The Beatles: Get Back documentary teased by Peter Jackson
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Eleanor Rigby is one of the saddest tracks The Beatles ever wrote. The single was released in August 1966 and was included on their seventh album, Revolver. The lyrics croon on about a lonely old woman, as well as a lamenting priest, Father McKenzie.
Paul McCartney spoke about Eleanor Rigby in a recent interview, saying: “I’ve still got a few [similar songs] that I haven’t released because I don’t think they’re that good.”
He went on to talk about why he wrote these narrative-focussed songs behind closed doors.
The Beatle went on: “It’s quite a fun thing to do, to just dream up a name of a character and try and write the story of that character and then make it fit with another character.”
He explained: “Eleanor Rigby, I did it with just the few. Father McKenzie and Eleanor.”
McCartney then mused about why he thought his songs like Eleanor Rigby stood out so much for his fans.
He said: “With my story songs, a lot of them, besides Eleanor Rigby, tend to be comedy.
“It’s me doing the tongue-in-cheek thing, whereas Eleanor Rigby was more serious.” (Via Uncut’s September issue)
He added: “I think that’s why it was more successful.”
What do you think? Would the song have sounded better with its original name? Join the debate in the comments section here
McCartney wrote Eleanor Rigby in early 1966, but its original iteration was extremely different.
At first, the star named the track after a woman called Daisy Hawkins.
He recalled the writing process: “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.”
He also revealed how Father McKenzie was originally supposed to be Father McCartney.
Eventually, however, McCartney realised this name could be misconstrued.
He continued: “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 Rigby was released as a double A-side opposite Yellow Submarine.
The single was a smash hit, reaching number one in the UK, New Zealand and Canadian Singles Charts.
In just four weeks the single had been sold more than 1.2 million copies worldwide.
A number of enormous singers have gone on to cover the iconic track, including Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin.
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