“Drive My Car” by The Beatles (1965)

Great Beatles tune that calls to mind a few things:

I was introduced to the music of the Beatles, deep dive style, by my 5th grade teacher Mr. Duffy. I think he taught social studies, but I can’t remember for sure. I do know that he might’ve been the first adult music geek I knew in real life (that wasn’t related to me). He had one of the first trivial pursuit games that was all music, and lent it to me (he might have gotten about half of it back). He also put Rubber Soul and Revolver on a cassette for me. I don’t remember how I was actually able to play that tape. I didn’t have a tape player of my own, and there was no way my parents were going to listen to The Beatles (mom: “we don’t play pop music in this house”.) I might’ve borrowed a classmate’s Walkman or snuck the tape into the stereo when my folks were out, but that cassette blew my 9-10 year old mind. I owe Mr. Duffy a great deal of gratitude for that one.

Actually, as I’m doing a bit of research, I’m realizing that “Drive My Car” might not have been on that cassette from Mr. Duffy, unless he was somehow able to get his hands on the British pressings of Rubber Soul. Beatles albums were released with different track listings in the U.S. and the UK, and “Drive My Car” made its first American appearance on a compilation album. Regardless, Duffy’s influence was enough for me to make the Beatles’ Rock & Roll Music compilation one of my two summer ’86 tape purchases, and “Drive My Car” was definitely on that. And if you’re interested, my other choice was Prince’s Parade album.

“Drive My Car” is a fun little song. Ringo is killing it on the drums, complete with liberal use of the cowbell. The literal translation of the lyrics; Paul McCartney’s hanging out with this girl who wants to be a huge celebrity. She’s teasing him, telling him that if he becomes her driver, she’ll love him (maybe). Um, apparently “drive my car” was a euphemism for sex. Which sort of changes the meaning of the song. Paul’s lady friend is asking him to give her a test drive. Oh, those randy Brits.

Related but unrelated: if I had a car, I would need someone to drive it. I didn’t learn how to drive until I was 32 (I’m 42 now), and even though I technically have a license, you don’t want me anywhere near your steering wheel. I have anxiety as a general rule, and operating a multi-ton instrument of death activates that anxiety something awful. The last time I was behind the wheel of a car was maybe two months after I got my license, when I had to drive a rental car (that my work superiors drove) half a mile back to the rental place. Nerve-wracking to the nth degree. I suppose that if I or someone I’m in a car with has an emergency, I can somehow get to a hospital. But unless something that unlikely happens to me (and let me stress, I hope to the heavens that it doesn’t), it’s gonna be the subway or Uber for me, Jack. Or I’ll walk, walk. Walk, walk. Yeah. 

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