Beatles – She’s Leaving Home

I got this album when I was 10 years old and they even included the cutouts 10 years after it was released.

This song was on the Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band album. The album was probably the most influential rock album ever released. Other bands followed with psychedelic albums with varying results. The Zombie’s Odessey and Oracle was a great one but the Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request disappointed many fans. Sgt Pepper worked well but The Beatles would completely move on after their next EP – Album Magical Mystery Tour.

Not only were the songs different but the sound was different than their last albums. The two that stood out were Ringo’s drums and his use of toms on songs like A Day In The Life. Paul’s bass playing was brilliant. His bass on the album and especially Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds stands up to anything today…the sound of the bass also was crystal clear.

She’s Leaving Home took me a while to appreciate but when I got older I was blown away. This song was inspired by a real runaway named Melonie Coe. She had been on the television show, Ready, Steady Go, and won a prize for a miming and dancing contest. The Beatles were performing on the program and it was Paul who presented her with her prize.

Fast forward a couple of years and Melanie ran away from home in the afternoon leaving a note for her mother to find when she returned.  Melanie was running away with her boyfriend because she was in the early stages of pregnancy. She ended up breaking up with the guy.

The story of her disappearance was reported in the British newspaper, The Daily Mirror, and when Paul McCartney read it, he began to write the song She’s Leaving Home. The headline read: A-Level Girl Dumps Car and Vanishes.

It’s doubtful if Paul remembered Melanie from their brief encounter.

In the article, her father said “I cannot imagine why she should run away, she has everything here … even her fur coat.” And Lennon and McCartney turned that into “We gave her everything money could buy.”
Melanie moved to Los Angeles, having decided to become an actress. She didn’t make it and her only claim to fame was that she dated Burt Ward…a.k.a Robin in the television series Batman. She moved back to England and then on to Southern Spain where she became a real estate agent.

Melanie Coe 3

Paul was excited about this song and rang George Martin up to do it NOW. George couldn’t record when Paul wanted to so Paul recruited  Mike Leander…another producer. That didn’t sit well with Martin and he was hurt but there wasn’t much he could do.

George Martin: “It was the song that got away, It was the song I wanted to do…It was just one of those silly things. He was so damned impatient and I was up to my eyes with other work and I just couldn’t cope. But Paul realizes now, though he was surprised that I was upset.”

Melanie Coe: “The amazing thing about the song was how much it got right about my life, It quoted the parents as saying ‘we gave her everything money could buy’ which was true in my case. I had two diamond rings, a mink coat, hand-made clothes in silk and cashmere and even my own car. Then there was the line ‘after living alone for so many years,’ which really struck home to me because I was an only child and I always felt alone…I heard the song when it came out and thought it was about someone like me but never dreamed it was actually about me…I must have been in my twenties when my mother said she’d seen Paul on television and he’d said that the song was based on a story in a newspaper. That’s when I started telling my friends it was about me.”

Melanie Coe: “I first heard the song when it came out and I didn’t realize it was about me, but I remember thinking it could have been about me….I found the song to be extremely sad. It obviously struck a chord somewhere. It wasn’t until later, when I was in my twenties, that my mother said, ‘You know, that song was about you!’ She had seen an interview with Paul [McCartney] on television and he said he’d based the song on this newspaper article. She put two and two together.”

Paul McCartney: “We’d seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who had left home and not been found. There were a lot of those at the time, That was enough to give us a story line. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up and then…It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the Greek chorus, long sustained notes, and one of the nice things about the structure of the song is that it stays on those chords endlessly. Before that period in our songwriting we would have changed chords but it stays on the C chord. It really holds you. It’s a really nice little trick and I think it worked very well.”

“Greek chorus” entails by adding: “While I was showing that to John, he was doing the Greek chorus, the parents’ view: ‘We gave her most of our lives, we gave her everything money could buy.’ I think that may have been in the runaway story, it might have been a quote from the parents.”

John Lennon: “Paul had the basic theme for this song, but all those lines like ‘We sacrificed most of our life…we gave her everything money could buy,’ those were the things Mimi used to say to me. It was easy to write.”

She’s Leaving Home

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hoped would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Father snores as his wife gets into her dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband “Daddy our baby’s gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly?
How could she do this to me?”

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We struggled hard all our lives to get by)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years (Bye bye)

Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from the motor trade

She (What did we do that was wrong)
Is having (We didn’t know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)
Something inside that was always denied
For so many years (Bye bye)

She’s leaving home
Bye bye

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

34 thoughts on “Beatles – She’s Leaving Home”

  1. Though never a real Beatles fan, I always ‘liked’ this song though painfully sad. But probably coz I wasn’t a fan, I had never heard the story of how it came about. Even more sad. At least it has a happy real-life ending. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I never met a British band I didn’t like lol. Yes it is sad that many kids were doing this at that time.

      Like

  2. Obviously, I know the song was very well but didn’t know all the details of the back story – great read!

    The Sgt. Pepper album remains my favorite Beatles record. While I think it’s not quite up there with “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life,” I’ve always liked “She’s Living Home”.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Excellent post for an excellent song. To me SPLHCB still is the pinnacle of their talents , and this song is one of the best on it. Always liked it, when I got to maybe 20 I really listened to the lyrics and realized they were incredibly perceptive…but I’d never heard that backstory about Melanie. wild! I rather assumed it was a fictional, made up one. Then again ‘A Day in the Life’ was based on some real newspaper articles they’d seen so I guess there should be no surprise.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Dave… it’s a long tale and even to Paul being impatient with George Martin… Melanie is doing well from what I’ve read so that is good.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. ❤ ❤ ❤ Thank you for researching this song and giving the back story. I think I had read some of it before (not sure if you or Hans or someone else posted/commented about it?) but I love all of the tidbits you've gathered about it (even the newspaper article and her picture!) The song pulls together in perfection, wouldn't change a thing about it. I remember when I listened to it before I imagined "she" as being an older woman who has stayed living at home to take care of her aging parents, but one day she decides to be free. Lovely post, Max.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are the reason I did this but you don’t know why do you?
      You mentioned this song somewhere a few days ago and I thought….hey I havent’ covered that one.
      Thanks Lisa.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. As a three minute song that tells the story from both sides it is perfect. The choruses of parental despair are so deep, but the parents are so blind to the reasons she left! And remain so. The girl/Melanie is off on her own adventure, leaving behind her panic stricken shattered parents with the easy indifference of the self-obsessed teen. No middle ground there.
    The Beatles at this stage could do anything and everything.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It makes the song even deeper…I didn’t know this detail of it. It’s a small world since she met Paul before and then this happened.

      Like

  6. What a gorgeous touching song and record this is. I’d been aware of the song but I first loved it as a B side cover by Bryan Ferry in 1977. Then I bought the album and fell in love with The Beatles version. Just a perfect recording, and credit to Mike Leander stepping in. Everything good about Gary Glitter records (among a lot of other stuff) can probably be credited to his input co-writes. Rock & Roll Part 2? Leander co-wrote it. Produced it. Good thing he has this on his resume or he’d get no chance of credit he deserves thanks to Mr Gadd.

    Have a great break and try to enjoy some of the summer not just stuff that needs doing 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree about the song. It did take me until I matured to really appreciate the song. It is a gorgeous song and it’s deep…as someone says….it represents both sides.

      I sure will! Also thank you for your support….I really appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Always loved this song, including the poignant lyrics, but this is the first time I’ve heard the backstory. I hadn’t realized Martin didn’t produce it–the strings, especially, sound so much like something he would have done.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: