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"Drive My Car"

Categories: Beatles songs

Maybe, baby, "Drive My Car" was one of the very last songs that Lennon/McCartney actually sat down together to co-pilot right from the starting line to the finish, as opposed to just welding together spare parts to form a whole, or lobbing in the odd line or instrumental interlude.

By all accounts, they really did have to work at it, too. "We struggled for hours", recalled Paul. An initial idea of 'golden rings' was warped into "Drive My Car" — maybe to distance it from the diamond ones of "Can't Buy Me Love" — and the new scenario finally allowed them to start right away. The role reversal of the lyric, with "that girl" securely in the driver's seat, is a splendid piece of black humour, steering it a million miles from the straight love song it had started life as, throbbing with sexual innuendo.

Working for peanuts is all very fine,
But I can show you a better time!

Paul's high-pitched guitar turns the key in the ignition, and a Ringo roll kicks the engine into life. He ceded his beloved cowbell to John for this one, and it can only be hoped that Mr Lennon saw fit to by him a new one afterwards, given the thrashing it got! The driving bassline was George's; with due "R-E-S-P-E-C-T" to the Otis track which it was lifted from — and to Paul, who told him how to play it. The piano part, presumably, Paul told himself how to play...

The raunchy rhythm and full-on dual (or is that 'duel'?) lead vocal which carry the tale through to its final twist made it a perfect opener for both the British Rubber Soul and the American Yesterday And Today albums. Its inclusion on The Red compilation and long-term use to herald BBC Radio 1's traffic news doubtless served to boost its popularity.

Beep-beep-mm-beep-beep, yeah!
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