"Lovely Rita, meter maid" first gave Paul the wink from a photo which accompanied a newspaper story. She was actually on the point of retiring — hardly the flighty young thing she became for the song. But what the hell: it's all pure fiction — who in their right mind could possibly love a traffic warden
, after all?!!
We all have our own Lovely Ritas...
Macca obviously had a fine old time turning the archetypal hate-figure into an object of desire. Leaving aside the uniform fetish, some wonderful word-play describes his attempts to pick her up: inviting her "to take some tea" (tee-hee!), trying to win her over dinner, then nearly making it while "sitting on the sofa with a sister or two". Love the way those rasping paper-and-combs seem to mock his efforts! The toilet paper was EMI Property (and stamped as such). The combs? Not even Lewisohn seems to've discovered whose they were.
Talking of mocking, John Lennon was less than complimentary about the track: "These stories about boring people doing boring things..." Nevertheless, he did acknowledge the degree of his mate's influence on other writers of 'third-party pop songs'. His vocal backing — along with George — is impeccable, too: and, besides, he never told Big Mal not to get him
a sheet of corporate property...
Pop is the operative word here. "Rita" is
a lot of fun, and was clearly never intended to be anything more. It's a classic example of that very English pop eccentricity which was every bit as much of the flower-power scene as its hypno-rhythms and spaced-out sounds. And, naturally, the quality of its construction is unquestionable: from the bobbly bassline and plinky piano (GM joining Paul), along with GH's seductive slide, right through to the vocal percussion. Besides, that puffing and panting little chase sequence at the close is just the perfect set-up for the following number.Better believe it!