|Song by the Beatles from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Released||1 June 1967|
|Recorded||23 February and 21 March 1967
EMI Studios, London
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band track listing|
"Lovely Rita" is a song by the Beatles performed on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, written and sung by Paul McCartney, although as with all McCartney or Lennon-written Beatles' songs, it is credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is about a female traffic warden and the narrator's affection for her.
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 citation to McCartney outside Abbey Road Studios. 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".
Recording began on 23 February 1967. Using a four-track recorder, this first performance featured Harrison's guitar on track 1, Lennon's guitar on track 2, Ringo's drums on track 3, and McCartney's piano set on track 4. Once those tracks were "bounced," the band later added lead vocal, bass, and a three-part backing vocal section featuring George, John, and American session musician Shawn Phillips. Engineer Geoff Emerick noted McCartney's vocal arrangements were directly inspired by Brian Wilson's work for the Beach Boys. A second piano, played by George Martin and processed electromechanically to wobble in and out of tune was added for the distinctive solo. By 21 March, the final mono mix was completed and a month later, the stereo mix was done. 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.
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 John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison playing comb and paper.
Pink Floyd watched the Beatles recording "Lovely Rita". Later, Pink Floyd used effects inspired by "Lovely Rita" for recording their instrumental compostition, "Pow R. Toc H." from their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, bass, piano, comb and tissue paper kazoo
- John Lennon – backing vocal, vocal percussion, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper kazoo
- George Harrison – backing vocal, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and tissue paper kazoo
- Ringo Starr – drums
- Shawn Phillips - backing vocals
- George Martin – producer, piano
- Geoff Emerick – engineer
According to some sources George Harrison played slide guitar on the recording. However, this has not been confirmed by either MacDonald nor Lewisohn.
- Fats Domino included a cover of this song in his 1968 album Fats is back. He also released it as a single, with "Wait 'Till It Happens to You" on B side.
- In 1976, Roy Wood of ELO and Wizzard recorded the song for the musical documentary All This and World War II.
- In 2007, Travis recorded the song for It Was 40 Years Ago Today, a television film with contemporary acts recording the album's songs using the same studio, technicians and recording techniques as the original.
- Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his 2007 release Pepper Front to Back.
- Joan Osborne sings the song on the 2009 Cheap Trick release, Sgt. Pepper Live.
- Andy Timmons recorded an instrumental version of the song on his 2011 album "Andy Timmons Band Plays Sgt. Pepper".
- Gregory, Chris. Who Could Ask For More?: Reclaiming The Beatles. p. 178.
Lovely Rita sweeps us back into another psychedelic dreamworld.
- Haugen 2004, p. 169.
- Riley 2011, p. 354.
- MacDonald 2005, p. 239.
- Everett, p. 113.
- Clayson 2003.
- 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.
- Lewisohn 1988, pp. 100–101, 104.
- Lewisohn 1988, pp. 104.
- Manning, Toby (2006). The Rough Guide to Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Rough Guides. p. 36. ISBN 1-84353-575-0.
- Palacios, Julian (2010). Syd Barrett & Pink Floyd: Dark Globe (Rev. ed.). London: Plexus. pp. 198–199. ISBN 0-85965-431-1.
- Clayson, Alan (2003). Paul McCartney. Sanctuary Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-86074-482-6.
- Everett, Walter. The Beatles as Musicians.
- 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.
- Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.
- Haugen, David (2004). The Beatles. Greenhaven Press. ISBN 0-7377-2595-8.
- Cadogan, Patrick (2008). The Revolutionary Artist: John Lennon's Radical Years. ISBN 1-4357-1863-1.
- Julien, Oliver (2008). Sgt. Pepper and the Beatles: it was forty years ago today. Ashgate Publishing. ISBN 0-7546-6708-1.
- Unterberger, Ritchie. "Lovely Rita". AllMusic.
- Riley, Tim (2011). Lennon: The Man, the Myth, the Music – The Definitive Life. Random House. ISBN 1-4481-1319-9.
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