The Beatles FAQ

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Who was 'lovely Rita, Meter Maid'?


Lovely Rita meter maid
Nothing can come between us
When it gets dark I tow your heart away
Standing by a parking meter
When I caught a glimpse of Rita
Filling in a ticket in her little white book
In a cap she looked much older
And the bag across her shoulder
Made her look a little like a military man
There can be few less likely sources of lyrical inspiration than returning to a car to find a official 'standing by a parking meter', ticket in hand. Unless your Paul McCartney, that is, and the traffic warden is young and female.


The incident occurred when McCartney returned to his Mini Cooper after parking it near the Abbey Road Studio where The Beatles were recording Sergeant Pepper.  McCartney responded to his notice of a parking fine with good humour, evidently deciding 'it'd be better to lover her', as the song puts it. After a brief, friendly exchange they both went on with their days.  who he claimed

Ian MacDonald names the lovely 'meter maid' as Meta Davies. McCartney later challenged this, declaring that did not know her name but felt that she  'looked like a Rita'.

A Meta who looked like a Rita standing by a parking metre?  Sounds like a wisely discarded early draft of the lyric.

John Lennon was not fond of the final version, either. He later dismissed it as one of his songwriting partners 'novelist songs ... boring stories about boring people - being postmen and secretaries and writing home.' Lennon increasingly wanted to focus on his favourite subject: John Winston Lennon. 'I like to write about me cos I know me.

But as Macdonald suggests, Lovely Rita, 'may be a silly song but {it's} imbued with an exuberant interest in life that lifts the spirits, dispersing self-absorption.'

Where did the word meter maid come from?

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