|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
Abbey Road 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-written Beatles songs it is credited to Lennon/McCartney. It is about a female parking attendant and the narrator's love for her.
The term "meter-maid" was largely unknown in the UK prior to the song's release. It is American slang for a female traffic warden, now officially known by the gender-neutral term parking attendant. According to some sources, the song emanates from when a female traffic warden named Meta Davis gave 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 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. The band later added lead vocal, bass, and a three-part backing vocal section. By 21 March, the final mono mix was completed and a month later, the stereo mix was done.
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. Mal Evans was sent to Abbey Road's lavatories to get toilet paper (which was stamped with the words, "PROPERTY OF EMI"). This was used to cover hair combs, which they blew through to sound like a kazoo orchestra.
- Paul McCartney – vocal, piano, bass, comb and paper
- John Lennon – backing vocal, vocal percussion, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and paper
- George Harrison – backing vocal, electric slide guitar, acoustic rhythm guitar, comb and paper
- Ringo Starr – drums, comb and paper
- George Martin – production, piano
- Geoff Emerick – engineer
Other versions [change]
- In 1976, Roy Wood of ELO and Wizzard recorded the song for the musical documentary All This and World War II. The song was recorded by Fats Domino.
- 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.
- Joan Osborne sings the song on the 2009 Cheap Trick release, Sgt. Pepper Live.
- Les Fradkin has an instrumental version on his 2007 release Pepper Front to Back.
- 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 1-844-13828-3.
- Mason, Nick (2004). Inside Out: A Personal History of Pink Floyd.
- Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.