Almanac Music – More of Vanilla Fudge: ‘Eleanor Rigby’




Within the closely monitored boundaries of a fairly strict boarding school at the time, I think missed Vanilla Fudge when their first album appeared in 1967. Perhaps it was because the emphasis at the time was on a mixture of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s, the psychedelic American West Coast ‘Summer of Love’, Dylan or whatever – I didn’t notice Vanilla Fudge at the time.


A few years later as a first year uni student, my mate WR Bartlett brought me up to date. He was quite a fan, especially of the band’s dynamic drummer Carmine Appice. Although I liked what I heard, I still didn’t buy into the band (in the sense of purchasing an album). I was more into the likes of CSNY and Creedence Clearwater Revival, not to mention the host of classic albums released that year – ‘Bridge over troubled water’, ‘Tapestry’, et al.


Fast forward twenty-five years and I’m a teacher about to go on Long Service Leave. I had to find a replacement who could teach my major subject, Christian Studies. I rang bloke in Melbourne – I’d heard of him but had never met him; I liked his style from a couple of devotional books he’d written. Enter Jonathan Krause – hip, hairy, bejewelled and sharp as a tack. The downside was that he barracked for Collingwood but he more than made up for it with his wide-ranging music tastes. I must have mentioned Vanilla Fudge at some stage because when he completed his contract he gave me a CD of that first album. It was love at first replay!


The album is a collection of covers – The Zombies, The Beatles, Sonny Bono, etc. Mostly slowed down to about 50% of the original speed; usually an extended introduction (some might say ‘warm up’), harmonised vocals, the ubiquitous Hammond organ and a side of full crash jam at some point. They did melancholia very well.


My choice to share is their version of The Beatles’ Eleanor Rigby. Originally a 2:08, strings only track on the Revolver album, the song is sad and reflective but skips along at a good clip. Vanilla Fudge turned it into a nine minute, funereal, almost depressing dirge – but with flair and energy, if that’s not contradictory.




I enjoy both versions of the song and which one I choose at any given moment is determined by context. This week I’m with Col, travelling back to particular people, times and places.


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About Ian Hauser

A relaxed, Noosa-based retiree with a (very) modest sporting CV. A Queenslander through and through, especially when it comes to cricket and rugby league. I enjoy travel, good coffee and cake, reading, and have been known to appreciate a glass or three of wine. As well as being one of Footy Almanac's online editors, I moonlight as an editor for hire - check me out at


  1. Now if we’re talking about versions of Eleanor Rigby this home grown talent stands high.


  2. Yes, Glen!, Zoot certainly brought a whole new take to this song. If The Beatles version is ‘sad and reflective’ while Vanilla Fudge make it ‘funereal and depressing’, how would you describe Zoot’s take? Is it a perspective from a more removed observer who is asking questions of a more existential nature? Or is it just a ‘good old rock and roll’ version of a song? Discuss.

  3. Ta Ian, I’m a fairly basic type of music afficianado.

    I doubt if the Zoot had any philosophical, or ideological appraisals in their recordings; though it would be remiss not to mention Rick Springfield later ‘Spoke to the Sky.

    I’d heartily describe their recording of Eleanor Rigby as a very ‘good old rock and roll’ version.


  4. Richard Griffiths says

    Brilliant album-still play it today. Your Keep Me Hanging On sensational!

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