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Why Paul McCartney Said The Beatles’ ‘Ticket to Ride’ Was ‘Radical at the Time’

Paul McCartney once said The Beatles’ “Ticket to Ride” was “quite radical at the time.” Notably, the tune was inspired by a place called Ryde. In addition, it may have paved the way for the success of The Byrds.

Paul McCartney said the fade-out of The Beatles’ ‘Ticket to Ride’ was innovative
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In the 1997 book Paul McCartney: May Years From Now, Paul discussed the ending of “Ticket to Ride.” “I think the interesting thing was a crazy ending: instead of ending like the previous verse, we changed the tempo,” he said. “We picked up one of the lines, ‘My baby don’t care,’ but completely altered the melody.

“We almost invented the idea of a new bit of a song on the fade-out with this song; it was something specially written for the fade-out, which was very effective, but it was quite cheeky, and we did a fast ending,” he added. “It was quite radical at the time.”

How a place called Ryde in England inspired The Beatles’ song
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Paul revealed the song was partly inspired by Ryde, a town on England’s Isle of Wright. Notably, Paul’s cousin Bett ran a pub on the isle. John and Paul performed together at one of her pubs under the name The Nerk Twins and visited Bett at Ryde.

Paul gave fans more insight into the writing of “Ticket to Ride.” “We sat down and wrote it together,” Paul recalled. “I remember talking about Ryde but it was John’s thing. We wrote the melody together; you can hear on the record, John’s taking the melody, and I’m singing harmony with it. We’d often work those out as we wrote them. Because John sang it, you might have to give him 60 % of it. It was pretty much a work job that turned out quite well.”

The other ways ‘Ticket to Ride’ was radical for the time
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According to Stereogum, “Ticket to Ride” was radical for reasons beyond its fade-out. Ringo Starr’s “stop-start drumming” was new to mainstream music. George Harrison incorporated a Rickenbacker riff into the song that paved the way for The Byrds and other psychedelic folk-rock bands. In addition, the droning bass on “Ticket to Ride” can be seen as a precursor to the Fab Four’s use of Indian classical elements in their later songs.

Whether “Ticket to Ride” is revolutionary or not, it’s still a great song. John and Paul perfectly captured the feeling of being resigned to one’s own heartbreak. The track also has an infectious groove. “Ticket to Ride” is a bridge between the bubblegum Beates and the band’s more experimental, darker music from their later years.
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“Ticket to Ride” is a great song — and Paul was proud of it.

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