BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Eleanor Rigby”


“Eleanor Rigby” was written by Paul McCartney and was recorded by The Beatles for their 1966 Revolver album. Wikipedia says this about the song:

The song continued the transformation of the Beatles from a mainly rock and roll- and pop-oriented act to a more experimental, studio-based band. With a double string octet arrangement by George Martin and striking lyrics about loneliness, “Eleanor Rigby” broke sharply with popular music conventions, both musically and lyrically. Richie Unterberger of AllMusic cites the band’s “singing about the neglected concerns and fates of the elderly” on the song as “just one example of why the Beatles’ appeal reached so far beyond the traditional rock audience”.

It’s hardly my favorite Beatles tune, certainly my least-favorite song on that album, but there’s something about it that I just can’t put out of my mind. Anyway, Vevo has been nice enough to put many of The Beatles’ songs on YouTube (after making sure all the fan videos were removed and those who posted them chastised). Here it is, with graphics from Yellow Submarine (which I’ve only seen once, so I’m not sure if this video was part of it).

For this battle, I chose two instrumental versions of the song by jazz artists who were quite popular in the Sixties. Here are your choices.

Wes Montgomery

Wes had established himself as a preeminent jazz guitarist with his 1960 Riverside album The Incredible Jazz Guitar of Wes Montgomery, and by 1965, concurrent with his move to Verve, moved in a considerably more “pop” (i.e. “commercial”) direction. He moved to Herb Alpert’s A&M Records in 1967. His first album for A&M was 1967’s A Day In The Life, where he covered two Beatles tunes, the title track and “Eleanor Rigby.” Wes died of a heart attack at home in Indianapolis about a year after this was recorded.

Vince Guaraldi

Most of us know Vince Guaraldi from the music he wrote for the Peanuts animated specials, but he also was a factor in the Latin and bossa nova scene during the early Sixties. He recorded this for his last album, 1970’s Alma-Ville. This was the last song he played before dying of a heart attack in February 1976.

So, listen to both versions of the song, decide which you prefer, and leave a comment below telling me which you prefer and, optionally, why you chose that one. Then, hop on over to Stephen T. McCarthy’s BotB blog, where he has a list of all the blogs that might be having a Battle today, vote in his battle, then visit the other blogs to see what they have in store.

I’ll announce the winner of today’s Battle next Sunday, April 8, 2018, so be sure and vote by then.

The lines are now open. Good luck to Wes and Vince!

13 thoughts on “BATTLE OF THE BANDS: “Eleanor Rigby”

  1. I actually really love Eleanor Rigby, probably because of the strings. When it comes to your two choices, I prefer the Vince Guaraldi, version by far. Also, had to go to YouTube to watch Wes’s.


  2. Two dynamite artists with two great versions. Guaraldi does a fantastic job on this, but Wes Mongomery’s version is more to my liking–love his guitar playing, prefer his pacing, and the backing is so lush, so good.

    A vote for Wes Montgomery

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out (A)


  3. OMG one of my all time favorite songs…I mean who doesn’t love a little Rigby now and again? I’m definitely going to go with the chill-ax of Wes Montgomery.


  4. Other than the Beatles, the only version I can force myself to listen to is the Ray Charles version. I’ll go with the Wes Montgomery version, but this is based on about 30 seconds of each.

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  5. I can definitely tell Vince wrote the Peanuts theme from the style of this Beatles song and I have to go with Vince because it is more unique and I can really dig it to use an old term. The other one is ok but I felt it was bit of elevator music. Funny that they both died of a heart attack and young…too young.


  6. John,

    We played this song when I was in junior high school band. I loved it! I like both instrumental versions a lot but I the piano cover suits my mood best this morning and thus earning my vote for Vince Guaraldi. Excellent battle showdown! Happy Easter, dear friend. Our Savior lives!


    1. It’s a good version, not quite what I was looking for in this specific battle. I’ll probably do another “Eleanor Rigby” battle soon and I’ll be sure and get it in then. Any thoughts on these two?


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