Drive My Car

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"Drive My Car"
Drive My Car.jpg
Single release as the B-side to "Michelle"
Song by the Beatles
from the album Rubber Soul
PublishedNorthern Songs
Released3 December 1965
Recorded13 October 1965,
EMI Studios, London
GenreRock,[1] rhythm and blues
Length2:28
LabelParlophone, EMI
Songwriter(s)Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s)George Martin
Audio sample

"Drive My Car" is a song by 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. 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."[5] 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").[6] Lennon dismissed the lyrics as "crap" and "too soft".[7] They decided to rewrite the lyrics and after some difficulty – McCartney said it was "one of the stickiest" writing sessions[8] – they settled on the "drive my car" theme (which Bob Spitz credits to Lennon)[7] 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".[9][not in citation given]

Recording[edit]

"Drive My Car" was recorded on 13 October 1965 during the Beatles' first recording session to extend past midnight.[10] 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.[6] 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[11] 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.[6]

Personnel[edit]

According to Ian MacDonald:[6]

Covers[edit]

In 2016 Chris Cornell performed it in Beat Bugs.

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 c Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. pp. 269–70. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
  6. ^ a b c d MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). p. 166. ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
  7. ^ a b Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. p. 586. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.
  8. ^ The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. p. 194. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
  9. ^ Lawrence, Ben (2014-09-30). "Cilla, episode 3, review: does Cilla Black deserve Sheridan Smith's performance?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-04-21.
  10. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. p. 63. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
  11. ^ McCartney: Songwriter ISBN 0-491-03325-7 p. 185
  12. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (2012). Revolver: How the Beatles Reimagined Rock 'n' Roll. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. pp. 50, 74–75. ISBN 978-1-61713-009-0.
  13. ^ a b Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Drive My Car". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  14. ^ Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. p. 315. ISBN 0-19-514105-9.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Ames Carlin, Peter (2006). Catch a Wave: The Rise, Fall & Redemption of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson (illustrated ed.). Rodale. ISBN 1-59486-320-2.
  • O'Grady, Terence J. (1983). The Beatles, A Musical Evolution. Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-9453-0.

External links[edit]