Handwritten score for Eleanor Rigby, with Paul McCartney's signature, up for auction

The original score for The Beatles' song Eleanor Rigby that will be auctioned on Sept 11 at the auction house as part of their The Beatles Collection sale.
The original score for The Beatles' song Eleanor Rigby that will be auctioned on Sept 11 at the auction house as part of their The Beatles Collection sale. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - The original handwritten score for Beatles song Eleanor Rigby is to be sold at auction, alongside the deeds of the grave of the woman said to have been immortalised by the Fab Four.

The score is written in pencil by the Beatles's late producer George Martin and signed by both Martin and Paul McCartney.

It also includes notes specifying that it was to be recorded at London's Abbey Road Studio number two and that four violins, two violas and two cellos were to be used.

Eleanor Rigby was released in 1966 as the B-side to Yellow Submarine, and depicts its heroine as "wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door".

McCartney 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.

It emerged in the 1980s that the name is inscribed on a headstone in St Peter's churchyard in Woolton, Liverpool, where McCartney met John Lennon at a party in 1957.

The two Beatles also revealed that they used to take short cuts through the church grounds.

According to the grave, Eleanor Rigby died in 1939 at the age of 44.

But McCartney has stayed true to his story, saying in 2008 that "Eleanor Rigby is a totally fictitious character that I made up".

"If someone wants to spend money buying a document to prove a fictitious character exists, that's fine with me," he said at the time.

The deeds of the grave will be sold in a lot that includes a miniature Bible, dated 1899, with the name Elenor Rigby handwritten inside.

The Beatles Memorabilia Auction will be held on Sept 11.