|Song by the Beatles from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Released||1 June 1967|
|Recorded||23 February and 21 March 1967
EMI Studios, London
"Lovely Rita" is a song by the Beatles performed on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, written and sung by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is about a female traffic warden and the narrator's affection for her.
The term "meter-maid", largely unknown in the UK prior to the song's release, is American slang for a female traffic warden. According to some sources, the song originates from when a female traffic warden named Meta Davies issued a parking ticket to McCartney outside Abbey Road Studios. Instead of becoming angry, he accepted it with good grace and expressed his feelings in song. When asked why he had called her "Rita," McCartney replied, "Well, she looked like a Rita to me".
Recording began on 23 February 1967. Using a four-track recorder, this first performance featured George Harrison's guitar on track 1, John Lennon's guitar on track 2, Ringo Starr's drums on track 3, and McCartney's piano set on track 4. Once those tracks were "bounced," the band later added lead vocal, bass, and a three-part backing vocal section featuring Harrison, Lennon and American session musician Shawn Phillips. Engineer Geoff Emerick has said that McCartney's vocal arrangement was directly inspired by Brian Wilson's work for the Beach Boys. A second piano, played by George Martin and processed electromechanically to wobble in and out of tune was added for the distinctive solo. By 21 March, the final mono mix was completed and a month later, the stereo mix was done. During mixdown the tape machine ran at 48.75 Hz instead of the standard 50 Hz, so that the pitch on the released recording is nearly a quarter-tone flat from the key of E in which the song was performed.
Pink Floyd watched the Beatles recording "Lovely Rita". Later, Pink Floyd used effects inspired by "Lovely Rita" for recording their instrumental composition "Pow R. Toc H." from their debut album, The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
According to some sources George Harrison played slide guitar on the recording. However, this has not been confirmed by either MacDonald nor Lewisohn.
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