"Ticket to Ride" is a song by the Beatles from their 1965 album, Help!. It was recorded 15 February 1965 and released two months later. It was also used in the 1965 film Help!, The Beatles' second film, and was included on the film's soundtrack. In 2004, this song was ranked number 394 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time".


 [hide*1 Composition


The song was written primarily by John Lennon (credited to Lennon–McCartney), with Paul McCartney's contributions in dispute. Lennon said that McCartney's contribution was limited to "the way Ringo played the drums".[2] McCartney said that was an incomplete description, and that "we sat down and wrote it together... give him 60 percent of it... we sat down together and worked on that for a full three-hour songwriting session."[3] This song was also the first song by the band in which McCartney was featured on lead guitar.

The song features a coda with a different tempo that extends the song's length past three minutes.[4] Lennon said this double-time section (with the lyric "My baby don't care") was one of his "favourite bits" in the song.[5]

Meaning of "ticket to ride"[edit]Edit

While the song lyrics describe a girl "riding out of the life of the narrator",[6] the inspiration of the title phrase is unclear. McCartney said it was "a British Railways ticket to the town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight",[3] and Lennon said it described cards indicating a clean bill of health carried by Hamburg prostitutes in the 1960s.[6] The Beatles played in Hamburg early in their musical career, and "ride/riding" was slang for having sex.


"Ticket to Ride" was released as a single on 9 April 1965 in the United Kingdom and 19 April in the United States with "Yes It Is" as its B-side,[7] topping the Hot 100 for a week in the US and the UK Singles Chart for three weeks in the UK. The American single's label declared that the song was from the United Artists release Eight Arms to Hold You. This was the original title of the Beatles' second movie; the title changed to Help! after the single was initially released.[8] The song was also included on the Help! album released on 6 August in the UK and on 13 August in the US.

The song was the third of six number one singles in a row on the American charts, a record at the time, along with "I Feel Fine", "Eight Days a Week", "Help!", "Yesterday", and "We Can Work It Out".[9]

When the song hit number 1 in the US, the Beatles became the fourth consecutive English group to hold down the top spot, after Freddie and the DreamersWayne Fontana and the Mindbenders, and Herman's Hermits. Thus, the Beatles broke a combined six-week run at the top for Mancunian groups.

Music video[edit]Edit

The Beatles filmed a music video, directed by Joe McGrath.[citation needed]

Critical response[edit]Edit

Music critics Richie Unterberger of Allmusic and Ian MacDonald both describe "Ticket to Ride" as an important milestone in the evolution of the musical style of the Beatles. Unterberger said, "the rhythm parts on 'Ticket to Ride' were harder and heavier than they had been on any previous Beatles outing, particularly in Ringo Starr's stormy stutters and rolls."[10] MacDonald described it as "psychologically deeper than anything the Beatles had recorded before ... extraordinary for its time — massive with chiming electric guitars, weighty rhythm, and rumbling floor tom-toms." He speculated that the song's heavy sound may have been influenced by Lennon's first encounter with LSD, the date of which is not precisely known. MacDonald also notes that the track uses the Indian basis of drone which might have influenced the Kinks' "See My Friends".[11]

Chart performance[edit]Edit

Chart (1965) Peak


Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[12] 8
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[13] 10
Canada (Canadian Singles Chart) 1
Germany (Media Control AG)[14] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40) 1
Norway (VG-lista)[15] 1
United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart) 1
US Billboard Hot 100 1


Personnel per MacDonald[16]
Personnel notes

The Carpenters' version[edit]Edit

"Ticket to Ride"
Single by The Carpenters
from the album Offering/Ticket to Ride
B-side "Your Wonderful Parade"
Released 1969
Format 7" single
Recorded 1969
Genre Pop
Length 4:10
Label A&M


Writer(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) Jack Daugherty

[disambiguation needed]

The Carpenters singles chronology
"Looking for Love*"


"Ticket to Ride"


"(They Long to Be) Close to You"


In 1969 it was released by the Carpenters on their album, Offering, and it became a minor hit. The recording used an arrangement by Richard Carpenter which drastically differed from the Beatles original, bringing the song into line with its breakup lyrics by rendering it as a bitter and sombre ballad. The song peaked at number 54 on the Billboard Hot 100 during a 12 week stay, and reached number 19 on the Adult Contemporary chart.[17]

Chart (1969) Peak


US Billboard Hot 100 54
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 19


Other appearances[edit]Edit

  • Many artists have covered "Ticket to Ride", including the Bee Gees (1966), Vanilla Fudge (1967), the 5th Dimension (1967 on The Magic Garden), Hüsker Dü (1986), White Sister (1986),Gwen Guthrie (1987), The Punkles, Asylum Party (1990), Kids Incorporated (1993), Echo & the Bunnymen (2001) Atomic Kitten (2007), and Chris Cornell on his 2011 solo acoustic tour.
  • In the Roary the Racing Car episode, "Funfair Roary," the song was played by Big Chris in the silverhatch funfair.
  • It is believed that an orchestral version of the song is barely audible in the fadeout at the very end of the Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon.[18][19] Initially this phenomenon was considered a mistake in remastering. However it is audible on high quality vinyl pressings from the time before the CD era as well. The Beatles and Pink Floyd both recorded at Abbey Road Studios. The very first CD pressings of TDSotM do not include this orchestral version - the sound technicians replaced the entire section after Gerry O'Driscoll's speech at the end of "Eclipse" with a copy of the sample taken from earlier in the album.
  • The song is referenced in "Artificial Energy", by the Byrds, the opening track of The Notorious Byrd Brothers from 1968.
  • The title of this song is referenced in the Red Dwarf episode "Tikka to Ride", in accordance with the theme of curry on which the storyline focuses.
  • In a Doctor Who serial titled "The Chase", the First Doctor and his companions Ian ChestertonBarbara Wright, and Vicki watch the Beatles perform "Ticket to Ride" on the Doctor's recently acquired time/space visualiser. The clip shown is about 15 seconds long and was of a mime performance the band gave on Top of the Pops shortly before the recording of theDoctor Who serial started. It is the only footage of this performance known to exist.
  • In 2011, the song was parodied by The Fringemunks to recap Fringe episode 3.13, "Immortality".[20]
Preceded by

"The Minute You're Gone" by Cliff Richard

UK number one single

22 April 1965 (three weeks)

Succeeded by

"King of the Road" by Roger Miller

Preceded by

"Mrs. Brown, You've Got a Lovely Daughter" by Herman's Hermits

Billboard Hot 100 number one single

22 May 1965 (one week)

Succeeded by

"Help Me, Rhonda" by The Beach Boys

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