Paul McCartney talked about "She's Leaving Home" in a 1997 interview: "John and I wrote 'She's Leaving Home' together. It was my inspiration. We'd seen a story in the newspaper about a young girl who'd left home and not been found, there were a lot of those at the time, and 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 ... It was rather poignant. I like it as a song, and when I showed it to John, he added the 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 song-writing 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.
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. Then there's the famous little line about a man from the motor trade; people have since said that was Terry Doran, who was a friend who worked in a car showroom, but it was just fiction, like the sea captain in "Yellow Submarine", they weren't real people."
The newspaper story McCartney mentioned was from the front page of the Daily Mirror, about a girl named Melanie Coe. Although McCartney made up most of the content, Coe, who was 17 at the time claims that he got most of it right. Her parents wondered why she had left... "She has everything here." In real life, Melanie did not "meet a man from the motor trade", but instead a croupier, and left in the afternoon while her parents were at work. She was found ten days later because she had let slip where her boyfriend worked.
Coincidentally, Coe had met McCartney three years earlier when she was a contestant and prize winner on ITV's Ready Steady Go!. An update on Melanie appeared in the Daily Mail in May 2008.
Covered by Harry Nilsson on Pandemonium Shadow Show.
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