The Beatles' videos with info

“Lovely Rita”

  • Published on 1967
  • Author: Lennon/McCartney
  • Track 10 on “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

What the Beatles said 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.”

Info about “Lovely Rita”

The term “meter-maid”, largely unknown in the UK before the song’s release, is American slang for a female traffic warden. According to some sources, “Lovely Rita” originates from when a female traffic warden named Meta Davies issued a parking ticket to McCartney outside Abbey Road Studios. Instead of becoming angry, he accepted it with good grace and expressed his feelings in song. When asked why he had called her “Rita”, McCartney replied, “Well, she looked like a Rita to me”.

In his comments to biographer Barry Miles, however, McCartney refuted the idea that this episode inspired the song: “It wasn’t based on a real person. I think it was more a question of coincidence … I didn’t think, ‘Wow, that woman gave me a ticket, I’ll write a song about her.’ Never happened like that.” Author John Winn writes that McCartney’s inspiration came from hearing the term “meter maid”, after which he began writing the song when visiting his brother Michael in Liverpool

According to a contemporary report on the recording of “Lovely Rita”, in Beat Instrumental magazine, the lyrics were completed by McCartney and John Lennon during the session. A reproduction of the manuscript shows only the opening chorus and verse in McCartney’s handwriting; the remaining lyrics appear in Beatles assistant Mal Evans’ handwriting, after he and Neil Aspinall joined the two songwriters in a corner of the studio.

Personnel

  • 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)

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