The Best Of The Beatles
Drive My Car And
The Best Beatles' Songs With Cars
by Peter Levy
The Beatles are as iconic a band as there ever was. There will never be another John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Believe it or not, it’s been 50 years since The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. To join in the celebration of this musical masterpiece, I thought it fitting to sit back and listen to Beatles songs that are about, or that mention, cars. ‘Drive My Car’ is the most obvious. Can you name 6 other songs by The Beatles that mention cars?
[My Spotify list]
Did you know...
‘Drive My Car’ and 6 Other Songs By The Beatles About Cars
Drive My Car
‘Drive My Car’ was originally released only on the British version of Rubber Soul, but was eventually brought to the U.S. on the Yesterday and Today album. The song is about a woman who claims she’ll be famous one day and, in the meantime, she’ll allow you to drive her car, and someday, maybe, she’ll love you. It is reported that McCartney admitted that the term ‘drive my car’ was blues slang for sex.
Yes I’m gonna be a star,
Baby you can drive my car,
And maybe I’ll love you
Beep beep’m beep beep yeah!
‘Penny Lane’ was recorded during the Sgt. Pepper recordings, but wasn’t released in the U.S. on an LP until Magical Mystery Tour. Penny Lane is a real street in Liverpool near where Paul McCartney grew up. You can imagine a young Paul as he took in the sights and sounds of his childhood, only to grow up one day to put those memories to words and music. In the end, ‘Penny Lane’ became one of the most popular hits of all time, according to Rolling Stone magazine.
And little children laugh at him behind his back.
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain, very strange.
Don’t Pass Me By
‘Don’t Pass Me By’ is sung by Ringo, and was his first composition (and it took years to write!). It debuted at #1 in Denmark in 1969. It’s a rather dark song with ominous tones but has an upbeat tempo. There is speculation that some of the lyrics were in reference to Paul, (but that is not likely, and is probably related to the “Paul is dead” hoax that shook the world in late 1969).
I was so unfair.
You were in a car crash,
And you lost your hair.
A Day in the Life
One of the more famous songs in the Beatle catalog has to be ‘A Day in the Life.’ After all, it appears at #28 on the Rolling Stone list of greatest rock songs. ‘A Day in the Life’ was the last track to appear on the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album back in 1967 (remember, 50-year anniversary?). Any student of the song’s lyrics might surmise that they borrow heavily from actual headlines, and they’d be right; Lennon wrote the song based on stories he read in a newspaper.
He didn’t notice that the light had changed
‘If I Needed Someone’ may have been George’s first great song, but ‘Taxman’ was his first great rocker. Ironically, it is Paul playing lead guitar on lead guitarist George’s song! (Can you name at least two Beatles songs where Paul, not Ringo, is playing drums?)
‘Taxman’ is not a car song, but it mentions cars and, as best I can tell, it is the only George Beatle song that mentions cars—another irony from the Beatle who most loved cars.
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat.
If you get too cold I’ll tax the heat.
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet.
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
Everybody knows the acronym behind ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ is, you know, LSD? I think that bit of trivia was a prerequisite in college in the ’60s, wasn’t it? Of course, from what I’ve read, Paul always denied drug use of that sort, but come on, man, when you’re singing about marmalade skies and kaleidoscope eyes, I don’t think your feet are on solid ground. It’s more likely you’re eating marshmallow pies as you drift past the flowers. That said, John and the other Beatles have also consistently denied that the song is about LSD. And since John was very public about other Beatles songs being about LSD (‘She Said, She Said’) and other drugs (‘Dr. Robert,’ ‘Got to Get You Into My Life’), I believe him—the song is trippy, but the title is not an LSD shout-out.
P.S. The car line, “newspaper taxis,” whatever that is, was coined by Paul, although this is very much a John song.
Waiting to take you away.
Climb in the back with your head in the clouds
And you’re gone.
Two of US
I’m a Beatles junkie, I admit it. I love all Beatles songs. But this one is one of my favorites. Maybe it’s the sublime harmonies between John and Paul. Or maybe it’s that right during the most acrimonious Beatle-battle days, they sing together about the two of them. Paul insists that the song is about he and his wife Linda but, if you know the back story and you read the lyrics, it’s easy to believe the song is about Paul and John. In fact, it’s hard to believe it can be about anyone else.
I love taking Sunday drives and, when I do, I am often listening to this song.
On our way back home
Over to You
What are your favorite Beatles songs? Do any of the lyrics mention cars?