It was written to order by McCartney and George Martin to appear over a 19th Century scene in the film.
In the film, ‘Eleanor Rigby’ has to run for about nine minutes although when I wrote the script I had in mind something like a three-minute segment based on the images I have described: Dickensian streets, capes and carriages, swords and altars. But by the time Peter Webb had finished we had this nine minutes of anxiety into nightmare and because ‘Eleanor Rigby’ finishes after three minutes the editor had filled up the time by putting classical music in – it was part of Brahms’ Violin Concerto.
This put George Martin and me in a strange position. We had to write six minutes of classical music because I thought: If this character Brahms could do it, what’s wrong with us doing it? We were rather forced into it by the director, and it’s something we might not have normally attempted to do otherwise.
But it was a challenge we couldn’t resist, to extend and create a new song, rather like ‘Eleanor Rigby’. Although this was something quite different for me, strangely enough, when I wrote ‘Eleanor Rigby’ I did see that as my future. I was twenty-three or thereabouts and thinking: What am I going to be doing at thirty? And I thought then of serious music. I thought that would be perfect – I wouldn’t have to be glamorous any more. It was going to be my solution to the big problem of what does an old Beatle do!
Then all these years later I was forced into a corner and had to pick up that old dream, and get down to being a classical composer — well, for six minutes or so.
Give My Regards To Broad Street book, 1984
In addition to the orchestra, ‘Eleanor’s Dream’ contains a Spanish guitar section, most likely played by Carlos Bonell.
The compact disc version of Give My Regards To Broad Street contained the full 9:10 version of ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and ‘Eleanor’s Dream’. The vinyl edition, however, trimmed ‘Eleanor Rigby’ to 2:07, and ‘Eleanor’s Dream’ to just 1:01.