The Beatles release "Yellow Submarine" and "Eleanor Rigby" in the UK
“Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” are two of the many songs written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. They appeared along with other numbers on the Beatles’ seventh album, Revolver, in the summer of 1966. The album was at the top of the UK charts for seven weeks, and was number one in the USA for six. Later, “Yellow Submarine” and “Eleanor Rigby” came out on a double-A side single. This was a big hit in Britain, but it did not make number one in the USA. Some people think that this is because John Lennon said “We’re more popular than Jesus now” before the single came out, and this annoyed religious people in America.
Beatlemania! (Copyright: Scanpix)
“Eleanor Rigby” was a turning point for the Beatles. It is a strange, sad song, not at all like the Fab Four’s earlier releases. It is also unique among their songs, because all four Beatles wrote parts of it. George Harrison and Ringo Starr each wrote a line. Ringo wrote “Father Mackenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no-one will hear”, and George made up “Ah, look at all the lonely people”. But most of the song belongs to Lennon and McCartney.
Find words and phrases in the text which mean the same as these:
- lists of popular songs
- a great success
- people like us better
Activities for the links below
John Lennon had some pretty radical opinions, and he often got into trouble because of them. Read the artcle, and answer the questions:
- Is it true to say that the Roman Catholic Church is angry with John Lennon because of what he said 40 years ago? Why?
- What does the Vatican’s newspaper think of the Beatles’ music?
- In your own words, what does the newspaper say about the historical importance of the Beatles?
- Again in your own words, what did Lennon say about the future of Christianity?
- What did Lennon think of Jesus’ disciples?
- In what ways did lots of Americans react to Lennon’s remarks?
- Why was Lennon glad he had caused trouble?
- How did his career change after he made his remarks about Christianity?
Read the “Songfacts” and choose the right answers to these questions.
a. Where did Paul see the name “Rigby”?
- On an actress’s house
- On a shop
- In a church
b. Why did Paul change “Father McCartney” to “Father Mackenzie”?
- He thought Mackenzie was a more pleasant name
- He had a friend called Mackenzie
- He thought his father might not like “Father McCartney”
c. How many string instruments were played in the recording?
d. Where did John and Paul first meet?
- Near Liverpool
- In Liverpool
- In a graveyard
e. A person called Eleanor Rigby is buried in a churchyard in Woolton. When was she born?
f. Where did the Beatles perform “Eleanor Rigby” live?
- In Liverpool
- In the USA
g. What did President Clinton say about “Eleanor Rigby”?
- He quite liked it.
- He liked it more than any other song
- He liked it more than any other Beatles song
h. Who taught Paul to care for elderly people when he was a boy?
- Lonely old ladies
- His father