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- Posted on Sep 9th 2009 8:07AM by Rebecca Laurence
From 1965's 'Rubber Soul'
'Drive My Car' isn't about driving. Or cars. It's about sex, of course. After a near disastrous 1965 recording session at Abbey Road studios, Paul McCartney had a great melody but a pitiful lyric. At the11th hour, a breakthrough came, of which McCartney later said: "'Drive My Car' was an old blues euphemism for sex. So in the end, all is revealed. Black humour crept in and saved the day."
The Beatles were masters of comedy metaphors, witty lyricisms and silliness. Behind the superficial simplicity of 'Drive My Car' is a nudge and a wink -- each verse ends with a leading innuendo: "But you can do something in between/But I can show you a better time/But I found a driver and that's a start."
Fast forward 25 years and I was a kid poring over my parents' Beatles and Stones-heavy vinyl collection, innocently oblivious to this smutty subtext. 'Rubber Soul' (on which 'Drive My Car' appeared in the UK) was a particular favourite of mine. I lay on the rug singing along to 'Norwegian Wood,' 'Nowhere Man,' 'In My Life' and 'Michelle' (complete with a bad French accent), but 'Drive My Car,' which kickstarts the album, was the clear winner.
The rhythm section is awesome: A dynamic, bass-line riff, catchy cowbell and messy, syncopated piano chords power the song along underneath McCartney's typically rough, shouty vocal and wonderful squealing guitar solo (yes, it's him on lead guitar, not George). It's a song that defies you not to tap your toe and sing along.
Yeah, there's a naughty double entendre underlining it, but at its heart 'Drive My Car,' like so many of the Beatles' offerings, is simply and innocently a joyously great tune. Beep beep'm beep beep yeah!