SONG TITLE: DRIVE MY CAR
PERFORMER: THE BEATLES
SONGWRITER: JOHN LENNON / PAUL MCCARTNEY
YEAR OF RELEASE: 1965
COMMENTS: Motown Records was billed as "the sound of young America." Spiritually they stood for post-war working class optimism, for blacks and for whites. Not that it applied to absolutely every song by every artist, of course, but there was an overarching vision of rising expectations, a belief that basically everybody has a chance to be somebody. The same idea was being expressed twenty years later when Ronald Reagan said that it was "morning in America."
The Beatles fully understood and concurred with this optimistic world view. The upbeat precision crafted r&b of early Motown was the closest model for their American breakthrough hits, such as "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You." The Miracles could have sang those.
"Drive My Car" was the most classic result of the Beatles' Motown studies. For starters, the couple's ambition is expressed in terms of wanting to drive a car, which represents not just a desire for transportation, but an ideal of transcendence. The girl's confidence in signing up a driver well before she actually has a car reflects the high aim of her spiritual aspiration.
The record also reflects the influence of the luxury class Motown assembly line in the rhythmic drive, melodic craft and all around hook engineering. Ringo lays down a classic beat. He sometimes doesn't get proper credit for his contributions because he wasn't flashy, drawing attention to himself. Think of it in terms of the car metaphor, though: as the engine providing the power, his drums give a forceful but noiseless ride.
Following the metaphor through, you could see McCartney's bass as the transmission. He's right there on the bottom of the record, expertly shifting the gears up and down. Between them Paul and Ringo give a powerful ride, lots of horsepower running quiet and smooth -no strain.
The main tune was definitely machine tooled to the highest industry standards. In writing the song, Paul starts out with a strong song kernel, and works it out like the expert tradesman he is. He puts it through its paces, reinforcing and then playing against the basic beat at the end of the verses ("but I found a driver and that's a start."). He constructs a well developed and catchy tune that also reinforces the beat and still expresses the basic joyful emotional content.
Finally, the boys definitely gave up a luxury ride. Besides the unsurpassed quality of the basic melody and beat, they provided all the extra features you could ask for. Start with that tasty little lead guitar lick suspended out in front of the song, besides the solo. The close harmony vocals are to die for, at the end of the verses ("but you can do something in be-tween") and the end of the chorus ("beep-beep-a-beep-beep, yeah") especially. Don't forget the counter rhythm of the piano chords in the chorus, either. It's all there.
Like classic Motown, then, this record offers irrefutable proof that joy, optimism, and ambition show just as much spirituality, just as much soul, as singing about hard times and the blues.
BEATLES PICTURE COLLECTION - 100 pages PAGE 1 PAGE 2 PAGE 3 PAGE 4 PAGE 5 PAGE 6 PAGE 7 PAGE 8 PAGE 9 PAGE 10 PAGE 11 PAGE 12 PAGE 13 PAGE 14 PAGE 15 PAGE 16 PAGE 17 PAGE 18 PAGE 19 PAGE 20 PAGE 21 PAGE 22 PAGE 23 PAGE 24 PAGE 25 PAGE 26 PAGE 27 PAGE 28 PAGE 29 PAGE 30 PAGE 31 PAGE 32 PAGE 33 PAGE 34 PAGE 35 PAGE 36 PAGE 37 PAGE 38 PAGE 39 PAGE 40 PAGE 41 PAGE 42 PAGE 43 PAGE 44 PAGE 45 PAGE 46 PAGE 47 PAGE 48 PAGE 49 PAGE 50 PAGE 51 PAGE 52 PAGE 53 PAGE 54 PAGE 55 PAGE 56 PAGE 57 PAGE 58 PAGE 59 PAGE 60 PAGE 61 PAGE 62 PAGE 63 PAGE 64 PAGE 65 PAGE 66 PAGE 67 PAGE 68 PAGE 69 PAGE 70 PAGE 71 PAGE 72 PAGE 73 PAGE 74 PAGE 75 PAGE 76 PAGE 77 PAGE 78 PAGE 79 PAGE 80 PAGE 81 PAGE 82 PAGE 83 PAGE 84 PAGE 85 PAGE 86 PAGE 87 PAGE 88 PAGE 89 PAGE 90 PAGE 91 PAGE 92 PAGE 93 PAGE 94 PAGE 95 PAGE 96 PAGE 97 PAGE 98 PAGE 99 PAGE 100
The Beatles Are Masters of the Universe
Music Sustains the Soul
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