The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ Was Inspired by a Star From ‘Help!’

Paul McCartney revealed an important actor who appeared in Help! inspired The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” She compared the Fab Four to Greek demigods.

The Beatles‘ “Eleanor Rigby” was partly inspired by a star who appeared in the movie Help! In addition, Paul McCartney said she might have dated John Lennon. On the other hand, the star prefers to keep her personal life private.

A star of ‘Help!’ inspired the title of The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’

During a 2021 interview with The New Yorker, Paul discussed the writing of The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby.” He started taking piano lessons and played an early draft of the song for his teacher. At that time, the tune had the title “Ola Na Tungee.” The teacher wasn’t that impressed with the song, preferring to hear Paul play piano scales.

“When I started working on the words in earnest, ‘Eleanor’ was always part of the equation, I think, because we had worked with Eleanor Bron on the film Help! and we knew her from the Establishment, Peter Cook’s club, on Greek Street,” Paul added. “I think John might have dated her for a short while, too, and I liked the name very much.”

‘Help!’ wasn’t the only film to feature an iconic role from Eleanor Bron

Besides influencing The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” and playing a cultist in the movie Help!, Bron is most known for her roles in Alfie, Bedazzled, and Women in Love. The three films captured 1960s British liberation and excess. She also appeared in television shows such as Doctor Who, Yes Minister, and Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life.

During a 2015 interview with The Guardian, Bron discussed how her headmistress convinced her not to attend acting school. “‘Oh, all little girls want to go to drama school,’ and I immediately thought, ‘I don’t want to be like all little girls,’” Bron recalled. “She urged me to go to Oxford or Cambridge. That generation of [women] teachers had all been deprived of their dues academically — the possibility of a really good university education — so they wanted it for other people.” After growing tired of her job in a printing company, she joined a cabaret, which led to other acting jobs. The rest is history.

Eleanor Bron felt The Beatles were like Greek demigods who were torn apart

While Brown will always be associated with The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby,” they taught her a somber lesson. “[They] taught me that fame is not all it’s cracked up to be,” she recalled. “It is going back to the Greeks: it is Orpheus and his tearing apart by the Maenads … you set up these demigods, and they are torn apart.”

Bron is concerned with her privacy. In her autobiography The Pillow Book of Eleanor Bron, she calls all her lovers “John.” It’s up to fans to theorize what her connection to the “Imagine” singer might have been.

Bron might not be a household name but her impact on The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” means she’ll always have a place in rock ‘n’ roll history.

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