Drive My Car

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"Drive My Car"
Drive my car beatles sheet music.PNG
Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Rubber Soul
PublishedNorthern Songs
Released3 December 1965
Recorded13 October 1965
StudioEMI Studios, London
GenreRock,[1] rhythm and blues
Length2:28
LabelParlophone, EMI
Songwriter(s)Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s)George Martin
Audio sample
"Drive My Car"

"Drive My Car" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles, written primarily by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions from John Lennon. It was first released on the British version of the band's 1965 album Rubber Soul; it also appeared in North America on the Yesterday and Today collection. The upbeat, lighthearted "Drive My Car" was used as the opening track for both albums. Over the years the song has been covered by many artists such as former Spice Girls member Melanie C and Lulu,[2] and the US band Breakfast Club, the latter which was featured in the 1988 film License to Drive, that was played over the opening credits.[3]

Lyrics[edit]

The song's male narrator is told by a woman that she is going to be a famous movie star, and she offers him the opportunity to be her chauffeur, adding: "and maybe I'll love you". When he objects that his "prospects [are] good", she retorts, "Working for peanuts is all very fine/But I can show you a better time." When he agrees to her proposal, she admits, "I got no car and it's breakin' my heart/But I've found a driver and that's a start."[4] According to McCartney, "'Drive my car' was an old blues euphemism for sex".[5] This expression was more common in the pre-automatic shift era of automobiles.

Composition[edit]

When McCartney arrived at Lennon's Weybridge home for a writing session, he had the tune in his head, but "the lyrics were disastrous, and I knew it."[6] The chorus began, "You can buy me diamond rings", a cliché they had used twice before, in "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Feel Fine" (as well as in the discarded "If You've Got Trouble").[7] Lennon dismissed the lyrics as "crap" and "too soft".[8] They decided to rewrite the lyrics and after some difficulty – McCartney said it was "one of the stickiest" writing sessions[9] – they settled on the "drive my car" theme (which Bob Spitz credits to Lennon)[8] and the rest of the lyrics flowed easily from that.[5]

It has been suggested that the song also refers to the relationship between Cilla Black and her then boyfriend Bobby Willis (whom she later married). Black was both a friend of the Beatles and a protegée of Brian Epstein. As the TV mini-series "Cilla" revealed, Willis was also offered a recording contract by Epstein, but Black objected, saying that she was the "star" and Willis was to be the road manager who would "drive my car".[10][failed verification]

Recording[edit]

"Drive My Car" was recorded on 13 October 1965 during the Beatles' first recording session to extend past midnight.[11] McCartney worked closely with George Harrison on the basic rhythm track, the pair playing, in author Ian MacDonald's description, "similar riffing lines on bass and low guitar", respectively, as per Harrison's suggestion. Harrison had been listening to Otis Redding's "Respect" at the time and, as a result of this influence, "Drive My Car" contains more bottom end than previous Beatles recordings, mimicking the bass-heavy sound captured in Redding's Memphis studio.[7] Author Robert Rodriguez describes the track as an "overt R&B workout" and a rare example of the Beatles demonstrating their admiration of Stax and Motown artists on the mostly folk rock-oriented Rubber Soul.[12]

McCartney sang the main vocal part, giving it an energetic push that journalist Richie Unterberger calls "a commanding … hard rock vocal".[13] The vocal rides above a simple two-chord funk riff in the verse, and a much more complex chorus containing piano-driven jazz-style key modulations.[13] McCartney overdubbed both the piano part and the slide guitar solo.[7] The song opens with a bluesy riff[14] played on two electric guitars, before the bass enters.[15] This opening section was also overdubbed onto the basic track. According to musicologist Walter Everett, it provides an ametrical and "off-balance" introduction, "with its blue notes presaging what is to come".[16]

Personnel[edit]

According to Ian MacDonald,[7] except where noted:

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hamelman, Steven L. (2004). But is it Garbage?: On Rock and Trash. University of Georgia Press. p. 11. ISBN 9780820325873.
  2. ^ Melanie C & Lulu - "Baby You Can Drive My Car"
  3. ^ https://www.discogs.com/Breakfast-Club-Drive-My-Car/master/428970
  4. ^ Aldridge, Alan, ed. (1990). The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin / Seymour Lawrence. p. 24. ISBN 0-395-59426-X.
  5. ^ a b Miles 1997, pp. 269–70.
  6. ^ Miles 1997, p. 269.
  7. ^ a b c d MacDonald 2005, p. 166.
  8. ^ a b Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 586. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.
  9. ^ The Beatles 2000, pp. 194.
  10. ^ Lawrence, Ben (30 September 2014). "Cilla, episode 3, review: does Cilla Black deserve Sheridan Smith's performance?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 April 2017.
  11. ^ Lewisohn 2005, p. 63.
  12. ^ Rodriguez 2012, pp. 50, 74–75.
  13. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Drive My Car". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  14. ^ Womack 2007, p. 115.
  15. ^ Riley 2002, p. 157.
  16. ^ Everett 2001, pp. 315–16.
  17. ^ a b Everett 2001, p. 315.

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]