- Published in 1967
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 10 on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band“
Beatles quotes about “Lovely Rita”
JOHN 1980: “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.”
PAUL 1984: “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.”
About “Lovely Rita”
“Lovely Rita” was written and sung by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is about a meter maid and the narrator’s love for her.
Before the song’s release, the term “meter-maid” was largely unknown in the UK. It refers to a female traffic warden. According to some sources, McCartney wrote “Lovely Rita” after a female traffic warden named Meta Davies issued him a parking ticket outside Abbey Road Studios. Rather than becoming angry, he accepted it with grace and expressed his feelings through song. In response to a question about why he’d called her “Rita”, McCartney replied, “Well, she looked like a Rita to me”.
McCartney, however, denied to biographer Barry Miles the notion that the song was inspired by this episode: “It wasn’t based on someone real.” 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.’ It never happened like that.” According to author John Winn, McCartney wrote the song when he visited his brother Michael in Liverpool after hearing the term “meter maid.”
Beat Instrumental magazine reported that McCartney and Lennon finished the lyrics during the recording of “Lovely Rita“. Reproductions of the manuscript show only the opening chorus and verse in McCartney’s handwriting; the remaining lyrics are written in Beatles assistant Mal Evans’ handwriting, after he and Neil Aspinall joined the two songwriters.
Meaning of “Lovely Rita”
The lyrics of “Lovely Rita” tell the story of a fictional encounter with a traffic warden, or “meter maid” as they were often called at the time. In the song, the narrator meets a woman named Rita who works as a parking attendant. He becomes infatuated with her and imagines a romantic relationship.
The song is characterized by its playful and whimsical tone. It combines light-hearted storytelling with Paul McCartney’s trademark melodic style. The lyrics convey a sense of innocent infatuation and the idea of finding beauty and charm in everyday situations.
Overall, “Lovely Rita” is a charming and catchy song that captures a moment of romantic fantasy inspired by a chance encounter with a parking attendant. It reflects the Beatles’ ability to infuse ordinary experiences with a touch of magic and imagination through their music.
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocal, piano, bass guitar, comb and tissue paper
- John Lennon – backing vocal, vocal percussion, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper
- George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper
- Ringo Starr – drums, comb and tissue paper
- George Martin – piano (solo)