Drive My Car
|"Drive My Car"|
Single release as the B-side to "Michelle"
|Song by The Beatles from the album Rubber Soul and Yesterday and Today|
|Released||3 December 1965|
|Recorded||13 October 1965,
EMI Studios, London
"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 (singer).
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 that "working for peanuts is all very fine but I can show you a better time." When he agrees to her proposal, she admits that she does not have a car, "but [she's] found a driver and that's a start." According to McCartney, "'Drive my car' was an old blues euphemism for sex". This expression was more common in the pre-automatic shift era of automobiles.
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." 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"). Lennon dismissed the lyrics as "crap" and "too soft". They decided to rewrite the lyrics and after some difficulty – McCartney said it was "one of the stickiest" writing sessions – they settled on the "drive my car" theme (which Bob Spitz credits to Lennon) and the rest of the lyrics flowed easily from that.
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). Cilla was both a friend of the Beatles and a protegée of Brian Epstein. As the TV mini-series "Cilla" reveals, Bobby was also offered a recording contract by Epstein, but Cilla objected, saying she was the "star" and Bobby was to be the road manager who would "Drive My Car".
"Drive My Car" was recorded on 13 October 1965 during the Beatles' first recording session to extend past midnight. 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 in Redding's Memphis studio.
McCartney sang the main vocal part, giving it an energetic push that journalist Richie Unterberger calls "a commanding … hard rock vocal". 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. McCartney overdubbed both the piano part and the lead guitar solo.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, piano, lead guitar (solo)
- John Lennon – lead vocal
- George Harrison – harmony vocal, lead guitar, bass
- Ringo Starr – drums, cowbell, tambourine
- Hamelman 2004, p. 11.
- Melanie C & Lulu - "Baby You Can Drive My Car"
- Aldridge 1990, p. 24.
- Miles 1997, p. 270.
- Miles 1997, p. 269.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 166.
- Spitz 2005, p. 586.
- The Beatles 2000, p. 194.
- Lewisohn 1988, p. 63.
- Richie Unterberger 2009.
- 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.
- Aldridge, Alan, ed. (1990). The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics. Boston: Houghton Mifflin / Seymour Lawrence. ISBN 0-395-59426-X.
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
- Hamelman, Steven L. (2004). But is it Garbage?: On Rock and Trash. University of Georgia Press. ISBN 9780820325873.
- Lewisohn, Mark (1988). The Beatles Recording Sessions. New York: Harmony Books. ISBN 0-517-57066-1.
- MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3.
- Miles, Barry (1997). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt & Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.
- O'Grady, Terence J. (1983). The Beatles, a musical evolution. Twayne. ISBN 0-8057-9453-0.
- Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.
- Unterberger, Richie (2009). "Drive My Car". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
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