(AFP) – Nov 12, 2008
LONDON (AFP) — Paul McCartney on Wednesday shot down suggestions that his Beatles song "Eleanor Rigby" was inspired by a hospital scullery maid after a woman claimed the star had sent her a pay slip signed with that name.
"Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictious character that I made up," McCartney said in a statement released to AFP by his publicists.
"If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me," he said, referring to a forthcoming auction of the document.
His spokeswoman added they had not been able to establish whether McCartney sent the pay slip to Annie Mawson, who is auctioning it off to raise up to 500,000 pounds for a music therapy centre.
The pay slip dates from 1911 and originally came from City Hospital in Liverpool, McCartney's home city.
Mawson, chief executive of the Sunbeams Music Trust charity, said the ex- Beatles' office sent her the document after she wrote to him asking for a donation to help children with special needs.
Explaining how she received the document in 1990, Mawson said: "One day in the post came a brown envelope with a Paul McCartney world tour stamp, nine months after I had written the letter.
"I opened it and inside was this beautiful, ancient document. It was spine-shivering really, partly because he responded in such a personal way."
"Eleanor Rigby" -- McCartney's song about a lonely woman who "died in the church and was buried along with her name/Nobody came" -- appeared on the 1966 Beatles album "Revolver" and was the B-side to the single "Yellow Submarine".
McCartney has previously said the name Eleanor was inspired by actress Eleanor Bron, who starred in the Beatles film "Help!" in 1965 and that Rigby came from the name of a wine merchant.
In the 1980s, a grave was discovered at Saint Peter's Church in Woolton, Liverpool, where McCartney and bandmate John Lennon used to sunbathe as teenagers, bearing the name Eleanor Rigby.
There was also a gravestone bearing the name "McKenzie" -- the song also features a character called Father McKenzie -- in the graveyard, which has now become a popular attraction for Beatles fans visiting Liverpool.
The document is due to be auctioned in London on November 27.
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