Register / Create an Account

Lovely Rita

From Beatles Wiki - Interviews, Music, Beatles Quotes

Jump to: navigation, search
"Lovely Rita"
Song by The Beatles
Album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released 1 June 1967
Recorded 23 February and 21 March 1967
Abbey Road Studios, London
Genre Rock, psychedelic rock
Length 2:42
Label Parlophone
Writer Lennon/McCartney
Producer George Martin
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band track listing
It was in the spring of 1967 that I ticketed Paul's car. He was on a meter showing excess, so I gave him a ten-shilling ticket. I had just put it on when he came along and took it off. He looked at it and, as he walked away, turned back and said, 'Is your name really Meta?' I told him it was, and we chatted for a few minutes. Then he said, 'That would be a good idea for a song, do you mind if I use it?' And that was that. Off he went.

—Meta Davies, St. John's Wood's first female ticket officer, from A Hard Day's Write by Steve Turner, 1994

'Lovely Rita' was occasioned by me reading that, in America, they call Traffic Wardens 'Meter Maids', and I thought, "God. That's so American!' Also, to me, 'Maid' had sexual connotations, like a French maid, or a milkmaid. There's something good about 'Maid', and 'Meter' made it a bit more special, like the meter in a cab. 'The meter is running, meter maid.' Hearing that amused me. In England, you hear those phrases and they enter our vocabulary. [...] 'Rita' was the only name I could think of that would rhyme with it so I started on that, Rita, meter maid, lovely Rita. [...] It wasn't based on a real person but, as often happened, it was claimed by a girl called Rita who was a traffic warden who apparently did give me a ticket [...] I think it was more of a coincidence. [...] I didn't think, Wow, that woman gave me a ticket, I'll write a song about her — never happened like that.

—Paul McCartney, from Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now by Barry Miles, 1998

That's Paul writing a pop song. He makes 'em up like a novelist. You hear lots of McCartney-influenced songs on the radio now. These stories about boring people doing boring things — being postmen and secretaries and writing home. I'm not interested in writing third-party songs. I like to write about me, 'cuz I know me.

—John Lennon, 1980

Yeah, that was mine. It was based on the American meter maid. And I got the idea to just... you know, so many of my things, like 'When I'm Sixty-Four' and those, they're tongue in cheek! But they get taken for real! And similarly with 'Lovely Rita' — the idea of a parking-meter attendant's being sexy was tongue in cheek at the time.

—Paul McCartney, 1984

John Lennon led the backing vocals brigade, augmented with very heavy tape echo which, in turn, encouraged a little juvenile microphone messing: moaning, sighing and screaming for the end of the song plus cha-cha-chas and even the percussive sound of comb and toilet paper! 'John always wanted repeat echo in his headphones, it gave him more excitement,' says Geoff Emerick. 'They'd finished doing the vocal on 'Lovely Rita' and he just started fooling around, using the echo as his inspiration.'

—Mark Lewisohn, The Beatles Recording Sessions, 1988

We still weren't finished with the lovely lady: she had a big hole in the middle of her where a solo ought to be. 'Big' George (that's me) was elected to play said solo. I wanted a rippling honky-tonk piano sound, and got this by slowing the tape speed down to 41-and-a-quarter cycles, thereby reducing the pitch by three semitones. [...] When we brought the solo back up to normal speed again it sounded quite fast, and pretty good. Even better, it still sounded like a piano and not like a harpsichord, as double-speed piano tends to do. I also altered the sound of my piano on that solo by putting a spot of 'wow' on it. A very bad recording of a piano has a wobbly, wowing quality on the notes, which is a sound often produced by old tape-recorders. All the tape machines at EMI were top-line, however. How to destroy them? I put a tiny piece of editing tape on the capstan, which lifted the tape about a millimetre clear as it went over the roller. This put a bit of strain on the tape, making it oscillate and stretch just that little bit as it went round past the head. The effect as to give the piano the old-fashioned honky-tonk sound I was looking for.

—George Martin, Summer of Love, 1994 & 2006


Interesting Web Resources

Personal tools