The conductor and oboist Nicholas Daniel, commenting on my notice of the death of his friend John Gardner, mentions that it was this ‘refined and ascetic’ musician who contributed the ending of the song Eleanor Rigby when Paul McCartney got blocked.
This much is known: Macca lived at the time with Jane Asher, whose mother had a music studio on Wimpole Street, near the Royal Academy of Music, where Gardner taught. According to Barry Miles, in Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now (pp 281-4), Mrs Asher engaged an unnamed friend from a music college to give Paul piano lessons.
Paul adds: ‘I wrote it (Eleanor Rigby) at the piano, just vamping an e-minor chord; letting that stay as a vamp and putting a melody over it.’ Miles comments that Lennon had virtually ‘nil’ input into the song, which Paul felt would make him ‘a more serious writer’.
So was Mrs Asher’s friend who taught Paul how to play the piano the late John Gardner? And did he help finish off Eleanor Rigby?
I’ve sent the question to the world’s great Macca experts. Does anyone know more? Listen here