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A Fuss Over "Eleanor Rigby" Song

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Last post 17/06/2021

Posted by love2travel

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      I got embroiled in a minor brouhaha on a Beatles site over the title character sung about in "Eleanor Rigby" a while ago--some guys ludicrously speculated over whether Eleanor was a "pole stripper," and laughed about it, made jokes.  I called them out on it for being possibly sexist and disrespectful towards Eleanor. One poster there implied it's stupid to get upset "over a fictional character in a song" and I replied "well, you're obviously male and don't have the baggage to understand, but you could, if you tried" and he harped on it a bit, putting me down, sort of.  A high-spirited Latino woman jumped on his case, warned he might get blocked.  Perhaps I was a bit uptight and puritanical about it. I didn't like Eleanor Rigby getting talked about as if she were cheap or an exhibtionist or  something, LOL. Maybe I was unreasonable to try to spoil their fun.

        Now there's another debate about "Eleanor Rigby." A fan maintains Paul said he got the idea for the song title from the name of the actress Eleanor Bron and the name of a Liverpool famous family, surname "Rigby." I always read that Paul said he saw the whole name on an very old tombstone in an old Liverpool cemetary. I never read that poster's particular explanation. He keeps swearing his is true.

          SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

          Now there's another debate about "Eleanor Rigby." A fan maintains Paul said he got the idea for the song title from the name of the actress Eleanor Bron and the name of a Liverpool famous family, surname "Rigby." I always read that Paul said he saw the whole name on an very old tombstone in an old Liverpool cemetary. I never read that poster's particular explanation. He keeps swearing his is true.

          Paul always said he got Eleanor from Eleanor Bron who was the actress in Help! Rigby he said he saw a shop called Rigby’s. Much later it was discovered that there was actually a gravestone at St. Peter’s with the name Eleanor Rigby on it. (Paul and John met across the road in the church hall)  

          https://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/eleanor-rigby/

           

            SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

            Now there's another debate about "Eleanor Rigby." A fan maintains Paul said he got the idea for the song title from the name of the actress Eleanor Bron and the name of a Liverpool famous family, surname "Rigby." I always read that Paul said he saw the whole name on an very old tombstone in an old Liverpool cemetary. I never read that poster's particular explanation. He keeps swearing his is true.

            That's exactly how Paul explained in his very recent Google video on YouTube.  It's easy to find.

              "For a time McCartney settled on the name Miss Daisy Hawkins, but rejected it for its lack of realism. He took the name Rigby from a shop in Bristol: Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers. He spotted the name while visiting Jane Asher, who was appearing in The Happiest Days Of Your Life at the Bristol Old Vic theatre. The name Eleanor was after Eleanor Bron, who played the female lead in Help!."

               

              The above is from the BeatlesBible entry and the naming of Jane Asher's play is handy to know as it narrows down the date to when Paul came up with the name 'Eleanor Rigby'. Jane was in The Happiest Days of Your Life between December 1965 & January 1966. Personally I think the 'gravestone' connection is just a coincidence. Even if Paul did hang out in the graveyard with John when younger, it wouldn't have been for at least  6 or 7 years and I doubt he would have remembered one name on one gravestone, even subconsciously. George Tremlett first reported Paul's version of how he wrote 'Eleanor Rigby' (Eleanor Bron / Bristol Shop name) in his book 'The Paul McCartney story', back in 1975. And the source of that info came from an earlier Sunday Times article. Paul's consistantly stuck to the same story (for at least 43 years) so I think it can be accepted that his version is pretty much true. 

                I just seemed to remember reading the tombstone explanation in a lot of old Beatle books I read. At least some. Paul has said most Beatle books are "rubbish" and it's true there are many, well, I'll come right out and say "lies" in many of them.  Some lies. A kinder term is "mistakes." The authors didn't always mean to prevaricate. Sometimes they were told the wrong things, sometimes they just got it wrong by humor error. As Paul sang in "Early Days" how could they know unless they were there themselves.

                  SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                  I just seemed to remember reading the tombstone explanation in a lot of old Beatle books I read. At least some. Paul has said most Beatle books are "rubbish" and it's true there are many, well, I'll come right out and say "lies" in many of them.  Some lies. A kinder term is "mistakes." The authors didn't always mean to prevaricate. Sometimes they were told the wrong things, sometimes they just got it wrong by humor error. As Paul sang in "Early Days" how could they know unless they were there themselves.

                  The tombstone thing only came out in more recent years. The true story has been around, like Kestrel said, for at least 43 years. 

                    Nancy R wrote:

                    SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                    I just seemed to remember reading the tombstone explanation in a lot of old Beatle books I read. At least some. Paul has said most Beatle books are "rubbish" and it's true there are many, well, I'll come right out and say "lies" in many of them.  Some lies. A kinder term is "mistakes." The authors didn't always mean to prevaricate. Sometimes they were told the wrong things, sometimes they just got it wrong by humor error. As Paul sang in "Early Days" how could they know unless they were there themselves.

                    The tombstone thing only came out in more recent years. The true story has been around, like Kestrel said, for at least 43 years. 

                    I'm just waiting for someone in Liverpool (or London or...any city, town or village that Paul has visited) to discover a gravestone for Jenny Wren !! 

                      This topic has come up again recently on FB. A friend of mine from Manchester sent me some interesting info (he researched this stuff like the guy on Finding Your Roots!)

                      This is the place in Bristol Paul got Rigby from: 

                      This went on auction in 2013:

                      https://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20771/lot/381/

                       

                        Also, Rigby was Eleanor's middle name, which was a family surname originally. She was born Eleanor Rigby Whitfield.

                        Here she is listed on 1911 census at age 15. Census was done prior to her 16th birthday (she died Oct. 10, 1939, age 44)

                         

                          Now this will blow your mind! This is census listing Eleanor's great-grandfather, William Whitfield. See his Occupation (middle of page) 🤯

                            Eleanor's birth record: (born Aug. 29, 1895) My dad's dad was born in 1894 and lived until 1996 - 102 years!

                              SusyLuvsPaul wrote:

                              I got embroiled in a minor brouhaha on a Beatles site over the title character sung about in "Eleanor Rigby" a while ago--some guys ludicrously speculated over whether Eleanor was a "pole stripper," and laughed about it, made jokes.  I called them out on it for being possibly sexist and disrespectful towards Eleanor. One poster there implied it's stupid to get upset "over a fictional character in a song" and I replied "well, you're obviously male and don't have the baggage to understand, but you could, if you tried" and he harped on it a bit, putting me down, sort of.  A high-spirited Latino woman jumped on his case, warned he might get blocked.  Perhaps I was a bit uptight and puritanical about it. I didn't like Eleanor Rigby getting talked about as if she were cheap or an exhibtionist or  something, LOL. Maybe I was unreasonable to try to spoil their fun.

                              Love the word "brouhaha."  Its fun to say...to read...and just to hear!!  laugh

                                Bumping this up because apparently nobody has read the wild coincidence of Eleanor's great-grandfather's occupation. I posted the census and William Whitfield is listed in the middle. 

                                  Nancy R wrote:

                                  Bumping this up because apparently nobody has read the wild coincidence of Eleanor's great-grandfather's occupation. I posted the census and William Whitfield is listed in the middle. 

                                  I still can't believe not one of you has responded to this! SMH

                                    Wow. It's amazing what you're delivering here. I didn't know anything about it. 

                                      Little_Willow_ wrote:

                                      Wow. It's amazing what you're delivering here. I didn't know anything about it. 

                                      Thank you Little Willow. You don't know as much about The Beatles history because I know it hasn't been that long since you became a Macca fan. I thought others here would respond, but I guess I might as well hit my head against a brick wall. Sorry, just venting. 

                                        Nancy R wrote:

                                        Little_Willow_ wrote:

                                        Wow. It's amazing what you're delivering here. I didn't know anything about it. 

                                        Thank you Little Willow. You don't know as much about The Beatles history because I know it hasn't been that long since you became a Macca fan. I thought others here would respond, but I guess I might as well hit my head against a brick wall. Sorry, just venting. 

                                        Oh, no please don't hit your head against a brick wall. I care about you too much. Otherwise I've known the Beatles' music since 2013. But I didn't have access to as much information as I do now. I've only been interested in Mr. McCartney's music really since 2018. I still love the Beatles. But today I've taken a different path. That's also why I joined Maccabaord. :)I hope you won't be too upset with me. 

                                          Nancy R wrote:

                                          Bumping this up because apparently nobody has read the wild coincidence of Eleanor's great-grandfather's occupation. I posted the census and William Whitfield is listed in the middle. 

                                          I answered on the other thread and will do it also here, funny how he was a "QuarryMan" which is the name of the group Lennon formed and eventually became "The Beatles".

                                            Little_Willow_ wrote:

                                            Nancy R wrote:
                                            Little_Willow_ wrote:

                                            Wow. It's amazing what you're delivering here. I didn't know anything about it. 

                                            Thank you Little Willow. You don't know as much about The Beatles history because I know it hasn't been that long since you became a Macca fan. I thought others here would respond, but I guess I might as well hit my head against a brick wall. Sorry, just venting. 

                                            Oh, no please don't hit your head against a brick wall. I care about you too much. Otherwise I've known the Beatles' music since 2013. But I didn't have access to as much information as I do now. I've only been interested in Mr. McCartney's music really since 2018. I still love the Beatles. But today I've taken a different path. That's also why I joined Maccabaord. :)I hope you won't be too upset with me. 

                                            Never! Read what Yankeefan posted earlier on this thread. It is information you may have not known. 😉

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