The Story Of “Ticket to Ride” By The Beatles
Beatles for the Ticket to Ride video - The Beatles / Youtube
One of the most recognizable tunes by the Fab Four, “Ticket To Ride” didn’t disappoint by being a number 1 hit in both the US and UK. The lulling and oddly-timed arrangement of the track perfectly complements the McCartney-Lennon harmonies, with George Harrison supplying an immaculate plucking pattern and Ringo Starr providing a simple back beat for the song. But how did it come into being?
Written by under the Lennon-McCartney banner, there has been some debate regarding it, as Lennon said McCartney’s contribution was limited, which was refuted by McCartney later as to having given almost 60% in the course of a three-hour songwriting session. Lennon claimed to have strummed the tune while on a skiing trip in Switzerland, and worked on it with McCartney as the two returned from their respective vacations.
While most people often interpret songs based on their personal understanding, McCartney says it references a British Railways ticket to as specific town named Ryde on the Isle of Wight, but Lennon said the song is all about a health card carried by prostitutes in Hamburg (where the band frequented in their earlier years) to prove they were safe and clean. Some dismiss this as another attempt at humor by Lennon, who had frequently poked fun and misled people when asked about song inspirations, take for example, “Eleanor Rigby” was about two queers, according to him.
There is some eastern influence on the track, with the sustained A chord ringing or droning, much like Indian music, and supports the arrangement that is referred to as “raga-like”. Lennon also claims it as at the first heavy metal song to be recorded, with the dark and heavy sound of the track attributed to Lennon and Harrison’s first encounter with LSD.