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Friday, May 4, 2012

"Ticket to Ride"

The Beatles - "Ticket to Ride" (1965)

Big guitar sound, rolling drums shouted vocals and heavy bass. Proto-metal or just another hit for The Beatles?

This track has some interesting instrument choices for the most written about band of all time. Paul McCartney, usually the bass player, also added lead guitar to his repertoire for this number. George Harrison, usually the lead guitarist, played rhythm guitar on a 12 string guitar, as did principal songwriter on this song; John Lennon. Ringo Starr played cello and church organ, just kidding, Ringo still played drums. With Paul on lead, and George and John on 12 string guitars, it is no wonder that the song is such a loud, ringing change of pace. Add onto that the fact that John's lead vocals were double tracked and Paul sang vocals, so there were often three voices. Paul didn't forget to play bass on the song, in fact many people have written that the loud drone of the bass instead of a more standard walking bass meant that the song was even louder. Ringo does add to the volume by playing tambourine on a separate track from his stop and start drumming.

Before Dylan's 'six minute single' this song topped the charts at over three minutes. Dylan broke the mold in a big way, but the Beatles cracked it first. The Carpenters took the song back into the charts with a really down version, emphasizing the sadness of the lyrics and Richard Carpenter's piano. Hüsker Dü performed a very melodic and not punk version. Most creative version goes to Vanilla Fudge, whose heavy psychedelic version drips with organ and impassioned vocals.  It is a crying shame that not a single one of the songs of Vanilla Fudge was included in the book. The song also gives its name to a really fun board game. I've played it I don't know, a half dozen times, and have yet to win. But it's always fun.

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