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. Another Hollywood nursing home resident dies. It's the 9th in post-Irma tragedy.

    State Roundup

    The Broward County Medical Examiner's office is investigating another death of a resident of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills — the ninth blamed on the failure of a cooling system that became a stifling deathtrap three days after Irma hit.

    Carlos Canal, pictured at 47 years old, came to Miami from Cuba in 1960. Above is his citizenship photo. [Courtesy of Lily Schwartz]
  2. Hurricane Maria's winds hit 175 mph as it aims at Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

    Hurricanes

    SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico on Tuesday night after wreaking widespread devastation on Dominica and leaving the small Caribbean island virtually incommunicado. …

    A boat lays on its side off the shore of Sainte-Anne on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe, early Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017, after the passing of Hurricane Maria. [Dominique Chomereau-Lamotte | Associated Press]
  3. Hillsborough School Board approves 2017-18 budget

    K12

    TAMPA — The Hillsborough County School Board on Tuesday approved a budget of $2.83 billion for the 2017-18 school year.

    Photo illustration. [iStockphoto.com]
  4. All Eyes photo gallery: 7.1 magnitude quake kills at least 79, collapses buildings in Mexico

    World

    A magnitude 7.1 earthquake stunned central Mexico on Tuesday, killing at least 79 people as buildings collapsed in plumes of dust. Thousands fled into the streets in panic, and many stayed to help rescue those trapped. The quake came less than two weeks after another quake left 90 dead in the country's south, and it …

    Rescuers work on a collapsed building on Amsterdam Avenue in the Condesa neighborhood of Mexico City after a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck, Sept. 19, 2017. Dozens have been reported killed across the country, including 42 in the state of Morelos, close to the epicenter of the quake, and at least 20 buildings in Mexico City have collapsed. (Adriana Zehbrauskas/The New York Times) XNYT169
  5. Rays video tribute to ex-manager Joe Maddon upon return with Cubs

    Blogs

    Here is the Rays video tribute to former manager Joe Maddon, who returned to the Trop for the first time on Tuesday with his Cubs team: