Day 57: “Drive My Car”

When was it recorded?  Oct. 13, 1965

When was it first released, and on which album?  Dec. 3, 1965 on “Rubber Soul”

Who wrote it?  McCartney (with noteworthy contribution from Lennon and Harrison)

Have I heard this song before?  Hell yeah

What my research dug up:

“Drive My Car” is the first song on “Rubber Soul,” my second-favorite Beatles album, so naturally I’ve heard this one many a time before.  There’s always something I don’t know though, so here’s what I had to learn about this tune.

Basically, Paul started writing the song on his own, then realized his drafted lyrics were awful.  He had John look at the number at their next co-writing session.

“The lyrics were disastrous and I knew it… This is one of the songs where John and I came nearest to having a dry session. The lyrics I brought in were something to do with golden rings, which is always fatal. ‘Rings’ is fatal anyway, ‘rings’ always rhymes with ‘things’ and I knew it was a bad idea. I came in and I said, ‘These aren’t good lyrics but it’s a good tune.’ The tune was nice, the tune was there, I’d done the melody. Well, we tried, and John couldn’t think of anything, and we tried and eventually it was, ‘Oh let’s leave it, let’s get off this one.’ ‘No, no. We can do it, we can do it.’ So we had a break, maybe had a cigarette or a cup of tea, then we came back to it, and somehow it became ‘drive my car’ instead of ‘gold-en rings’, and then it was wonderful because this nice tongue-in-cheek idea came and suddenly there was a girl there, the heroine of the story, and the story developed and had a little sting in the tail like Norwegian Wood had, which was ‘I actually haven’t got a car, but when I get one you’ll be a terrific chauffeur.’” — Paul McCartney (Barry Miles, Many Years From Now)

All the articles I read took great pains to point out “drive my car” is a euphemism for sex.  If you take one thing away from this song, that should be it.  That is all you need to know.

To quote Alan Pollack, “‘Drive My Car’ is one of the Beatles harder-rocking bluesy numbers, ranking way up there with the perhaps more celebrated ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and ‘Ticket To Ride’ for its hyper-thrust and equally sharp edge.”  According to the Beatles Bible, George is responsible for the rocking arrangement, having been inspired by American R&B musician Otis Redding’s “Respect” (released Aug. 1965).  We all know Aretha Franklin’s more famous cover, but here’s the original.

My sources make a very big deal of noting the recording for “Drive My Car” was the first Beatles’ recording session to “extend after midnight” (Wiki).  Paul plays both lead guitar and bass parts, but George doubles the bass part on his guitar.

Those harmonies, man.  That does it for me every time.

Sources

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drive_My_Car

http://www.allmusic.com/song/drive-my-car-mt0030423473

http://www.beatlesbible.com/songs/drive-my-car/

http://www.icce.rug.nl/~soundscapes/DATABASES/AWP/dmc.shtml

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