Drive My Car is a song written by Paul McCartney, with lyrical contributions by John Lennon and first released on the UK version of the 1965 album Rubber Soul; it also appeared in the US on the Yesterday and Today collection. The upbeat, lighthearted "Drive My Car" was used as the opening track for both albums.
The song's male narrator is told by a woman that she's going to be a famous movie star, and she offers him the opportunity to be her chauffeur, adding "and maybe I'll love you." When he objects that his "prospects are good", she retorts that "working for peanuts is all very fine/but I can show you a better time." When he agrees to her proposal, she admits that she doesn't have a car, "but [she's] found a driver and that's a start."
According to McCartney, "'Drive my car' was an old blues euphemism for sex". McCartney also described the song (along with "Norwegian Wood", also from Rubber Soul) as a "comedy number" in Melody Maker two days after the song's recording.
When McCartney arrived at Lennon's Weybridge home for a writing session, he had the tune in his head, but "The lyrics were disastrous, and I knew it." The chorus began, "You can buy me diamond rings", a cliche they'd used twice before in "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Feel Fine". Lennon dismissed the lyrics as "crap" and "too soft". They decided to rewrite the lyrics and after some difficulty—McCartney said it was "one of the stickiest" writing sessions—they settled on the "drive my car" theme (which Bob Spitz credits to Lennon) and the rest of the lyrics flowed easily from that.
"Drive My Car" was recorded at Abbey Road Studios on 13 October 1965 in The Beatles' first recording session to extend past midnight. McCartney, working closely with George Harrison, laid down the basic rhythm track, doubling similar riffing lines on bass and low guitar, as per Harrison's suggestion. Harrison had been listening to Otis Redding's "Respect" at the time and, as a result of its influence, "Drive My Car" has more bottom than any previous Beatles recording, mimicking the bass-heavy sound generated in Redding's Memphis studio.
McCartney played the lead guitar solo, although Harrison plays the guitar which doubles the bass throughout the song.
- Paul McCartney - Lead and Harmony Vocals, Bass Guitar (1964 Rickenbacker 4001), Lead Guitar (Epiphone 230TD Casino), Piano
- John Lennon - Harmony Vocals, Tambourine
- George Harrison - Rhythm Guitar (Fender Stratocaster), Harmony Vocals
- Ringo Starr - Drums, Cowbell
- Former Spice Girls member Melanie Chisholm and Lulu sang "Drive My Car" on the TV Show "Red Alert" in 2007.
- This song was one of four that McCartney performed live on the Super Bowl XXXIX half-time show, and one of the five performed at the Live 8 Concert in London, with George Michael adding backing vocals.
- Samples from this song feature heavily in the track "Drive My Car/The Word/What You're Doing" track on the Love soundtrack album released in November 2006.
- The song was covered by the band Breakfast Club and featured in the movie License to Drive.
- The song was covered by Bobby McFerrin on the album Simple Pleasures.
- The Punkles did a punk cover of this song on their second album, Punk!.
- The song was covered by The Hot Rats and appeared on a Hugo Boss advertisement featuring Sienna Miller.
- Bret Michaels did a cover of this song with assistance from McCartney and Starr.
- The "Beep Beep Beep Beep Yeah!" portion of the song has been used by oldies and classic hits stations as the traffic update intro in recent decades.
- The Jonas Brothers played this song in the event that President Barack Obama threw to honor McCartney with the Gershwin Prize for his contributions to popular music. Subsequently, with permission from McCartney himself, they went on to perform it as their cover song on their 2010 World Tour.
- In Australia, this song was used on an NRMA advertisement.
- Dutch TV show 'Ranking the Cars' uses the chorus and the "Beep Beep Beep Beep Yeah" part as its intro song