in my early teens, then didn’t much care for them for a while, but as an adult, I can appreciate the stages of their music. And, of course, I still drool over Paul McCartney! 😉

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    • As I just told Keith, oddly I did not know what this song was about until I did this post, for I never knew the lyrics … I just knew I rather liked the tune. I’m glad this one pleased you … stay tuned …
      Cwtch

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  1. Jill, thanks for the mention and the backstory. It is cool how McCartney crafted the elegant lyrics. The music and use of strings also gives it flair. You just knew the two lonely people would cross paths in the end. Thanks for highlighting. Keith

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    • I think what I love most about it is the strings. Oddly, I never realized what it was about until I wrote this post … lyrics are largely lost on me, and I judge a song by the tune, the melody, the beat … if it makes me go “Ahhhhhhh”.

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  2. Pingback: ♫ Eleanor Rigby ♫ — Filosofa’s Word – Friggin' Doo-A!

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