Fascinating Stories Behind The Beatles’ Iconic Songs

The true stories behind the birth of the legendary band The Beatles’ hit songs are something that every fan wants to know. Recently, musician and singer Paul McCartney of the famous British band revealed to National Geographic magazine the inspiration behind the famous song “Lady Madonna” by the group in 1968. It was a photograph of a Vietnamese woman breastfeeding her child, published by National Geographic in 1965. The photo’s caption, “Mountain Madonna, a child nursing…” gave him the idea to write this song’s title and opening lines.

Not only “Lady Madonna,” but also other famous songs by The Beatles have interesting secrets and circumstances behind their creation. Some stories are well-known, such as “Penny Lane” being a district in Liverpool and “Strawberry Field” being the children’s home where John Lennon used to play, or McCartney waking up one morning with the melody of “Yesterday” in his head. The following songs also have similar interesting details:

“I’m Looking Through You” (Album: Rubber Soul, 1965)

The romantic relationship between McCartney and his girlfriend Jane Asher inspired some of his most tender love songs (such as “And I Love Her,” “Things We Said Today,” and “Here, There and Everywhere”), as well as his bitterest ones.

When Asher decided she couldn’t give up her acting career to be with McCartney, he was heartbroken. “I know I was selfish,” he later admitted, “It caused a few arguments. Jane left and I said, ‘Okay. Go then. I’ll find someone else.’ It was confusing not having her there. That’s when I wrote ‘I’m Looking Through You.'”

I’m looking through you – Album Rubber Soul – 1965

“Eight Days a Week” (Album: Beatles for Sale, 1965)

The story behind this song will surprise you. After having his driver’s license suspended for a year due to speeding, McCartney was unable to drive himself. On one occasion, while being driven to John Lennon’s house, McCartney asked the driver, “Are you busy?” The driver replied, “Busy? I work eight days a week.” Immediately, McCartney ran into Lennon’s house and proudly exclaimed, “I’ve got a song title!” And they started writing the song “Eight Days a Week” within an hour.

Eight days a week – Album Beatles for Sale – 1965

“She Said She Said” (Album: Revolver, 1966)

In August 1965, The Beatles held a party in their rented apartment in Benedict Canyon with some friends, including actor Peter Fonda. That evening, Lennon and George Harrison used drugs, causing George to have hallucinations and feel like he was going to die. Fonda, who had more experience with drugs, reassured him, saying, “I know what it’s like to be dead because when I was young, I accidentally shot myself in the stomach, and my heart stopped three times on the operating table.” Fonda’s statement caught Lennon’s attention, and he used the line “I know what it’s like to be dead” as the opening lyrics for the song “She Said She Said.”

She said she said – Album Revolver – 1966

“Paperback Writer” (Album: 45rpm single, 1966)

By 1966, most of The Beatles’ songs were about heterosexual love. McCartney’s wife challenged him to expand his songwriting themes. “My auntie Mill said, ‘Why do you always write about love? Can’t you write about a horse or a summit conference or something interesting?'” McCartney recalled, “So I thought, ‘Okay, Auntie Mill. I’ll show you…'” The result was the song “Paperback Writer,” a story about a boy who wants to become a novelist and promises to do anything to have a bestselling book.

Paperback Writer – Album 45rpm single – 1966

“Happiness Is a Warm Gun” (Album: The White Album, 1968)

The title of this song came from the cover of a gun magazine that Lennon saw in a shop. The headline read, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun.” Lennon found the phrase fascinating and decided to use it as the song title. The song itself is a collage of different sections and melodies that Lennon had been working on separately. When he combined them, the result was a complex and fragmented masterpiece.

Happiness is a warm gun (Album The White Album, 1968)

“Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” (Album: The White Album, 1968)

The unfamiliar phrase “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” was introduced by Jimmy Scott, a Nigerian conga drummer in the band Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames. It held a special meaning in his tribal language, which he had never shared with anyone. During performances, he would shout “Ob-La-Di” to the audience, and they would respond with “Ob-La-Da.” He would then say, “Life goes on.” In 1984, McCartney mentioned that Jimmy got upset when he wrote a song about it because he wanted a share of the profits. McCartney responded by saying that it was just a way of expression, and if Jimmy wrote a song, he would be entitled to a share as well.

Beatles Ob-La-Di Pb-La-Da

“Let It Be” (Album: 45rpm, 1970)

The melody of “Let It Be” resembles church music, with lyrics about wisdom, Mother Mary, and light. Many people assume that McCartney, being a Roman Catholic, intended the song to be a modern hymn. Even the author himself admitted that it sounds “quite religious.” However, the song does not have such a religious meaning. It was born during a period when The Beatles were disbanding, and Paul had a dream where his mother (named Mary) appeared and comforted him. “She passed away when I was 14, so I hadn’t heard her voice in a long time, and it was really good for me to just dream about her. It gave me strength. In the darkest moments, Mother Mary comes to me.”

Let it be – Album 45rpm -1970

“She’s Leaving Home” (Album: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967)

The inspiration for this song came from a newspaper article that Paul McCartney read about a girl leaving home. On February 27, 1967, the Daily Mail featured a headline: “A-level girl leaves home.” Seventeen-year-old Melanie Coe had left her home and everything behind. Her father said, “I can’t imagine why she should go. She has everything here.”

With just that news article, McCartney felt inspired to write the song “She’s Leaving Home.” Interestingly, Melanie Coe later said that the lyrics felt like they were written specifically for her because they closely resembled her thoughts and circumstances at that time.

She’s leaving home – Album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 1967

“She Came in Through the Bathroom Window” (Album: Abbey Road, 1969)

Paul McCartney drew inspiration for this song from a real incident. One day, a group of teenage girls who were fans of The Beatles broke into his house in St. John’s Wood. One girl in the group climbed a wooden ladder and entered McCartney’s house through the bathroom window, then opened the door for the others.

Margo Bird was the girl who trespassed into McCartney’s house. She had been following the singer for a while and knew when he usually took his dog for a walk. During the break-in, Bird stole some of McCartney’s clothing along with a few photographs and film.

She came in through the bathroom window – Album Abbey Road-1969

Paul McCartney asked the young girl to return his favorite photographs. Despite being angry, the incident also provided inspiration for him to write the song “She Came in Through the Bathroom Window.”

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