The Beatles’ song “She’s Leaving Home” amazed George Martin, the band’s producer, with its construction and grasp of the generational conflict described in its lyrics.
However, the Beatles amazed Martin with “She’s Leaving Home” even though he hardly worked on the song.
The song is based on the 1967 story of a runaway girl, the 17-year-old Melanie Coe, whom Paul McCartney met years earlier.
The poignant lyrics, delicate instrumentation, and heart-wrenching chorus made it a standout ballad and a cousin to “Eleanor Rigby.”
Martin thought highly of the construction and emotion in “She’s Leaving Home,” calling it “almost like a little opera” and “one of the best-constructed songs they ever did.”
He was amazed that the Beatles could create such a song at their age because they could see the conflict between the young and the old.
“She’s Leaving Home” was one of the few Beatles songs without any of their traditional instrumentation (guitar, drums, bass, piano).
It was also one of the rare Fab Four tunes that Martin hardly worked on. The orchestral tune required string arrangement, but Martin was busy working on a Cilla Black song and couldn’t break away. Paul McCartney took the lead on the song’s creation and worked on it without Martin.
He teamed with Mike Leander to write the string arrangement, and although Martin wasn’t involved in the process, his fingerprints showed up on the song.
He slightly altered Leander and McCartney’s arrangement that appeared on Sgt. Pepper.
The song’s lyrics capably, vividly, and heartbreakingly captured the restlessness and dissatisfaction of 1960s youth and the older generation that didn’t understand their viewpoint in a 3:35 pop song.
The musical approach was also something of a deviation. Paul McCartney was only in his mid-20s when he wrote the song, yet he managed to create a song that could see the conflict between the young and the old.
In later years, Martin said he was amazed at how deep The Beatles made “She’s Leaving Home” considering their age.
Although Paul’s choice to bypass him to work on “She’s Leaving Home” hurt Martin, the producer’s contribution to the song was undeniable.
The song’s construction, emotion, and musical approach made it a standout ballad that showcased the Beatles’ musical genius.