Monday, January 13, 2014

The Greek Chorus and Beatle's: Track 'She's Leaving Home'

She's leaving home

Reading about the ordinary recently I've had  She's leaving home going round in my head.
There's always at least one story around a song and the Sgt Pepper's track She's Leaving home has a couple of corkers.
The genesis of the song was Newspaper story that Paul used to form the narrative, the song though like many of the very best of the Lennon McCartney compositions was a real collaboration with John providing what has been described as the Greek Chorus.
The Greek Chorus in the song is the  parental response in the  '..we gave her everything money could buy..' and son.

Melanie's Story
Paul described  it as a  Greek Chorus which  a device used in classic  theatre  generally being a group of up to twelve actors. They were integral to the plays action and interpretation they would often have up to half of the lines in the drama. The job they did was to provide comment on the action in the play, either by speaking in unison or  singing. They would dress similarly and wear masks.

The  Greek chorus also provided time for scene changes giving the main actors a break and time to prepare for the next scene,  they could offer background information and information about the main themes, to offer an insight into a character's thoughts and feelings, and just generally act as a go-between for the audience and the actors. Incidentally, battles and murders were not allowed to be performed in Greek theatres and so the chorus would tell the audience of such events instead of them being acted out. So the description is a good 'un.
The story in the song is about a girl leaving home and was based on Melanie Coe (who incidentally before the events of the song won a dancing competition on Ready Steady Go where Paul judged and awarded the prize).

Unlike other Beatles songs that required orchestration  which George Martin would routinely score, this song had the arrangement done by  Mike Leander  (George Martin was ill at the time) -the harp provides a bewitching introduction, Mike resurfaced in the 70s writing songs with the now discredited Gary Glitter.

Leander died of Cancer at the age of 54 in 1996.

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