Tuesday, February 8, 2011

She's Leaving Home

Richard Furnstein: The lights go down on the rock and roll stage to reveal Paul and John, dramatically delivering another McCartney melodrama. The story in brief: chick who has taken her A-levels and advanced classical piano lessons leaves her boring English parents to meet some sleazy pot dealer at a Knight's Inn. They run off and he gives her the clap or babies with stupid names. That part isn't clear. The parents have to reflect on this coming of age story with passive aggression ("How could she do this to me?" You just answered your own question, mother).

Robert Bunter: The generation gap was never so poignantly evoked as it is here by young Paul. Only four years after basically doing everything they could to encourage the world's youth to assert their freedom and independence, the doe-eyed Pied Piper of Liverpool has second thoughts, or at least a vague pang of sympathy for the nightgowned matron weeping at the top of the stairs. This is the same McCartney who elbowed "'Til There Was You" onto With The Beatles so that the moms still had something nice to listen to while John was inciting a "You Really Got A Hold On Me"-fueled revolution.

The group offered something for everyone, and the proof is in this token gesture of understanding. Too little, too late, perhaps, but who among us cannot be moved to tears by LenMac's aching falsettos and clever "buy/bye-bye" wordplay? Human people are damned lucky to exist in a universe with something this beautiful.

Richard Furnstein:
Paul is primarily the narrator in this play, while John is in the role of the parents. A stab in his black heart, as he pretends to know what it is like to have parents that give a shit about you. It's the ultimate orphan fantasy: to leave your parents and have them deal with the fallout.

Robert Bunter: Paul's impetuous decision to use Mike Leander for the string arrangement (I just pulled that out of my mind without looking it up) might have angered staid, conservatory-trained producer George Martin, but it was the right move. These harps and fiddles bring the right touch of pathos to Paul's heartrending melody.

Why did the girl leave home? For "fun," which is "the one thing that money can't buy." What? That doesn't make any sense. What a selfish thing to do to her poor parents.


  1. oh man John Lennon: Ultimate Orphan Fantasy DVD box set!

  2. My favorite story about this song is that J and P cut the vocals in the big room at Studio A on stools, facing each other in one take. It makes it all the more touching when you think of their rift at the time.

  3. Were they beefing during Sgt Pepper's? I feel like that was like pure peace time. John hated his wife and just wanted to hang out with his buddies all the time.