Paul McCartney launched a new 12-part podcast this week about some of his most famous songs, spanning early Beatles through his more recent solo work.
Life in Lyrics is based on his book, The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present, and is hosted by both McCartney and poet Paul Muldoon, who wrote the book’s foreword.
For its inaugural episode, McCartney breaks down the Beatles hit ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ explaining the story behind its title and meaning behind one of its most well-known lines.
“There is a grave which John [Lennon] and I wandered around endlessly talking about our future,” he recalled about the song’s title. “And there is a grave there [with the name Eleanor Rigby]. I don’t remember ever seeing that gravestone, but it’s been suggested to me that psychologically I would have seen it.”
As for the lyric ‘wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door,’ McCartney said the idea came from his mother’s love for Nivea cold cream.
“My mum’s favourite was Nivea and I love it to this day. It kind of scared me a little that women used quite so much cold cream, and it was my dread, when I got older and got married, that I would marry someone who would [wear a lot of cold cream] and put one of those big shower caps on and the curlers and have masses of things,” he admitted.
“So that played on my mind quite a bit, so she’s wearing a face that she keeps in a jar by the door.”
Listen to the full episode here: