Ticket To Ride

Album: Help! (1965)
Charted: 1 1


  • According to A Hard Day's Write by Steve Turner, many Americans concluded the "ticket" was from British Railways, and "ride" was the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight. McCartney confessed to his biographer Barry Miles that they were partly right. Paul had a cousin who ran a bar in Ryde and he and John had visited them there. Paul later mentioned that although the song was primarily about a girl riding out of the life of the narrator, they were conscious of the potential for a double meaning.
  • Don Short, who traveled with the Beatles in the '60s, recalled that John coined the phrase "Ticket to Ride" for another meaning - The girls who worked the streets in Hamburg had to have a clean bill of health and the authorities would give them a card saying they were clean. Don later said that although he specifically recalls John telling him that, John could of been joking - you had to be careful with him like that. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Ant - Belleville, Canada, for above 2
  • John Lennon: "That was one of the earliest heavy-metal records made."
  • The brief but recognizable guitar solo was played by Paul McCartney, who was The Beatles bass player.
  • This was used in the Beatles movie Help! in the scene where The Beatles ski... poorly. Copies of the original singer released on Capitol Records say: "From The United Artists Release 'Eight Arms To Hold You'," which was the original working title of Help! >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France
  • This was the first Beatles song over 3-minutes long, which started a trend to longer songs. "You Won't See Me" from Rubber Soul was the next 3-minute song. Yesterday And Today and Revolver each had one, and Sgt. Pepper had four, including two over 5 minutes.

    Longer songs continued over the rest of their albums. Their longest was "I Want You (She's So Heavy)," followed by "Hey Jude ." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Dwight Rounds, author of The Year The Music Died, 1964-1972
  • Ringo came up with a distinctive staccato drum pattern for this song which he talked about quite often, sometimes mentioning that he's a left-handed drummer trying to play right-handed.

    According to the renown stickman Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake & Palmer fame, Ringo's work on this track is stellar. "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,'" said Palmer. "The drum part on that I always thought was exceptional."
  • 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.
  • 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 of the footage was shot in the studio; this one saw the band performing in front of oversized tickets for trains and busses.
  • In Stephen King's 1977 novel The Shining, a supernatural Big Band ensemble plays a swing version of this at The Overlook Hotel.

Comments: 66

  • Doug from NjThe genius of John Lennon in its simplest form
  • Hester from HoustonGeorge from Vancouver: "upbeat song"? The lyrics -- starting with "I think I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today" -- are definitely describing a very "down" situation for the narrator. The Carpenters version -- which I don't particularly love either -- just stripped away the exciting musicality that makes the Beatles version FEEL like a happier song than it really is.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaJohn in NY, they encouraged the analyzing of their songs & considering different meanings; this is why Jon refused to give meanings when interviewed. . . it's up to the listeners to find out what it means to them.
  • George from Vancouver, CanadaI'd never heard anyone covering a Beatles song wreck one until I heard Karen Carpenter doing this one. . .
    Seriously, is it that hard to put on a smile & sing an upbeat song in an upbeat way?
    Oh, maybe in changing it from "she" to "he" she was talking about a real story from her life, & it depressed her terribly?
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn February 8th 1970, the Carpenter's covered version of "Ticket to Ride"* entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #92; eventually it peaked at #54 and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
    The duo's next six releases peaked at no lower than #3 on the Top 100; "Close to You" {#1 for 4 weeks}, "We've Only Just Begun" {#2 for 4 weeks}, "For All We Know" {#3 for 1 week}, "Rainy Days & Mondays" {#2 for 2 weeks}, "Superstar" {#2 for 2 weeks}, and "Hurting Each Other" {#2 for 2 weeks}...
    Karen Anne Carpenter passed away on February 4th, 1983 at the young age of 32...
    May she R.I.P.
    * Ms. Carpenter was usually the duo's drummer but on "Ticket to Ride" she played electric bass.
  • Tim from Pgh, PaIsn't "Revolution 9" their longest song?
  • Zero from Nowhere, NjI love the drums in this! I own a drumset but am not very good (my main instrument is guitar). I would have never thought in a million years to put that drum pattern under those riffs and melodies, I'm more about doing a million fills and beating the sh!t out of the kit. Once I get my drums set up again and start playing, I'm really gonna think more about what I play and how it fits the song. I'm playing to.

    As for the first heavy metal song, I have to agree with the guy who said the Kinks did it with "You Really Got Me" (1964) that Ray Daives got that distorted sound from slashing his speakers with razors. I don't know about Mozart, I always thought Beethoven was darker and more "Metal" but he came on the scene after Mozart and I don't really listen to anough classical to make that judgement anyway! Peace!
  • Martin from Fresno, CaA great song. As someone pointed out it is a song with a happy melody but sad lyrics.
  • Barry from Amsterdam, NetherlandsThe third meaning of the text can best be explained by later great popsongs that elaborated on the same theme: "Roxanne" of The Police and "Who is it" of Michael Jackson. John was in love with one of the "birds" in Hamburg and he really had a crush on her but at the same time she was "riding high" as an escort girl regurlarly pleasing high society clients. She (his girlfriend) didn't care when she had "a ticket to ride" but John did, because he already felt sad just thinking of it.
  • Barry from Amsterdam, NetherlandsThe second layer underneath the first layer is, that mother Julia leaving John at her sister's place "so that she can be free and live the life she wants" in a way is comparable with an abortion: the mother not wanting her child. So the fact that pregnant teens etc. could have a late abortion in Ride is not a separate isolated meaning but confirming/emphasizing the first meaning of the lyrics in a dramatic way. The two meanings are confluent and strengthen each other in a dramatic way.
  • Barry from Amsterdam, NetherlandsEsspecially John was all about art, therefore the lyrics can mean different things for different people per definition. But in the case of Ticket to Ride the lyrics had multi-layered meaning for him self too. In fact they are all mentioned already, but not yet "linked". The 1st layer is about Julia leaving her son in order "to be free of him". The repeated "my baby don't care" has a double meaning: my baby is (indeed disguised) synonymous for his mammy ("she doesn't care about leaving him") but at the same time it is his mother telling HIM: my baby, don't care (about me leaving). So with the comma included (which you can't hear if you sing it) it is mother Julia speaking to her son John when she left him at Mimi's place, suddenly making the grammar correct too (don't instead of doesn't)
  • Jim from West Palm Beach, FlWatching this film clip, you can see where the Monkees TV scenes were lifted from.
  • Megan from Stevenson, AlEverytime I hear the guitar in the beginning...well, I'm hooked! Such a great song!!!
  • Jon from Nyc, NyA friend of mine OWNS The Beatles (Ringo's)/Brian Epstein's ols Rolls Royce from the '60s. The historic documentation with the car states that they wrote/got inspired in that car for the songs "Ticket To Ride" and "Baby You Can Drive My Car." The car is in New Orleans!
  • K from Nowhere, OnI've always wondered if this was about a girl dying. It just seems like one of those under-the-words things. I never know if it's about a girl dying, or just leaving.
  • Joseph from Garden City, NyI wouldn't call it the first heavy metal song, mabye the first metal song. Great song anyway.
  • Vicka from Katy, TxI am actully doing a speech on this song. I prefer the carpenters version but, that is just me. I believe that the meaning is the guy she is in love with is going to leave her and it will be today. "he could never be free when i was a round" basically means that she was keeping him from living life when they were together. "Don't know why he's ridin so high" means she doesn't understand why he is so happy about leaving her. "He ought to do right" means he needs to give her a reason on why he is leaving her before he goes. "Ticket to ride" probally means he has other opitions other than her. It is a break-up song and the piano sets her sad mood from her boyfriend leaving her.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moi really have no idea what this song is about. does anybody, with any beatles song? thats the way they were, especially john. its all about how the person listening interprets it. personally, i think they had a meaning to it we arent really meant to know. in the video on this page, john and paul keep glancing over at each other and grinning- it almost makes me think they were sharing some private joke.
  • Emily from Oklahoma City, OkThis song really hit me hard. I broke up with my boyfriend of 4 years and I had my stuff packed and I was ready to leave the country and never look back. Then I heard this song it was amazing.
  • Mo from East Liverpool, OhFirst, heavy metal? try Mozart, that was the first real heavy metal.

    Think about why an artist does not come out and explain the meaning of the lyrics: no meaning, embarrasment, legal issues, something else.

    John spoke about writing songs, and that they were for himself, and they they can apply to anyone's life. Many of the above are great thoughts behind the lyrics to this song.

    I think most of the beatle's song writings were quick writings, just like John's wit. Just like Double Fantasy.

    As for this song, maybe Sir Paul could share his thoughts on the matter.
  • Cannie from San Antonio, TxAndre, thanks for sharing your recollections of where you were when you first heard this back in the 60s. That's so cool. I was in grade school at the time and didn't listen to much radio, but I did play their records (bought by my big sister) over and over and over... singing along, of course. Yes, those were great days!
  • Liam from New York, Nyoldies.about.com/od/thebeatlessongs/a/tickettoride.htm

    The direct sonic thrust of this song's production later led Lennon to claim "Ticket To Ride" as one of the first heavy-metal songs ever made. The droning sound of the guitars marked the very first documented case of Indian tonal concepts in rock music (predating the Kinks' "See My Friends" by three months -- and the group's introduction to LSD by one month).
  • John from New York, NyThis is what John didn't want. He hated when people tried to analyze the Beatles' music. It doesn't matter what you think he was writing about, it matters how the song relates to you. He was just expressing himself, doing what he loved and was good at, and trying to make money by appealing to a mass audience. The fact is, it's an unbelievable song.
  • John from Fort Worth, Tx

    You share a wonderful observation, TheGreatWok from Longview, Texas (see far below). I know only a little of John Lennon's and Paul McCartney's early childhood and early adolescense yet what you contribute about John's inspiration for this song makes complete sense to me. To this day I believe that "The Beatles" will continue to be a part of our culture for generations time to come and that is good.

    John Martin, 46, Fort Worth, Texas
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI meant to say the 4th part, "...she's got a ticket to ri-i-ide, (single beat instead of multiple drum roll)...John Martin, 46, Texas
  • John from Fort Worth, TxI love this song. The drum beat draws me in as much as the music and lyrics and harmony which are fantastic.
    Has anyone noticed that the the beat in the third part toward the end, after the last "...she's got a ticket to ri-i-ide..." is a single beat rather than the triple beat heard the earlier parts? I can't help but think that it was done on purpose and not just random.
    John, 46
  • N.i. from Baltimore, MdFirst heavy metal record? What bs! There is nothing remotely metal-like about the song, even by 1965 standards. (The Kinks already had done "You Really Got Me" in 1964. That isn't exactly metal either, but a far better case could be made that it's a precursor to the genre.) My personal opinion is that Lennon was either kidding, or expressing his rivalry with McCartney, who did do one of the first heavy metal songs, "Helter Skelter" (which Lennon reportedly despised).
  • Guy from Woodinville, WaWho HASN'T seen Hard Day's Night, fool?!?! Best rock 'n roll movie made. The surreal stuff in there is light years ahead of its time. But it's the way it faithfully captures Beatlemania that is so remarkable. In any case, Ticket to Ride is from Help!, a mediocre movie at best. Great music, though!
  • Dan from , NjThe girl that's driving me mad is going away to Italy for a year...I love her so but she doesn't know....Empathy anyone?
  • Krissy from Boston, MaJohn, Y A Hard Day's Night? This song was in Help!. They r both good movies.
  • Suze from Wilmington, DeBeatles Rule
  • Taylor from Manchester, EnglandThis has been noted by others and also in the book Revolution In The Head that this song uses guitar drone that is related to the usage of Indian drone. The song was recorded months before The Kinks See My Friends which usually gets the credit for using mimicked Indian drones though later the Beatles would use the real Indian drone on Norwegian Wood.
  • Taylor from Manchester, EnglandThis has been noted by others but this song uses lot of guitar drone which does predates The Kinks See My Friends by more than two months and the drone is more related to the usage of Indian drone as explained in the book Revolution in The Head, someone should Wikepedia this information.
  • Andre from PurmerendTo me, this is the best ever Pop/Rock song made. It's so very catchy and it's got tremendous drive with fantastic vocal harmony's.
    It entered the Dutch Top-40 on 24-04-1965, stayed in it for 18 weeks and it reached the no. 1 spot.
    I first heard the song on a small transistor radio in Gibraltar in 1965. I was serving as a pro. 6 years with the Royal Dutch Navy and we were visiting that U.K. Port. It was a Spanish radio station and Spanish spoken, but I knew right away that it was The Beatles.
    Great memories!
  • Krissy from Boston, MaThis a awesome song. I love it. I love The Beatles.
  • Al from Baltimore, MdI heard very early on that this was a song about a girl deciding to go get an abortion. I also heard that the original title was "Ticket To Rye" but it was changed in defference to the American audience who wouldn't get the reference. If you listen closely, John seems to always sing, "She's got a ticket to Rye..." with no "D" being pronounced. There is an English town called Rye. Was it known as a place to get an abortion?
  • Russ from Seattle, WaPaul McCartney once said that they had completed the song Ticket to Ride in a three-hour session at Lennon?s home, and suggested that the title was a pun about traveling on the Isle of Wight ferry, which docked at the town of Ryde.
  • George from Yonkers, NyThe first of many slow droning rock songs the Beatles would be later famous for.
  • Joe from Montvale, NjThis song actually predates The Kinks See My Friends with the use of Indian style drone guitar effect though both songs don't feature an Indian instrument.
  • Mike from Edmonds, WaAccording to popular knowledge, John Lennon wrote this after seeing a young girl yell at a bus driver in London. "She had a ticket to ride, and the driver wouldn't let her on," John said. "So she climbed up the back of the bus and went to the very top... riding high on the bus."
  • Sal from Bardonia , NyI like this song a lot it has a very early use of drone before the Kinks and way before the Velvet Underground.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI myself (like many other Beatle fans) put most of the Beatles NON-single #1's at the top of my list; but this is one of those exceptions. The song is great and like lauren some place, DE I also get it stuck in my head.
  • Tim from Dalton, Maif you want to be technical the vietnam war started during the Kennedy Presidency
  • Tom Mccafferty from Burnaby, CanadaThe "Ticket To Ride" and "Yes It Is," single, reminds me of two things.

    1, The end of a year of Beatlemania in America.
    2, The beginning of the Vietnam War. That war started about the time that single was released.
  • Tom Mccafferty from Burnaby, CanadaTicket To Ride should have been on the American Beatles VI album. Not the Help album.

    With the release of Capitol Versions 2, I ripped and burned that way.

    Notice to Apple Corp and EMI, I am not going to sell it. I keep my CD-Rs to myself.
  • Tom Mccafferty from Burnaby, CanadaI prefur the Vanilla Fudge version of this song over the Carpenters.
  • Lauren from Some Place, DeThis song's awesome. I often walk around with it stuck in my head, as I do with most Beatles songs.
  • Mike from Germantown, MdI Love this song! Horribly Underrated, though.
  • Michael from Dundee, IlFrom what I have heard, all the theories on this board are wrong, with the theories about abortion being closest. My wifes father spent a good deal of time in Britain in the 60's, and evidently Ride is where there was a facility for unmarried pregnant women (girls) to go to when they were close to giving birth. This was a common practice back in those days due to the social stigma of a young woman having a child out of wedlock.
    So when they say "She's got a ticket to Ride, and she don't care" it puts a whole new meaning on the song.
  • Sum Sum from New Delhi, Indiahear the version by Carpenters. She didnt use any guitar, used piano instead..and its really appreciable.
  • Matt from Monroe, LaGreat guitar part in this song....Like nothing i have ever heard of the Beatles stuff...one of my favorites
  • Greg from Garden City, NyI love the older stuff just as much as the newer stuff, but this along with "We Can Work It OUt" are awesome.
  • Rick from San Juan, United StatesThe "Ticket To Ride" Capitol "swirl" single No. 5407 has printed on the label "From The United Artists Release 'Eight Arms To Hold You'", which was the original discarded title of their second motion picture "Help!"
  • Mauricio from Hanford, CaSong is awsome, for a 15-year old like me, this songs mens a lot
  • Eric from Covina, CaPaul wrote the lead guitar AND the drum pattern for this song.....whatever the meaning of the song is, the best interpretation is probably the one about his girlfriend being able to leave him, but she doesn't want to.
  • Alan from City, MiHey Mia, sorry but the lead vocal is the usual double tracked John with excellent harmony by Paul and John. Maybe a little George on the harmony.
  • Jordan from Ontario, Canadathe greatest song from one of the greatest albums, without a doubt
    hey liliana im 17
  • The Great Wok from Longview, TxWritten by John, I believe the song was about his mother, Julia, who had dumped John off at her older sisters house for him to live. I believe he makes reference to the day she intends on giving him to her sister Mimi..."I think I'm gonna be sad, I think it's today.....the girl that's driving me mad, is going away". I also believe that John Dykins was Julia's "ticket" to ride, who she ended up living with and having two daughters with him. As you give this some thought, consider the following lyrics "she said that living with me is bringing her down, she will never be free when I was around" and "before she get's to saying goodbye, she ought to think twice, she ought to do right by me"....and "she's got a ticket to ride and she don't care.....my baby don't care....my baby don't care". Hmmnn, sounds cries of a child getting dumped by his Mom to me. John cleverly disquises the meaning of the song by using the word "baby" rather than "mummy". This way, everyone believes the song is about a girlfriend. Nice try John.
  • Liliana from Huntley, Ilwow, Brian i never knew that. this song has an awesome rhythm. im 15, any other teens here?
  • Mia from Elk River, MnGreat background vocals by :gasp!: could it be...Paul? Killer job, there.
  • Brian from St. Louis, MoWhen the Beatles were younger and played in Hamburg, Germany there were lots of prostitutes. They had to carry a card issued by the health department that said they were free of STD's. John used to refer to these cards as "a ticket to ride". This comes from the 1971 interview with Jann Wenner.
  • Brandon from Seattle, WaAndrew Long Oolham told the Rolling Stones to do a song that was as creative as the Beatles and by then there was no song by the Beatles that the Rolling Stones could outdo, but after being locked in a room promised no lunch if a song was not thought of, Mick and Keith have came up with the hit, "This Could Be The Last Time" and the Beatles played with the riff for that song and did their first big hit, "Ticket to Ride".
  • Steve from Willmar, MnInteresting song-At one point John's first wife was left at the train station when the Beatles went on tour-she later commented that she knew it was over between them-
  • Mark from Hexham, EnglandSo where ecxactly is this town called "Ride" and does anyone out there know of anyone going out there for an abortion???? I think not. Is the song not about a girl deciding that she wants to break free from a relationship that was not good for her, and as a result is leaving our hero and is starting out on a new adventure??. (Do we have to always put 2003 values on a 60's tune?).
  • Stykman from Little River, ScThat was early Heavy Meteal
  • Ryan from San Francisco, CaI heard that this song was about a girl going to get an abortion. At the time it was written, girls used to go to a town called "Ride" to get this procedure done.
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