The song was primarily written by Paul McCartney, although John Lennon claimed that "the first verse was his and the rest are basically mine." Pete Shotton, a close friend of Lennon who was present at the time, said "Though John (whose memory could be extremely erratic) was to take credit, in one of his last interviews, for most of the lyrics, my own recollection is that 'Eleanor Rigby' was one 'Lennon-McCartney' classic in which John's contribution was virtually nil." McCartney also says that Lennon helped on about "half a line."
Ringo Starr contributed the line "Father MacKenzie/ Writing the words to a sermon that no one will hear", while George Harrison came up with the idea for the backing vocal "Look at all the lonely people".
It remains one of The Beatles' most recognizable and unique songs, with a double string quartet arrangement by George Martin, and striking lyrics about loneliness. It was also the first song on which none of the Beatles played their instruments; while they sang on the track, the only actual instruments were played by the session musicians who played Martin's score.
The song continued the transformation of the group, started in Rubber Soul, from a mainly pop-oriented act to a more serious and experimental studio band.
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