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Paul McCartney found inspiration for songwriting from a variety of sources. He would often write songs either for himself or The Beatles from events in his personal life or stories about current events. “She’s Leaving Home” by The Beatles was written by Paul McCartney after he read a newspaper article about a girl who ran away from home. 

Paul McCartney found inspiration from a troubling newspaper article

Paul McCartney speaks and performs at the Regal Theater in Australia
Paul McCartney | James D. Morgan/Getty Images

In 1967, McCartney saw a headline in the Daily Mail that read “A-Level Girl Dumps Car and Vanishes.” The article was about a 17-year-old girl name Melanie Coe, who left her cushy and comfortable home. Her parents believed she was kidnapped as they couldn’t understand why she would run away. 

“I cannot imagine why she should run away,” Coe’s father said in the article. “She has everything here”

In a 2008 interview with The Guardian, Coe addressed the article and said she left her home because of a complicated relationship she had with her parents. 

“I think my dad called up the newspapers – my picture was on the front pages,” Coe said. “He made out that I must have been kidnapped, because why would I leave? They gave me everything – coats, cars. But not love.”

Paul McCartney based a Beatles song off of Melanie Coe’s story

“She’s Leaving Home” appeared on 1967’s Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Paul McCartney wrote and sang the verses for the Beatles song while John Lennon wrote the chorus, which they sang together. The influence for the song came after McCartney read Coe’s story in the Daily Mail. 

However, McCartney didn’t know the exact details behind why she abandoned her home. So, he used the article to come up with a backstory that would lead to an intriguing song. In 1000 UK #1 Hits by Jon Kutner and Spencer Leigh (shared via, the singer discussed how he used the article as inspiration.

“We’d seen that story and it was my inspiration,” McCartney explained. “There was a lot of these at the time and that was enough to give us the storyline. So I started to get the lyrics: she slips out and leaves a note and the parents wake up, it was rather poignant.”

Melanice Coe didn’t know ‘She’s Leaving Home’ was about her


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Funny enough, Coe had met The Beatles when she was 13 at a filming television program, Ready Steady Go. When “She’s Leaving Home” first debuted, Coe didn’t realize the song was about her. Once she realized it, the song became a source of sadness for her as it reminded her of the broken relationship with her parents that was never fixed. 

“I didn’t realise for a long time that the song was about me,” Coe told The Guardian. “Years later Paul was on a program talking about how he’d seen a newspaper article and been inspired by it. My mother pieced it all together and called me to say, ‘That song’s about you!’”

“I can’t listen to the song. It’s just too sad for me,” Coe added. “My parents died a long time ago and we were never resolved. That line, ‘She’s leaving home after living alone for so many years’ is so weird to me because that’s why I left. I was so alone. How did Paul know that those were the feelings that drove me towards one-night stands with rock stars? I don’t think he can have possibly realised that he’d met me when I was 13 on Ready Steady Go!, but when he saw the picture, something just clicked.”