IIRC, this was the first Beatles song not to feature any of the Beatles playing their instruments. The only musicians on this track (besides Paul McCartney singing lead and backing vocals and John Lennon's occasional doubling) are a string octet, arranged by George Martin.

A few jazz musicians have performed incredible instrumental versions of this track. One can be found on Stanley Jordan's "Magic Touch" album.

In The Beatles Anthology book (Apple Press, 2000), Paul McCartney says that he got the name "Eleanor" from his costar in "Help!", Eleanor Bron. of course, he couldent call the song "Eleanor Bron", so he was trying to find a common, but not-too-common name with two syllables. So Paul saw a store sign one day, the store being "Rigby's"
So there you have it.

The second story I hear is from John Lennon, but I guess I can't ever confirm this, because of the dead factor. I heard that there's a church in Strawberry Fields in Liverpool that has this name on the tombstone...



A long (but not necessarily exhaustive) list of artists who have covered "Eleanor Rigby," and where you can find them (if available):

(to the tune of the same name)
from a fortune file, author unknown

Eleanor Rigby
Sits at the keyboard and waits for a line on the screen
Lives in a dream
Waits for a signal, finding some code that will make the machine do some more.
What is it for?
All the lonely users, where do they all come from?
All the lonely users, why does it take so long?

Courtesy of the CWRU Computer Club Songbook

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