Lovely Rita

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"Lovely Rita"
Lovely rita.jpg
Cover of the Northern Songs sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released26 May 1967[1]
Recorded23 February and 21 March 1967
StudioEMI Studios, London
Producer(s)George Martin

"Lovely Rita" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was written and sung by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is about a female traffic warden and the narrator's affection for her.[3]


The term "meter-maid", largely unknown in the UK prior to the song's release, is American slang for a female traffic warden. According to some sources, the song originates from when a female traffic warden named Meta Davies issued a parking ticket to McCartney outside Abbey Road Studios.[4][5] 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".[6]


Recording began on 23 February 1967. Using a four-track recorder, this first performance featured George Harrison's guitar on track 1, John Lennon's guitar on track 2, Ringo Starr's drums on track 3, and McCartney's piano set on track 4. Once those tracks were "bounced", the band later added lead vocals, bass, and a three-part backing vocal section. Engineer Geoff Emerick has said that McCartney's vocal arrangement was directly inspired by Brian Wilson's work for the Beach Boys.[7] A second piano, played by George Martin and processed electromechanically to wobble in and out of tune[citation needed] was added for the distinctive solo. By 21 March, the final mono mix was completed and a month later, the stereo mix was done.[5] During mixdown the tape machine ran at 48.75 Hz instead of the standard 50 Hz, so that the pitch on the released recording is nearly a quarter-tone flat from the key of E in which the song was performed.[8]

The unusual noises during the song after the lines "and the bag across her shoulder/ made her look a little like a military man" were band members playing comb and paper.[9]

Pink Floyd watched the Beatles recording "Lovely Rita".[10][11] Later, Pink Floyd used effects inspired by "Lovely Rita" for recording their instrumental composition "Pow R. Toc H." from their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[4]

American musician Shawn Phillips claims to have contributed backing vocals to this song,[12] but his name does not appear anywhere on the recording session log.

Live performances[edit]

Paul McCartney performed the song live for the first time by any Beatle on 4 May 2013 at the Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte, Brazil and throughout his 2013–2015 Out There! Tour.

Other versions[edit]


  1. ^ Everett 1999, p. 123. "In the United Kingdom Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band...was rush-released six days ahead of its official date, June 1."
  2. ^ Haugen 2004, p. 169.
  3. ^ Riley 2011, p. 354.
  4. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 239.
  5. ^ a b Everett, p. 113.
  6. ^ Clayson 2003.
  7. ^ Emerick, Geoff; Massey, Howard (2006). Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of the Beatles. Gotham Books. p. 171. ISBN 1-59240-179-1.
  8. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 100–101, 104.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 104.
  10. ^ Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 36. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
  11. ^ Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
  12. ^ "Shawn Phillips". Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band". Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2017.


External links[edit]