When was it recorded? Jul. 25-30, 1969
When was it first released, and on which album? Sept. 26, 1969 on “Abbey Road”
Who wrote it? McCartney
Have I heard this song before? Yes
What my research dug up:
“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 (David Sheff, All We Are Saying)
Somebody did indeed come in through the bathroom window, but there are two different stories regarding who, what, where, when, and why. According to Mike Pinder of the English rock band the Moody Blues, “a groupie climbed through an open bathroom window and spent the night with band member Ray Thomas” (Beatles Bible). Pinder and Thomas then told Paul McCartney this story, and, as he happened to have his guitar handy, Paul wrote the opening lines of “Bathroom Window” then and there.
The story I like better though involves a group of Beatles fangirls who broke into Paul’s home multiple times.
“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 (Steve Turner, A Hard Day’s Write)
According to the Beatles Bible, “Some of the [Apple] 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.” Paul’s neighbors finally noticed the break-ins and called to inform him of the situation, inspiring the “Bathroom Window” lyric “Sunday’s on the phone to Monday, Tuesday’s on the phone to me” (BB).
As Alan Pollack noted, “The backing track is essentially identical to that of ‘Polythene Pam,’ no surprise since the two tracks were recorded in a single long take, though unlike ‘Polythene Pam,’ this one has no sections that are completely instrumental. The acoustic guitar is heard much less prominently here than on ‘Polythene Pam,’ but still maintains at least the status of what in cooking you’d call a secret ingredient.”
On Jan. 22, 1969, the Beatles recorded an early version of “Bathroom Window” during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. This track later appeared on “Anthology 3.”
(How cool is that compared to the finished product?)
For the “Abbey Road” version, the Beatles first recorded 39 takes of the rhythm track on Jul. 25, 1969. As mentioned on Day 194, “Bathroom Window” was recorded as one song with “Polythene Pam.” Between the two songs, however, you can hear John say, “Well listen to that Mal… heh-heh” and “Oh, look out!” regarding the tempo change.
Quoth the Beatles Bible, “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.”
…aaaaand now one more time combined with “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam.”