Beatles – Ticket To Ride

According to John Lennon, when the Beatles were in Hamburg, prostitutes had to have a piece of paper proving they have a clean bill of health…as in a Ticket To Ride. McCartney said it was “a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight.” Lennon’s description caught a 9-year-old boy’s imagination much more.

George Harrison came up with the way the riff was played. Ringo came up with a distinctive staccato drum pattern for this song based on the way George played it. He said a big part of his drumming style is being a left-handed drummer trying to play right-handed.

I remember this the most by it being used in the Beatles movie Help! in the scene where The Beatles ski… poorly. Copies of the original single released on Capitol Records say: “From the United Artists Release ‘Eight Arms To Hold You’,” which was the original working title of Help!

Mark My Words: Movie Review: The Beatles in Help! (1965)

The Beatles were one of the first groups to make music videos, which were done so they could promote their songs without showing up at TV stations. They made one for “Ticket To Ride” in a shoot where they did four other songs as well. All the footage was shot in the studio; this one saw the band performing in front of oversized tickets for trains and busses.

The song peaked at #1 in the Billboard 100, Canada and the UK in 1965.

Carl Palmer: “One of the most exciting, rhythmical patterns and parts and songs that I ever heard, which I thought was really big-time and had it all going is a track by The Beatles called ‘Ticket To Ride, the drum part on that I always thought was exceptional.”

From Songfacts

The Beatles taped a performance of this song that was broadcast on an episode of Ed Sullivan Show that aired September 12, 1965 (the last Ed Sullivan show broadcast in black and white). The Beatles recorded it prior to their Shea Stadium concert that took place August 15.

The Carpenters covered this in 1969 with the gender reversed to suit lead vocalist Karen Carpenter (“he’s got a ticket to ride…” Their mellow version was released as the duo’s first single and included on their first album, which was also called Ticket To Ride. Their rendition didn’t chart, but made its way onto plenty of light rock playlists.

In Stephen King’s 1977 novel The Shining, a supernatural Big Band ensemble plays a swing version of this at The Overlook Hotel.

Ticket To Ride

I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today, yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

She said that living with me
Is bringing her down yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s ridin’ so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice,
She ought to do right by me
I think I’m gonna be sad
I think it’s today yeah
The girl that’s driving me mad
Is going away, yeah

She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

I don’t know why she’s ridin’ so high
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
Before she gets to saying goodbye
She ought to think twice
She ought to do right by me
She said that living with me
Is bringing her down, yeah
For she would never be free
When I was around

Ah, she’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
She’s got a ticket to ride
But she don’t care

My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care
My baby don’t care, my baby don’t care

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Beatles – Ticket To Ride”

  1. a good song whatever inspired it! It should be easy enough for someone familiar with Germany and their laws to determine if there was such a thing for prostitutes back then…my guess is it was John just having fun foolin’ us a little. I think that even if some of us don’t like it, The Beatles impact on music ended up being nearly as much by being video pioneers as from their music alone, which is really saying something.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It indeed was true….about the prostitutes. I do think the title was inspired by that but the song is not about that….if that makes sense.
      It was smart of them to send a video on tour rather than them. It got to a point where they couldn’t satisfy everyone. by just touring….not enough time in the day.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love watching the old videos because our favorites are “forever young.” Their music, like them, is forever fresh. I can see where that would be a term for clean hookers but it doesn’t matter to me either way. I wonder if we could call having a covid vax card a ticket to live?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yea strange times we live in.
      When I think of a lot of 80s stars I grew up with…they are frozen in time when they were young. Cyndi Lauper and her peers…are all remembered by me through their videos from that time.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I never heard the Hamburg explanation before and I almost want to believe it is true! I never saw such a ticket – but I’ve never been to Hamburg! I could take you to the exact spot (except the building has been knocked down) where I first heard this song. It was in the school library (boarding school) where we would go on a rainy evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I get it. The lyrics to this song apparently are a lesson to all female music groupies who surrounded the Beatles in those frantic early days of their success.

    Like

  5. Max, how could I not love this tune!

    The rhythmic pattern definitely is intriguing and nicely showcases what a remarkable drummer Ringo is. He may not have the technical skills of a John Bonham or Ginger Baker, but he surely played some pretty inventive parts. “Ticket to Ride” is one of those tracks where even if you listen to the isolated drum part only you can still recognize the song – that’s pretty cool in my book!

    I also love the harmony singing, but of course, you have that on many other Beatles tunes as well. It also cracks me up seeing them goof around in that clip from Help!

    I approve of an all-around perfect choice! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well Ringo played for the song. Can you imagine Moon, Baker, or Bonham with the Beatles? I don’t think it would fit. He played what the song called for and nothing more or less…
      Oh yea I love the movie…I’ll be posting on the album probably this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well put, Max. Ringo strikes me as having true band spirit. It never seems to be about him, it’s always about the song.

        And, you’re 100% right, as great as Keith Moon, Ginger Baker and John Bonham were, they never would have fit with The Beatles – very different personalities!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a Beatles song that passed me by when I was younger. It’s less poppy than their earliest songs, and not as ‘strange’ (for want of a better word) as what they released from 1967 on… But it’s one you grow to appreciate, maybe. Like red wine…? And Ringo’s drumming here is spectacular.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Classic Beatles. It cant be Macca’s version of the lyrics, he was having a laugh, surely. Theres only 3 or 4 stops on the isle of wight train and running away to Ryde isnt going to get you anywhere unless your mum and dad live there and you live in a village or even smaller town than Ryde 🙂 john’s auntie mimi had a house overlooking Poole Harbour on a hillside, which he bought her – and you can see the Isle Of Wight from Poole coastline (where I live) so The Fabs probably visited her and Isle Of Wight in the 60s though 🙂

    Like

  8. I know I’m speaking to the choir, but man, the Beatles were amazing songwriters, artists, and humans. I love the Carpenters’ cover version too. Theirs is a totally different take on it, but it still sounds great, which is proof of a well-written song.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even after being a fan of them for so long…the songwriting still amazes me Jeff. Not just the quantity but the quality…and like you said…they can be covered and still sound good.
      I just saw The Rooftop Concert on IMAX tonight…it was breathtaking for this Beatle fan.

      Liked by 1 person

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