The Beatles

Drive My Car

Composed by John Lennon / Paul McCartney

Song Review by

"Drive My Car" was one of the best numbers on the Beatles' Rubber Soul album, one which saw both their musical and lyrical horizons visibly opening. Although John Lennon was in general ahead of Paul McCartney in expanding his lyrics in more ambitious and experimental directions, this story-song was principally the work of McCartney, with some assistance from his contractual songwriting partner. The verse is based around a funky two-chord groove which ascends to a higher level at the very end, a suitable bedrock for a commanding McCartney hard rock vocal. Far more surprising is the chorus, with its tortuous jazzy key changes, a quality reinforced by the bursts of jazz piano that follow the first two lines. While initially the song seems like the standard macho boasting of some guy showing off his car, it transpires that actually the girl in the song is leading the narrator on by half-hinting that she'll let him be her chauffeur, and maybe be his lover too. That's a subtle, one might say almost O. Henry-like, slant that was most likely totally beyond the reach of the usual Californian hot-rod act, or most other pop and rock singers for that matter. The most ironic touch, however, was applied when the Beatles merrily sang "beep beep" at the end of the chorus' punch line: a nifty way of making nonsense words compliment the images and the sounds. An especially wiry guitar solo was a nice cap to the understated, faintly nutty satire of what was nonetheless a very good-natured tune. The best-known cover of "Drive My Car" -- not one of Lennon-McCartney's more frequently interpreted compositions -- was by jazz singer Bobby McFerrin in the 1980s.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Rubber Soul 1965 EMI 2:29
Yesterday...and Today 1966 Capitol
Nowhere Man [EP] 1966 Parlophone
1962-1966 1973 EMI 2:28
No Image 1976 Capitol 2:30
No Image 1980 Capitol 2:25
No Image 1992 Toshiba EMI
Compact Disc EP Collection 1992 Capitol
The Ultimate Box Set 1995 Capitol 2:30
EP Boxset 1999 Parlophone 2:30
Forever Gold 1999 Diamond Recordings 2:26
The Beatles: Stereo Box Set 2009 EMI 2:28
The Beatles USB 2009 Capitol 2:28
1962-1970 2010 EMI / Parlophone 2:28
The Beatles in Mono [Vinyl Box Set] 2014 Capitol
Golden Best 20, Vol. 2 Nihon Audio
The Beatles Christmas Pack Emd Int'l
The Beatles: 16 Superhits, Vol. 1 Dorado Records 2:27
blue highlight denotes editor's pick