Song Stories

“Eleanor Rigby”

The Beatles | 1966

A meditation on loneliness in which a priest buries an unloved woman, "Eleanor Rigby" features a pair of string quartets, arranged by producer George Martin. The Beatles don't actually play a single note on the recording, although John Lennon and George Harrison do provide harmonies for Paul McCartney's lead vocal. McCartney claimed that Eleanor Rigby's fictional name came from an amalgamation of the actress Eleanor Bron (Help!) and a commercial sign for Rigby & Evans Ltd. In the 1980s, a gravestone belonging to an actual Eleanor Rigby was discovered just a stone's throw from where McCartney and Lennon first met. "It was either complete coincidence," said McCartney, "or in my subconscious."

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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