Cover of the Northern Songs sheet music
|Song by the Beatles|
|from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Released||26 May 1967|
|Recorded||23 February and 21 March 1967|
|Studio||EMI Studios, London|
"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.
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. 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 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. 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.
Pink Floyd watched the Beatles recording "Lovely Rita". 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.
- Paul McCartney – lead and backing vocal, bass guitar, 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, comb and tissue paper kazoo
- George Martin – producer, piano
- Geoff Emerick – engineer
- In 1976, Roy Wood of ELO and Wizzard recorded the song for the musical documentary All This and World War II.
- Joan Osborne sings the song on the 2009 Cheap Trick release, Sgt. Pepper Live.
- The Easy Star All-Stars recorded a version of the song with guest vocalists Bunny Rugs and U-Roy for their 2009 tribute to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band.
- 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."
- 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.
- "Shawn Phillips". Drmusic.org. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
- "Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band". www.easystar.com. Archived from the original on 23 February 2014. Retrieved 31 January 2017.
- Clayson, Alan (2003). Paul McCartney. Sanctuary Publishing Limited. ISBN 1-86074-482-6.
- Everett, Walter (1999). The Beatles as Musicians: Revolver Through the Anthology. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-512941-0.
- 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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