It is incredible, we recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of The Beatles coming to America and they are still everywhere: radio, television, internet, news, supermarket background music, T-shirts, posters, their music selling successfully as it did in the height of their career. But why?
To say that we remember The Beatles because they had great music would not only be a musical understatement, it would merely encompass only one aspect of their influence in our lives, then and now. Some examples: Their hair style, their humor and personality, their videos/movies, the uniqueness of each song, their musical style diversity, their fashion, their search for God through alternative eastern religions; they started with songs about loving woman and it evolved into loving humanity, promoting peace and understanding; they made the word "yeah" a common word used in rock and roll; they experimented with drugs like many in the 60's and beyond and told us of such adventures and misfortunes; they were innovators in many aspect in the area of music, recording and effects.
They drove women crazy, yet contrary to many rock and roll bands that followed them, they were not known for having wild parties with woman and drugs, trashing hotels. In fact, they stopped giving concerts so they could dedicate their time to their music and their inner inspiration, taking us along in their long and winding road: Paul and his love songs, John with his revolutionary ideas, George with his spiritual inclinations, and Ringo, a kind-hearted and excellent musician and innovator that also stood for love and peace. Indeed, The Beatles as a unit or individually are an example to follow, not just musically, but also in the way we should interact with each other.
To honor The Beatles and their positive contribution to music and mankind, I am releasing my version of Eleanor Rigby, both song and video, hoping that it will be to The Beatles' liking and approval, as well as yours. Here is the background to my composition.
WHO IS ELEANOR RIGBY?
Paul McCartney once said “… I can tell you our songs are nearly all imagination – 90% imagination.” Eleanor Rigby was no exception to the rule. According to Paul, while fiddling with the piano “this idea of someone picking up rice after a wedding took it in that poignant direction, into a ‘lonely people’ direction.” From The Beatles Anthology, by The Beatles, copyright Apple Corps Ltd. 2000.
Eleanor Rigby is one of my favorite Beatles songs and one that I have been playing often since I started playing guitar in my teens, so it was the perfect choice to produce in making a tribute to The Beatles in their 50thanniversary; but it was a difficult choice as to the video interpretation of the song, because the lyrics never really tells us who Eleanor Rigby was, and according to Paul, it was just a name he made up, and others in the band came up with parts of the lyrics while writing it. George came up with “Ah, look at all the lonely people” and Ringo contributed the line “writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear” and suggested the darning of socks (Wikipedia: Eleanor Rigby).
The way I always interpreted the song was that Eleanor Rigby was a nun who lived her life serving the church until her death. To me this was not a song about lonely people, young or old, it was about a Catholic church and its nun and priest. So I decided to use this concept in the development of my video.
Looking at the lyrics/story from that perspective (and who knows if there was any hidden meaning intended by The Beatles, as this song came out around the same time that John Lennon made his comments about Jesus and the decline of Christianity), the song does not clarify whether the singer is telling us if these lonely people are someone to feel sorry for, if they feel any comfort in their way of life, if they are very committed to a religious life trying to make a difference in the word, if they are trying to help others or just survive, if "the jar by the door" is a metaphor for nuns being the brides of Christ or if it is a hidden fantasy of a lonely woman yearning to be with a man, or even what these lonely people think about all of us, if they feel sorry for us, or if they think that we are damned to perdition, in particular when father McKenzie states after burying Eleanor Rigby “no one was saved.”
So I decided to leave that to the listener’s imagination, to decide who these people are. Being this my own personal interpretation of the song Eleanor Rigby, I changed three words in the lyrics: (1) I changed the “Ah, look at all …” to “I” to make a statement that this is my own interpretation of the song, with all due respect for The Beatles’ work and their own interpretation/intended meaning of the song; (2) I changed “the lonely people” to “those lonely people” to focus the song on McKenzie and Rigby, as opposed to other lonely people in general, like church goers; and (3) I changed “no one was saved” to “no one is saved” to remind us that in this world today, we might be the sinners and these particular protagonists of the story the saints.
I owe my love of music and my musical inclination in a very big way to The Beatles, growing up hearing and singing their songs and more than anything, being inspired by their love of humanity and their dreams for peace, trying to make a positive impact on each one of us through their songs. I dedicate this song and video to them, for their great contribution to humanity, provided in stereo for our ears to consume and our minds to expand on. Thank you, John, Paul, George and Ringo.
Here is the video: ELEANOR RIGBY