Paul McCartney once opened up about how one of The Beatles’ songs was inspired by an American phrase they found funny. Being British, the members of The Beatles didn’t often understand American phrases and would joke about them all the time while traveling in the United States.
In his book called Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now, he opened up about the song “Lovely Rita,” which you can find on the album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967). He said, “‘Lovely Rita‘ was occasioned by me reading that in America they call traffic wardens ‘meter maids,’ and I thought, God, that’s so American!”
An American phrase is included in The Beatles’ “Lovely Rita”
He added, “Also to me ‘maid’ had sexual connotations, like a French maid or a milkmaid, there’s something good about ‘maid,’ and ‘meter’ made it a bit more official, like the meter in a cab; the meter is running, meter maid. Hearing that amused me. In England you hear those American phrases and they enter our vocabulary. We let them in because we’re amused, it’s not because we love them or want to use them, it’s just because it’s funny.”
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The lyrics read, “Lovely Rita meter maid, Nothing can come between us, When it gets dark I tow your heart away, Standing by a parking meter.” While the song has inspired many other artists to cover it including Cheap Trick and The Flaming Lips, it was never really a hit.
The song was not a single in the United States or the United Kingdom. Either way, it is truly interesting to see how it was inspired by a silly American phrase. Listen to the song “Lovely Rita” by The Beatles below: