Paul McCartney's Vision for 'Eleanor Rigby' 'Horrified' the String Musicians

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Paul McCartney didn't initially want strings on 'Eleanor Rigby.' When he agreed to it, the string musicians resented his vision. Here's why.

When George Martin told Paul McCartney that they should add a double string quartet to “Eleanor Rigby,” he was wary. He didn’t necessarily want that type of sound. Eventually, though, he agreed, so long as they followed his vision for the song. This particular vision horrified the string musicians. A Beatles audio engineer shared how they reacted and how they finally achieved the finished product.

McCartney initially played “Eleanor Rigby” on the acoustic guitar. When producer George Martin suggested they get a double string quartet, McCartney hesitantly agreed. He insisted that they achieve a “really biting” sound with the strings, though. This request meant that audio engineer Geoff Emerick had to get creative in the studio.

Source: Emma McKee/


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