Drive My Car - The Beatles
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"Drive My Car" - The Beatles (1965)
"Drive My Car" is considered one of The Beatles’ most closely arranged songs. It is a hard-rocking bluesy number with a hyper-thrust and equally sharp edge. The melody is focused on just one note and the harmony revolves around just one chord.
“If Paul had written a song, he’d learn all the parts and then come in the studio and say ‘Do this.’ He’s never give you the opportunity to come out with something. But on Drive My Car I just played the line, which is really like a lick off, Respect- you know- the Otis Redding version. I played the line on the guitar and Paul laid that with me on the bass.”
The song’s highlight is Ringo’s drumming where he applies the lesson he learned from various Motown tracks s to how to lay down a classic beat.
In singing the line “Asking a girl what she wanted to be,” The Beatles reveal a lyrical perspective that moves away from the more all-knowing pop ethos of earlier songs. In those compositions, they almost universally objectified the narrator’s lover and focused on how love or its dissolution makes him feel or, alternatively, how the narrator believes he can make her feel.
This song- by contrast, establishes a dialogue in which the female announces her dreams and desires- desires that include thinly-veiled sexual urges- but not necessarily love. No longer the central attraction, the male narrator functions now as a way station of sorts: “You can do something in between.”
Love, although still present, is now presented as an idealized state that the female may withhold at will. It begins to fade into background as the lover expresses her true design to be "famous and a star of the screen."
Beatle scholar Ken Womack wrote that the track demonstrates that the teen age girl The Beatles had been singing to in the past had been very quickly transforming into an everywoman, complete with an ego and agenda that refused to play second fiddle to any male.
The composition itself is loaded with sexual innuendo, as McCartney’s lyrics devise a provocative structure in which the woman and the man exchange power positions. In the early stages of the song she is looking for a literal and figurative vehicle in order to obtain wealth and celebrity- with the line—“I wanna be famous, a star of the screen.” However before the track is finished she thrusts herself in the position of power the driver’s seat: “I’ve found a driver and that’s a start.”
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