In early 1967, Paul McCartney of the Beatles read a story on the front page of the Daily Mirror newspaper about a 17 year old girl named Melanie Coe, from a well-to-do London family, who had run away from home, with her boyfriend, a croupier. She left in the afternoon while her parents were at work and was found ten days. When she returned home, she was pregnant and had an abortion. (The croupier was not the father of the child)
The Daily Mail piece featured quotes from Coe’s father. “I cannot imagine why she has run away,” he said. “She has everything here.”
The reality of her life was a little darker. Melanie was pregnant and feared a beating from her mother, a successful hairdresser in the East End, whose clientele included the mother of notorious gangster Ronnie and Reggie Kray.
"As a 17-year-old” Melanie said years later “I had everything money could buy - diamonds, furs, a car - but my father and mother never once told me they loved me”
From all of that came the Beatles song “She’s Leaving Home.”
“That was enough to give us a story line,” Paul said later. “So I started to get the lyrics: She slips out and leaves a note and then the parents wake up.”
John Lennon, helped write the lyrics to the chorus, didn’t need to read quotes from Coe’s father. He’d heard much of the same growing up.
“All those lines like ‘We sacrificed most of our lives / We gave her everything money could buy / Never a thought for ourselves’ … those were the things (Aunt) Mimi used to say,” John said in 1972. “It was easy to write.”
"I first met Paul” Melanie said “when I was 13 on the pop show Ready Steady Go! He presented me with first prize for miming to Brenda Lee's Let's Jump The Broomstick, which meant I danced on the show for a year. We had spent a long day in the studio filming. John Lennon was aloof and unapproachable, Paul shook our hand’s, but Ringo and George were sweethearts, chatting to us all day.
A year after the song, Melanie married a Spaniard-with a lavish reception at the Dorchester hotel in London. The newlyweds moved to the Bahamas but split 12 months later and Melanie headed for Los Angeles to pursue a dancing and acting career. She even dated actor Burt Ward, who played Robin in the Batman TV series.