top of page

Look At All The Lonely People

It could be a song about life in a pandemic. Written 55 years ago, the Beatles' Eleanor Rigby talks of loneliness and isolation –"Look at all the lonely people" – and especially a lonely woman who died, was buried, and no one came to her funeral.

Sir Paul McCartney, who was knighted on this day in '97, denies that the song is based on a real person but one woman may have proof to the contrary.

Released in 1966 on the album 'Revolver', the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby" talks of the loneliness and isolation. Specifically the loneliness of a woman and of a priest. The lyrics include,

Eleanor Rigby

Died in the church and was buried

along with her name

Nobody came

Father McKenzie

Wiping the dirt from his hands as

he walks from the grave

No-one was saved

All the lonely people

Where do they all come from?

All the lonely people

Where do they all belong?

Legend has it that Paul McCartney made up the name "Eleanor Rigby," but a document that McCartney had from 1911 might tell a different story.

Eleanor Rigby was a fictional character — that the two names were chosen by Paul McCartney based on an actress he knew and a liquor store in Bristol. But there may well have been a real Eleanor Rigby, and Annie Mawson says she has the proof.

Mawson runs a centre that uses music to help people with physical and mental health issues.