Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Eleanor Rigby started as Daisy Hawkins

Eleanor Rigby was Daisy first

I just heard the song Eleanor Rigby and was wondering if she was a real person.

Doesn't it seem like every great song has an official story, and a whole lot of speculation about what the song was really about?

Eleanor Rigby was on the other side of Yellow Submarine, released in 1966. It told a somber story about lonely people and unfulfilled dreams, and also foreshadowed a transition of the Beatles from a light pop group to a more serious, introspective band. Among the lyrics:

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.

Paul McCartney is credited with writing the song, although he acknowledges assistance from others. In an interview after the song's release, he said: "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.

"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."

Daisy Hawkins also was scuttled. McCartney said Eleanor was taken from actor Eleanor Bron, who appeared in the movie Help! with the band, and Rigby from a store in Bristol, England, Rigby & Evens Ltd. Wine & Spirit Shippers. He liked the combination because it "sounded natural."

But that didn't stop people from looking for other explanations. In the 1980s, a grave of an Eleanor Rigby was found at a church cemetery in Liverpool, where McCartney and John Lennon sunbathed as teenagers. That Eleanor Rigby died in 1939 at the age of 44, but unlike the subject of the song, was married. A few feet away was a grave of a McKenzie. McCartney has denied that's where he got the names, but says he may have been subconsciously influenced by seeing them.

In honor of the song, a statue was built in 1982 on Stanley Street in Liverpool. It depicts a woman sitting alone on a bench (see it at www.sjsfiles.btinternet.co.uk/img0075.htm).

Bonnie Tyler making the rounds

Bonnie Tyler was a prolific singer in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Is she still performing?

Tyler, who began life in Wales in the United Kingdom as Gaynor Hopkins, is alive and well. Her hits include Hero, Total Eclipse of the Heart and It's a Heartache. Now in her late 50s, Tyler concentrates more on touring than putting out albums, though she released a "best of" album in 2007: From the Heart: Greatest Hits. She seems to tour in other countries more than here but she did play some dates in the United States this year.

Q&A: Eleanor Rigby started as Daisy Hawkins 12/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, December 19, 2008 3:14pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. St. Petersburg's ballooning sewage debt could threaten credit rating (but there's a Hail Mary plan to avoid that)

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG — The city needs a lot of money — $435 million over the next five years — most of it to fix its leaky sewer pipes and aging sewer plants.

    In September 2016, signs at St. Petersburg's North Shore Park warned people to stay out of the water due to contamination from sewage released by the city's overwhelmed sewer system. The City Council on Thursday learned that the very expensive fix for its sewage woes could hamper the city's credit rating. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  2. Pinellas County receives $30 million for beach renourishment

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– While Pinellas beaches continually rank among the best in America, they need help to stay that way.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has allocated $30 million to help with beach renourishment at several Pinellas locations, including including Sand Key, Treasure Island and Upham Beach. This photo from 2014 shows how waves from high tides caused beach erosion at Sunset Beach near Mansions by the Sea condominium complex SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  3. Straz Center parking squeeze infuriates patrons, motivates search for solutions

    Transportation

    TAMPA — When the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts opened 30 years ago, it welcomed just 30,000 patrons its first year.

    Fireworks shoot into the sky over the David A. Straz Jr. Center For The Performing Arts. [SCOTT MCINTYRE, Times]
  4. Video shows naked man who stole swan sculpture in Lakeland, deputies say

    Crime

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office is searching for a large swan sculpture that was stolen from a Lakeland cold storage facility last weekend, possibly by a naked man.

    The Polk County Sheriff's Office says this naked man stole a large black and white swan sculpture, upper right, from a Lakeland storage facility last weekend. Surveillance video showed the man walking into Lakeland Cold Storage. [Polk County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Fennelly: Dirk Koetter's apology no way to keep this fidget spinning

    Bucs

    TAMPA — It all began with a fidget spinner.

    This tweet from the Bucs, mocking the Falcons' 28-3 lead they lost in the Super Bowl against the Falcons, prompted a public apology from head coach Dirk Koetter, who called it "unprofessional and not smart."