The original music score for The Beatles classic song Eleanor Rigby is heading for auction next month, where it could sell for up to £25,000.
The manuscript was handwritten by the band’s producer George Martin, and bears both Martin and Paul McCartney’s signatures at the top of the page.
Released in 1966, the song marked a striking departure for the band – and for pop music in general – with bleak lyrics about loneliness set against a backdrop of melancholy strings.
The score was composed by George Martin, and recorded at Abbey Road studios in April 1966 by an eight-piece string orchestra featuring four violins, two violas and two cellos.
McCartney wrote the lyrics, and originally intended the song to be called ‘Daisy Hawkins’, before changing the title character’s name because it sounded more natural.
He claimed the name ‘Eleanor Rigby’ was the combination of Eleanor Bron, an actress who starred in the Beatles film Help!, and a Bristol-based company named ‘Rigby & Evens Ltd, Wine & Spirit Shippers’.
However, in 1984 a gravestone bearing the name Eleanor Rigby was discovered in the cemetery at Woolton Parish Church – where McCartney and Lennon first met in 1957 during the annual garden fete.
McCartney conceded that he could have been subconsciously inspired by the name on the headstone, having often taken a shortcut through the cemetery in his youth.
In a striking coincidence, the real-life Eleanor Rigby is believed to have lived a life of quiet loneliness similar to that of the song’s character.
Born in Wooton in 1895, Eleanor Rigby Whitfield worked as a scullery maid and remained unmarried until the age of 35, which was highly unusual for the time.
She married railway foreman Thomas Woods, but the Pair were unable to have children, and she passed away in 1939 at the age of 44, in the same house she was born in.
The auction will also include the title deeds to Rigby’s grave site, along with the original documents surrounding its purchase by the Rugby family in 1915, and a miniature bible bearing the name E.R. Whitfield.
The sale at Omega Auctions in Warrington takes place on September 11.