Info about all Beatles' songs and albums

“Polythene Pam”

Listen to “Polythene Pam”
  • Published on 1969
  • Author: Lennon/McCartney
  • Track 12 on “Abbey Road

JOHN 1980: “That was me, remembering a little event with a woman in Jersey, and a man who was England’s answer to Allen Ginsberg, who gave us our first exposure… I met him when we were on tour and he took me back to his apartment, and I had a girl and he had one he wanted me to meet. He said she dressed up in polythene, which she did. She didn’t wear jackboots, and kilts, I just sort of elaborated. Perverted sex in a polythene bag– Just looking for something to write about.”

About “Polythene Pam”

“Polythene Pam” is the fourth song of Abbey Road‘s climactic side-two medley. The Beatles recorded the track in July 1969 as a continuous piece with “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window“, which follows it in the medley.

Lennon wrote “Polythene Pam” during the Beatles’ 1968 stay in India. While not formally recorded during the sessions for The Beatles (also known as “the White Album“), the song was recorded as a demo at George Harrison’s Kinfauns home before the sessions. The demo was later released on Anthology 3 and the 2018 super-deluxe edition of The Beatles. Lennon dismissed the song, along with “Mean Mr. Mustard“, in The Beatles Anthology as “a bit of crap I wrote in India”.

Polythene is the British variant of the word polyethylene, a plastic material. The name “Polythene Pam” came from the nickname of an early Beatles fan from the Cavern Club days, named Pat Hodgett (now Dawson), who would often eat polythene. She became known as “Polythene Pat”. She said in an interview, “I used to eat polythene all the time. I’d tie it in knots and then eat it. Sometimes I even used to burn it and then eat it when it got cold.”

On the album Abbey Road, the song is linked with the previous song “Mean Mr. Mustard” musically, as the two run together without pause. The two songs are also linked narratively, since “Mean Mr. Mustard” mentions that the title character Mustard has a sister named Pam. The line beginning “His sister Pam” in the song was originally “His sister Shirley”, but Lennon changed it to contribute to the continuity of the Abbey Road side two medley. The song “Her Majesty” was originally set between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “Polythene Pam”. “Polythene Pam” then segues into the following song, “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window

Meaning of “Polythene Pam”

Deciphering the exact meaning of “Polythene Pam” has been a subject of speculation and interpretation over the years.

One common perspective is that “Polythene Pam” is a fictitious character, a creation of Lennon’s whimsical imagination. The name itself, “Polythene Pam,” doesn’t hold a literal meaning and is rather an imaginative construct.

Another interpretation revolves around the notion that “Polythene Pam” might symbolize a person fixated on material possessions or caught up in a superficial, consumer-driven lifestyle. The use of the term “polythene,” a synthetic plastic material, could be metaphorical, representing a penchant for artificiality or a superficial way of living.

Yet another angle considers the song as an exploration of escapism and fantasy. “Polythene Pam” might represent an individual seeking refuge from the ordinary and mundane aspects of everyday life, yearning for a world of their own creation.

It’s important to acknowledge that, like many Beatles songs, “Polythene Pam” may not adhere to a clear, concrete meaning. Instead, it could be viewed as a playful exercise in wordplay and imaginative storytelling, showcasing the band’s remarkable creative range.

Additionally, its placement within the medley on the Abbey Road album, sandwiched between “Mean Mr. Mustard” and “She Came In Through the Bathroom Window,” adds to its enigmatic nature. This trio of songs forms a unique narrative within the album, inviting various interpretations.

Ultimately, the precise meaning of “Polythene Pam” remains known only to the songwriters, and they might have intentionally left room for individual interpretation. The song’s quirky lyrics and upbeat melody continue to captivate and intrigue fans of The Beatles, solidifying its place in the band’s iconic catalog.


  • John Lennon – lead vocal, twelve-string acoustic guitar
  • Paul McCartney – backing vocal, bass guitar
  • George Harrison – backing vocal, lead guitars
  • Ringo Starr – drums
  • uncredited – tambourine, maracas, cowbell, “whipcrack” percussion

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

One thought on ““Polythene Pam””