She Came In Through The Bathroom Window

Abbey Road album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 25, 28, 30 July 1969
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Phil McDonald

Released: 26 September 1969 (UK), 1 October 1969 (US)

Paul McCartney: vocals, bass, lead guitar, piano, electric piano
John Lennon: backing vocals, 12-string acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, handclaps
George Harrison: backing vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums, tambourine, maracas, cowbell

Available on:
Abbey Road
Anthology 3

A song about the ‘Apple scruffs’ that held vigil outside the group’s headquarters, Abbey Road Studios and the members’ homes, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window was written by Paul McCartney and first released as part of the long medley on Abbey Road.

Abbey Road - The Beatles

The song is believed to have been based on an incident involving some fans who took a ladder from McCartney’s garden, climbed into his house in Cavendish Avenue, London, and stole a precious picture, possibly of his father.

We found a ladder in his garden and stuck it up at the bathroom window which he’d left slightly open. I was the one who climbed up and got in.
Diane Ashley
A Hard Day’s Write, Steve Turner

Some of the Scruffs are said to have known where McCartney kept a key to his house, and took turns to look around inside. The more daring of the set took mementos from the scene until McCartney became wise to the losses.

There were really two groups of Apple Scruffs – those who would break in and those who would just wait outside with cameras and autograph books. I used to take Paul’s dog for a walk and got to know him quite well…

I knew there was one picture he particularly wanted back – a colour-tinted picture of him in a Thirties frame. I knew who had taken this and got it back for him.

Margo Bird
A Hard Day’s Write, Steve Turner

McCartney’s neighbours attempted to contact him when they realised the break-ins were taking place, inspiring the lines “Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me.”

Another version of the tale was revealed by the Moody Blues. Their former keyboard player Mike Pinder claimed that a groupie climbed through an open bathroom window and spent the night with band member Ray Thomas. Pinder and Thomas are said to have told McCartney about the incident the next day, who began strumming on a guitar and improvised the opening line.

In 1980 John Lennon said that the song was written while he and McCartney were in New York in 1968.

That’s Paul’s song. He wrote that when we were in New York announcing Apple, and we first met Linda. Maybe she’s the one that came in the window. I don’t know; somebody came in the window.
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

Lennon and McCartney were in New York in May 1968 to announce the formation of Apple Corps. In October that year, when the White Album had been completed, McCartney flew to the city once again to see Linda Eastman.

And the end of his two-week stay, McCartney was in a taxi heading to JFK airport. At the time he needed a final verse for She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, and noticed the driver’s police identification panel on the dashboard. The ID had a photograph of the driver, along with the name Eugene Quits, above the words ‘New York Police Dept.’

So I got ‘So I quit the police department’, which are part of the lyrics to that. This was the great thing about the randomness of it all. If I hadn’t been in this guy’s cab, or if it had been someone else driving, the song would have been different. Also I had a guitar there so I could solidify it into something straight away.
Paul McCartney
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles

The end of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window brings a pause in the Abbey Road medley. The song concludes a song cycle that begins with Sun King, and continues with Mean Mr Mustard and Polythene Pam.

A slower version, meanwhile, can be found on Anthology 3. This was recorded on 22 January 1969 during the Get Back sessions at Apple Studios.

In the studio

Polythene Pam and She Came In Through The Bathroom Window were recorded as one on 25 July 1969. They taped 39 takes of the songs’ basic track, which featured McCartney on bass, Lennon on 12-string acoustic rhythm guitar, Harrison on lead guitar and Starr and drums. Lennon and McCartney also sang guide vocals for the songs where needed.

During the same session they added lead vocals and re-recorded the drums and bass parts.

On 28 July they added a range of overdubs to the two songs, including more lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, tambourine and other percussion, electric and acoustic piano. Recording was concluded on 30 July with the addition of percussion and guitar overdubs.

24 Responses to “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window”

    • Joe

      I’ve read conflicting reports. Some even say that George is on bass as well as lead (not at the same time, obviously!). As a safeguard I put them both on lead guitar, unless I can find definitive confirmation one way or another.

      Reply
  1. Matt

    “In New York, McCartney is said to have been given protection by an NYPD officer named Eugene Quits, who found his name alluded to in the line “And so I quit the police department”.”

    Actually, according to Paul in either Anthology or Many Years From Now, Eugene Quits was the name of the man who drove a taxi he and Linda took at one point, and the words “Police Department” were on the license, which was hanging from the rearview mirror.

    Reply
    • Joe

      So it is. Thanks for that. It’s in Many Years From Now, in the White Album chapter (page 521 in my copy). I’ll amend the article.

      Reply
  2. Jack Shelleyni

    The guitar work in this song is so beautiful to me. It sounds like it is from somewhere else in the universe. It seems to be counter pointing the lyrics. Just fantastic. Great song.

    Reply
  3. Matthew

    I can’t remember the exact interview (7 months ago) but during the interview I believe Ringo Starr stated this to be his favorite Beatles song.

    Reply
  4. Jay

    In the very beginning of the song, before he says “Oh look out” what’s beind said there? I can’t tell and lyrics sites only start at “oh look out”. Any help? Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Vonbontee

    I’ll always wonder why they didn’t use any tapes as a sonic bridge between this and “Golden Slumbers”, the way they did for “…Money”/”Sun King”. As it is, it’s not really one big medley, is it? It’s two shorter ones.

    Reply
  6. Jay

    I’m sure it’s John and I saw on another site he said “oh listen to that now” but it would be a strange accent on ‘now’ although that’s not to say it wasn’t said! Thanks :)

    Reply
  7. SgtPepper1909

    It sounds to me like “There’s the van now. Heh-heh-heh. Oh look out!” preceding the first verse.

    Reply
    • Cauan

      For me, it sounds like John Lennon saying “Please, come about”. I can’t hear nor “listen to that now” neither “we’ll listen to that now”, like someones say.

      Reply
    • Blue Shoes

      I’ve always thought it was “You can come out now.” That’s what it sounds like to my ears, anyway.

      Reply
  8. carlos

    How could any Beatles expert fan think it’s Paul playing the solo ? That is actually George with his Gibson Les Paul trying to play Clapton’s style. I have no doubt about it. Sorry, I’m 54 and I know what I’m talking about.

    Reply
  9. GeorgeTSimpson

    Amazing Song, Would have been very suitable song for the rooftop concert, but as of january it was much slower and more a ballad (like on anthology 3) anyway the lead guitar is amazing, it could be mccartney, he played very good guitar when abbey road was recorded (the end) but i think most say it’s harrison

    Reply
  10. FrankDialogue

    One thing about John, he was often wicked funny, re: Linda being the girl ‘who came in thru the bathroom window (protected by a silver spoon) & his comment to George regarding ‘All things must pass’.

    Reply
  11. Thuur

    Maybe it’s just me, I heard some indirect references to ‘Helter Skelter’ in the second verse.

    HS: You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer.

    She said she’d always been a dancer
    She worked at 15 clubs a day

    HS: Tell me, tell me, tell me, come on tell me the answer

    And though she thought I knew the answer
    Well I knew but I could not say.

    Again: Maybe it’s just me, but found it very interesting.

    Reply

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