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13 May 2014
2.21am
DKqwerty
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Hey y'all. I'm an audio engineer and one of my favorite hobbies is to screw with Beatles tunes in digital editors because Beatles music is so clean and consistently mixed since the 2009 remasters. However, I've noticed something bizarre:

If you place the raw WAVE files for the Revolver 2009 stereo remaster of "Eleanor Rigby " and the Anthology 2 "strings only" versions in the same file, they initially sync up perfectly, as I would expect from Beatles recordings. However, the two tracks quickly fall noticeably out of sync and when looking at the end of the files, the two have a roughly one second difference. This has obvious implications regarding the quality of the tape playback during remastering (i.e. either it was slow for Anthology or fast for 2009 remasters).

Furthermore, when I compared the strings to the original CD stereo master of Revolver (American tracklisting circa 1980s), the same thing happened. I also compared the file lengths of the 2009 remaster and '80s original master (both stereo): 2009 is shorter than '80s master by about .08 seconds, though I assume this was to correct a mastering speed error introduced to the original CD master.

Given that both Revolver s have files with only negligible differences in length, I'm going to assume Anthology was mastered slow. Possible explanations I can think of are:

  • The strings were originally recorded at that speed, but sped up slightly when the Beatles' overdubs were added, possibly to better match pitch
  • There was a mastering error with the original LP, which recorded too fast and the "strings only" is the original recording speed
  • There was simply a speed error when mastering Anthology, though this seems unthinkable with George Martin at the helm of the original equipment

But, I'd rather know than assume, so if anyone can shed some light, I would greatly appreciate it. And sorry that this is so verbose.

EDIT: Just want to clarify that by length, I mean from start of signal to end of signal, with all silence (~60dB and under) removed.

BTW, I searched the forum for this and found nothing. If I'm repeating an already-existing thread, kindly direct me there!

13 May 2014
2.25am
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IveJustSeenAFaceo
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I'm not hugely knowledgable here at all. In fact, I know nothing. I'd just like to welcome you and encourage you to stick around, introduce yourself, and have some discussions!

Oh, have you tried matching the Yellow Submarine Songtrack  version? That's probably a different length seeing as it was remixed, but just a suggestion.

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16 May 2014
4.02pm
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Joe
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That's really interesting. I have no idea why there might be a difference, but my guess would be Anthology has the strings at their original recording speed.

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24 April 2015
2.27pm
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Ron Nasty
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On our Fab Four Taxi Tour on Monday, we obviously took in St. Peter's Church, and its churchyard.

And a "can't miss" is obviously Eleanor's gravestone.

Rigby.jpgImage Enlarger

And then our excellent driver, Ian Doyle (Dear Prudence ), asked myself, @Ahhh Girl and @fabfouremily to look closely at Eleanor's inscription, and see if we noticed anything strange about it, about its wording, and an echo in the song. So we looked:

Rigby-1.jpgImage Enlarger

Ian pointed out something about it that none of us had noticed. Can you see it?

...Rigby
...wife of Thomas Woods

Why isn't she Eleanor Woods? It's 1939! A woman keeping her own name after marriage was... I would say unheard of, but obviously...

And then in the song:

Eleanor Rigby died...
...and was buried along with her name...

Isn't that exactly what we see on the gravestone, an Eleanor Rigby  who was buried along with her name, not her husband's.

Thanks to Ian for this observation.

What do you think?

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24 April 2015
2.54pm
Tuesday
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That's a cool bit of trivia. Had never had a look at the actual gravestone before. She died young with a full family, at least that stops the song from being the world's most insensitive accidental eulogy haha 

28 May 2015
11.36am
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Ahhh Girl
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Eleanor Rigby reincarnated in McCartney's imagination:

Well, well, take off your face
Recover from the trip you've been on

from Hi, Hi, Hi

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28 May 2015
8.00pm
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Zig
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Ron Nasty said

Rigby-1.jpgImage Enlarger

a-hard-days-night-john-3John was born 364 days after she died...unless 1940 was a Leap Year.

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28 May 2015
8.51pm
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Necko
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Zig said

Ron Nasty said

Rigby-1.jpgImage Enlarger

a-hard-days-night-john-3John was born 364 days after she died...unless 1940 was a Leap Year.

Actually, 1940 WAS a leap year.

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29 May 2015
7.08am
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Zig
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ahdn_paul_06I knew someone would look it up - I love this Forum.

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10 September 2015
1.13pm
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Beatlebug
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Apparently there's an Eleanor Rigby statue plaque in Liverpool (I did not know this), because it's been stolen

Who would do such a thing? Ugh, humans. 

It verges from the sublime to the ridiculote

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10 September 2015
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meanmistermustard
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Probably taken as a prank as any sell on value would be negligible due to its distinct nature - orr to order but who would want a statue in their house? Humans do strange things, in actuality we are often very stupid. 

"I told you everything I could about me, Told you everything I could" ('Before Believing' - Emmylou Harris) 

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10 September 2015
1.31pm
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Beatlebug
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meanmistermustard pointed out 
<snip snack> Humans do strange things, in actuality we are often very stupid. 

Very twoo. 

george-its-true-2.jpg

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20 January 2016
7.42pm
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This is one of The Beatles song I listened to which convinced me that the band was more than just radio-pop but they can make unique songs with storytelling too.  Paul does keep his signature light innocent tone, but does take on a rather sad subject but with really catchy vocals.

18 July 2016
10.48am
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Leppo
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I have a "mad" theory about this song. Is it really likely that Paul would name the main character in his song for it to coincidentally match a name in the churchyard - a site of central importance to Beatles history where he and John first met? If the name was Elizabeth Smith I could accept it but Eleanor Rigby is not such a common name.

My theory is that Paul knew about the gravestone but wouldn't own up to it because of any repercussions. Added to this is the fact that Paul made a visit to his Dad's house (a short distance away) a few months before the recording commenced for Revolver (the scooter accident happened on this trip). We know he had the structure of the song about a churchyard in place. is it possible he found some extra inspiration perhaps on one of his scooter trips? Paul said he was showing his friend Tara Browne around some of the sights in Liverpool. (It's perhaps ironic that Tara would himself provide some lyrical inspiration for a Beatles song). I might be jumping to conclusions but to me it seems more likely than a coincidence. 

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18 July 2016
12.57pm
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Ahhh Girl said
Eleanor Rigby reincarnated in McCartney's imagination:

Well, well, take off your face
Recover from the trip you've been on

from Hi, Hi, Hi   

I always think of 'Another Day ' as a 'prequel' to Eleanor Rigby

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19 July 2016
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KaleidoscopeMusic
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@Leppo That theory seems correct. He's had so many repercussions from saying the wrong things. Paul did hint, however, that it could have come from his subconscious. This is another option because this would have been fresh in his mind from being near the gravestone.

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19 July 2016
8.29pm
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Into the Sky with Diamonds
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@Ron Nasty Love that anecdote. Certainly "explains" things - even if it's just a coincidence.

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1 September 2016
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Ahhh Girl
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I would have thought that a song about lonely people would be slow and lethargic sounding. But, Eleanor Rigby has such a manic, sit-up-and-pay-attention, hard-driving sound. The incongruity messes with my brain. Don't get me wrong though; I adore the song.

There is an urgency to it.

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1 September 2016
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Starr Shine?
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Reminds me of Help in that way. Both urgent songs about problems.

Also brought over from the back up.

https://youtu.be/52nwiTs7bk8

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1 September 2016
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Ahhh Girl said
I would have thought that a song about lonely people would be slow and lethargic sounding. But, Eleanor Rigby has such a manic, sit-up-and-pay-attention, hard-driving sound. The incongruity messes with my brain. Don't get me wrong though; I adore the song.

There is an urgency to it.

<End of Quote>

 

I heard a suggestion that George Martin's string arrangement was influenced by Bernard Herrmann's Psycho score. There is definitely a resemblance.

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