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

“You Oughta Know”

Alanis Morissette | 1995

This blunt, bitter breakup song -- famous for its line "Would she go down on you in a theater?" -- was long rumored to be about Alanis Morissette getting dumped by Full House actor Dave Coulier. But while she never confirmed it was about him (Coulier himself says it is, however), she insisted the song wasn't all about scorn. "By no means is this record just a sexual, angry record," she told Rolling Stone. "The song wasn't written for the sake of revenge. It was written for the sake of release. I'm actually a pretty rational, calm person."

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