GEORGE 1965: “We are always worried with each record. With ‘Ticket To Ride’ we were even more worried. There’s bound to be a time when we come in at 19 (on the charts). But this ‘number one’ business doesn’t seem to stop– great while it lasts– but now we’ll have to start all over again and people will start predicting funny things for the next one.”
JOHN 1970: “It’s a heavy record, and the drums are heavy too. That’s why I like it.”
JOHN 1980: “That was one of the earliest heavy-metal records made. Paul’s contribution was the way Ringo played the drums.”
PAUL circa-1994: “I think the interesting thing is the crazy ending– instead of ending like the previous verse, we changed the tempo. We picked up one of the lines, ‘My baby don’t care,’ but completely altered the melody. We almost invented the idea of a new bit of a song on the fade-out with this song… It was quite radical at the time.”
About “Ticket to Ride”
“Ticket to Ride” was written primarily by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. Issued as a single in April 1965, it became the Beatles’ seventh consecutive number 1 hit in the United Kingdom and their third consecutive number 1 hit (and eighth in total) in the United States, and similarly topped national charts in Canada, Australia and Ireland. The song was included on their 1965 album Help! Recorded at EMI Studios in London in February that year, the track marked a progression in the Beatles’ work through the incorporation of drone and harder-sounding instrumentation relative to their previous releases. Among music critics, Ian MacDonald describes the song as “psychologically deeper than anything the Beatles had recorded before” and “extraordinary for its time”.
“Ticket to Ride” appears in a sequence in the Beatles’ second feature film, Help!, directed by Richard Lester. Live performances by the band were included in the Beatles at Shea Stadium concert film, on the live album documenting their concerts at the Hollywood Bowl, and on the 1996 Anthology 2 box set. In 1969, “Ticket to Ride” was covered by the Carpenters, whose version peaked at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100.
While the lyrics describe a girl “riding out of the life of the narrator”, the inspiration of the title phrase is unclear, as is the meaning of the song. McCartney said the title referred to “a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight”, and Lennon said it described cards indicating a clean bill of health carried by Hamburg prostitutes in the 1960s. The Beatles played in Hamburg early in their musical career, and a “ride” was British slang for having sex. Gaby Whitehill and Andrew Trendall of Gigwise have interpreted the song to be about a woman leaving her boyfriend to become a prostitute.
Meaning of “Ticket to Ride”
The meaning of “Ticket to Ride” has been the subject of much interpretation and analysis. It’s widely believed that the song revolves around the end of a romantic relationship, with the phrase “ticket to ride” symbolizing the documents needed for someone to leave or end a relationship. The lyrics of the song convey a sense of emotional detachment and the realization that the relationship is coming to an end. Lines like “She’s got a ticket to ride, but she don’t care” and “She said that living with me is bringing her down” suggest that the protagonist is aware of his partner’s desire to move on.
The chorus, which repeats “My baby don’t care,” emphasizes the sense of indifference and distance that has grown between the two individuals. Some interpretations suggest that the song may be autobiographical, reflecting Lennon’s own feelings and experiences in relationships at the time.
“Ticket to Ride” is a poignant and musically engaging song that addresses the complexities and challenges of romantic relationships, especially when faced with the prospect of parting ways. It’s considered one of the iconic tracks in the Beatles’ discography.
- John Lennon – double-tracked lead vocal, rhythm guitar
- Paul McCartney – harmony vocal, bass guitar, lead guitar
- George Harrison – lead guitar (12-string), rhythm guitar
- Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, handclaps