Paul McCartney has revealed the real woman who inspired the landmark Beatles song “Eleanor Rigby.”
In a piece published by The New Yorker about “How one of the Beatles’ greatest songs came to be,” McCartney said it was inspired by an old lady that he helped out while growing up.
“Eleanor Rigby is based on an old lady that I got on with very well. I don’t even know how I first met ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ but I would go around to her house. I found out that she lived on her own, so I would go around there and just chat, which is sort of crazy if you think about me being some young Liverpool guy,” McCartney wrote.
He continued, “Later, I would offer to go and get her shopping. She’d give me a list and I’d bring the stuff back, and we’d sit in her kitchen. So I would visit, and just hearing her stories enriched my soul and influenced the songs I would later write.”
“Eleanor Rigby” is the second track on the English rock band’s seventh album Revolver, released on August 5, 1966. It was also issued on a double A-side single, paired with “Yellow Submarine.” The song was written primarily by McCartney and credited to both him and John Lennon.
It was widely assumed that McCartney was inspired by a grave marked with “Eleanor Rigby” at St. Peter’s Church in Woolton, where he and Lennon spent time during their teenage years. However, in the New Yorker essay, McCartney says this wasn’t the case, and reiterated that he doesn’t remember seeing the grave.
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