Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr en George Harrison Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics (c) Alan Aldrigde, The Beatles Illustrated Lyrics

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Ticket to Ride

Composer(s) : Lennon and McCartney
Year : 1965

Chords/Tabs: Ticket to Ride

Notes on "Ticket To Ride" (TTR)

KEY A Major


FORM Intro -> Verse -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Bridge -> Verse -> Outro (fadeout)


Style and Form

- After the folksy originals and nostalgic covers of the Beatles For Sale album, "Ticket To Ride" brings with it a measure of tight toughness that is most welcome to those wondering wither this erstwhile sharp edge of the group's attitude and style had fled following the Hard Day's Night album.

- The form is an ordinary two-bridge model with only one verse in the middle and no instrumental section. The special kicks here are to be found in the arrangement, especially in its exploitation of texture, rhythm, and harmonic dissonance.

Melody and Harmony

- Although the tune does not make a primarily bluesy impression, both the flat 7th and minor 3rd scale degrees do bear some melodic emphasis in the verse and bridge, respectively.

- Five of the seven chords that naturally occur in the home key as well as the flat-VII chord are used. No other more exotic chords show up nor is there any hint of modulation. This relatively bland harmonic diet is spiced up by the liberal use of free melodic dissonance and a certain suspense factor created by the exceedingly slow harmonic rhythm.

- In the dissonance department, Major ninths and seconds appear as though a leitmotif. Not only is there an unusual number of 9th chords in the song, but the bare interval is also found within the opening ostinato figure as well as in the repetitious vocal line which takes the song out at the end.


- The ostinato figure played by the solo 12-string guitar at the outset provides a great deal of unity to the song. As we've seen in other ostinato-driven songs of the Beatles, these recurring, motorized little figures seem to create the illusion of being there in the backing track more of the time than is actually so. For example, if the figure is apparent at both the beginning and end of a section, as long as there is something of sufficient interest to divert your attention in the middle, you will subconsciously "assume" that the figure has continued all the while, even though if you double check carefully you'll find that this is not so!

- The ostinato used here's not as distinctively melodic as the ostinati in either "What You're Doing" or "Day Tripper", but it does have a wrenchingly syncopated rhythm which carries all the through to the characteristic backbeat of the intro and first two verses:

> > > rhythmic emphasis 1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ostinato A E C#A B E > > >

- As a foil to all this, the tambourine is relegated to simply marking off the 2nd and 4th beats of virtually every measure in every verse.

- The vocal arrangement is fussier than we've seen in a while, with three alternating textures used in the verse, alone. The first half of the first phrase is sung by John, solo and single-tracked. Paul joins him above on funky counterpoint for the remainder of this phrase into the first half of the next one, and then leaves John exposed solo at the phrase's end. John then sings the third phrase double tracked with Paul joining him for a final touch of counterpoint at the end of the fourth phrase.



- The intro consists of a four-fold presentation of the ostinato figure over the I chord. The ensemble joins the solo guitar with a slow dramatic drumroll just before the downbeat of measure 3:

        |A      |-      |-      |-      |

- The parallel between this and "You Can't Do That" or "Day Tripper" is noteworthy. The accentuation here by the drumming of the syncopated rhythm inherent in the guitar ostinato is especially gripping and literally pulls you into the music.

- Say, is that a small touch of organ or harmonium used as a wash behind the solo guitar opening ? If so, does it continue throughout, just buried in the mix ? or perhaps, does it drop out quickly once the rest of the ensemble gets going ?


- The verse sixteen measures long, built out of four phrases equal in length. The section more logically splits right down the middle, with the first half providing an eight-measure expository section that harmonically opens up to the V chord, and the second eight measures providing a refrain-like ending which veers back toward the I:

        |A      |-      |-      |-      ||A     |-      |b      |E      |
A:       I                                               ii      V

        |f#     |D      |f#     |G      ||f#    |E      |A      |-      |
         vi      IV      vi      flat-VII vi     V       I

- The tune has an unusually high amount of rhythmic syncopation against the underlying beat (on "four-AND") as well as melodic dissonance against the underlying chords. I'll leave the majority of such details as an exercise for the reader though two examples here are noteworthy. First off, the melodic sustaining of the pitch E over the b chord in measure 7, on the second syllable of the word "away". Even better is the the climactic event over the G Major chord in measure 12, with John singing the pitches F#-E-C# on the stretched out word "ri-i-de", none of which is consonant with the chord below it.

- The three-way alternating pivot off the vi (f#) chord is one of the more novel harmonic gambits we've ever seen the Beatles pull; first to the IV, then to the flat-VII, and ultimately to the V, which under the circumstances is the most comfortingly "functional" of the three choices. It kind of reminds of the feeling one has in a chess game where you think you've been check-mated, but in a half-panic, on considering your several brute-force logical alternatives, you eventually discover with some relief that there is still at least one legal move available to you with which to continue the game.

- The vocal counterpoint at the beginning of the second phrase not only features their trademark parallel, open fourths, but Paul's initial stress on the pitch B provides a development of the added- ninth flavor we've described as inherent in the opening ostinato figure. Also note how John's initial stress on G natural here adds a subtle, partly hidden touch of the blues (I'm also very partial to the little rapid-fire 16th note run with which John ends the phrase):

        Paul:   B       B       A   G   A       A

        John:   G       G       E   D   E       EDC#


- The bridge is eight measures long and built out of a parallel-style repeat of the same four-measure phrase:

        |D      |-      |-      |E      |
	 IV                      V

- Bridge-ly contrast is provided by virtually every compositional parameter:

- A new guitar riff is used at the very end of the section to lead back into the next verse. Its melodic and rhythmic gesture are reminiscent, albeit not slavishly so, of the opening lick. The F# that marks the apex of this new figure makes for yet another added ninth chord here.

Verse Variants

- This song has a higher than average number of small twists applied to the arrangement of its later verse sections. As spontaneous as these details sound to us, I rather suspect that at least some of them were planned quite in advance.

- Here, in the third verse, John adds the word "yeah" to the end of the second line (in addition the one that repeatedly appears at the end of the first line), and he prefaces the third line with an "Oh" (or is it an "aw" ?); the latter variation being repeated in the fourth verse as well.

- Ringo provides an evenly beaten sixteenth note pattern as a fill between the second and third lines of the third verse in place of the plain roll he uses elsewhere in the song. In the final verse he plays in this spot no roll nor fill, but only a single whack "on FOUR!".

- One particular variant feature rises above the status of mere detail to assume structural, and perhaps subtextual significance. The hard syncopations mentioned above which so pungently characterize this song are actually found to be very much subdued starting right after the second verse. Granted, we already noted that the bridge itself dispenses with the syncopation as a matter of contrast. But look ahead -- in both of the final verses, Ringo's drumming sticks with the more evenly played eighth note patterns introduced in the bridge instead of returning to the wrenchingly syncopated pattern; this, in spite of the fact that the guitar ostinato (from which his syncopoated patterns were derived in the first place) does continue to make its own appearance. This could hardly have been accidental and I find myself pondering its motivation -- did they discover that the wrenching rhythm when carried all the way through was simply too much of a good thing, or is there some subtle poetry embedded in this change drumming?


- The question of what manner of poetry may be conveyed by a change of beat is further sharpened by what happens in this outro where the syncopation is loosened even further than it was for the bridge.

- This time, the effect is one of a sudden, free-wheeling, accelerating release of all tension. John would later use a similar effect at the end of "She Said She Said".

- Also here at the very end, the final vocal lick, which is otherwise double-tracked in unison, splits out for an instant to include one last example of a Major second sonority.


- "Ticket To Ride" was recorded after more than a two-month hiatus (11/27 to 2/15) in the Beatles attendance at Abbey Road. One gets used to the song's having been tucked away on the Help! album as the last song on "side 1", but in truth, it was the first song recorded after the Beatles For Sale album was released, and it appeared as the A-side of a single several months before the film was released.

- Once you get the chronology straight in your mind, it's hard to listen to the song without feeling as though you've crossed a frontier. Lewisohn himself comments on this, though his perspective is entirely on the recording process changes that kicked in at this point in time; i.e., the practice of perfecting the rhythm and backing track first before adding everything else on later as overdubs.

- I'm thinking more of style, though whatever compositional innovations are to be found in this song are not without their own irony to the extent that they represent at least as much a return to erstwhile values as much as they do a forward evolution. Yeah, this one looks at least as far ahead as "Day Tripper", but it equally so picks right up where "A Hard Days Night" left off, followed as it was by the anomalistic Beatles For Sale album.

Alan ( OR uunet!huxley!awp)

"I ride this train regularly; twice a week!" 082592#65

Copyright (c) 1992 by Alan W. Pollack
All Rights Reserved This article may be reproduced, retransmitted, redistributed and otherwise propagated at will, provided that this notice remains intact and in place.

Ook op Help!:

ChordsNotes On
Help! Help!
The Night Before The Night Before
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
I Need You I Need You
Another Girl Another Girl
You're Gonna Lose That Girl You're Gonna Lose That Girl
Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride
Act Naturally Act Naturally
It's Only Love It's Only Love
You Like Me Too Much You Like Me Too Much
Tell Me What You See Tell Me What You See
I've Just Seen a Face I've Just Seen a Face
Yesterday Yesterday
Dizzy Miss Lizzy Dizzy Miss Lizzy

Ook op 1962-1966:

ChordsNotes On
Love Me Do Love Me Do
Please Please Me Please Please Me
From Me to You From Me to You
She Loves You She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand I Want to Hold Your Hand
All My Loving All My Loving
Can't Buy Me Love Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night A Hard Day's Night
And I Love Her And I Love Her
Eight Days a Week Eight Days a Week
I Feel Fine I Feel Fine
Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride
Yesterday Yesterday
Help! Help!
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
We Can Work It Out We Can Work It Out
Day Tripper Day Tripper
Drive My Car Drive My Car
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Nowhere Man Nowhere Man
Michelle Michelle
In My Life In My Life
Girl Girl
Paperback Writer Paperback Writer
Eleanor Rigby Eleanor Rigby
Yellow Submarine Yellow Submarine

Ook op Live At The BBC:

ChordsNotes On
Beatle Greetings (speech) 
From Us To You 
Riding On A Bus (speech) 
I Got A Woman 
Too Much Monkey Business 
Keep Your Hands Off My Baby 
I'll Be On My Way 
Young Blood 
A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues 
Sure To Fall 
Some Other Guy 
Thank You Girl Thank You Girl
Sha La La La La! (speech) 
Baby It's You Baby It's You
That's All Right (mama) 
Soldier Of Love 
A Little Rhyme (speech) 
I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Cry (over You) 
Crying, Waiting, Hoping 
Dear Wack! (speech) 
You've Really Got a Hold on Me You've Really Got a Hold on Me
To Know Her Is To Love Her 
A Taste of Honey A Taste of Honey
Long Tall Sally Long Tall Sally
I Saw Her Standing There I Saw Her Standing There
The Honeymoon Song 
Johnny B. Goode 
Memphis, Tennessee 
Can't Buy Me Love Can't Buy Me Love
From Fluff To You (speech) 
Till There Was You Till There Was You
Crinsk Dee Night 
A Hard Day's Night A Hard Day's Night
Have A Banana! 
I Wanna Be Your Man I Wanna Be Your Man
Just A Rumour 
Roll over Beethoven Roll over Beethoven
All My Loving All My Loving
Things We Said Today Things We Said Today
She's a Woman She's a Woman
Sweet Little Sixteen 
Lonesome Tears In My Eyes 
Nothin' Shakin' 
The Hippy Hippy Shake 
Glad All Over 
I Just Don't Understand 
So How Come (no One Loves Me) 
I Feel Fine I Feel Fine
I'm a Loser I'm a Loser
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby
Rock & Roll Music Rock & Roll Music
Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride
Dizzy Miss Lizzy Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Kansas City-Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! [Medley] Kansas City-Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey! [Medley]
Set Fire To That Lot! 
Matchbox Matchbox
I Forgot To Remember To Forget 
Love These Goon Shows! 
I Got To Find My Baby 
Ooh! My Soul 
Ooh! My Arms 
Don't Ever Change 
Slow Down Slow Down
Honey Don't Honey Don't
Love Me Do Love Me Do

Ook op 1:

ChordsNotes On
Love Me Do Love Me Do
From Me to You From Me to You
She Loves You She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand I Want to Hold Your Hand
Can't Buy Me Love Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine I Feel Fine
Eight Days a Week Eight Days a Week
Ticket to Ride Ticket to Ride
Help! Help!
Yesterday Yesterday
Day Tripper Day Tripper
We Can Work It Out We Can Work It Out
Paperback Writer Paperback Writer
Yellow Submarine Yellow Submarine
Eleanor Rigby Eleanor Rigby
Penny Lane Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye Hello Goodbye
Lady Madonna Lady Madonna
Hey Jude Hey Jude
Get Back Get Back
The Ballad of John and Yoko The Ballad of John and Yoko
Something Something
Come Together Come Together
Let It Be Let It Be
The Long and Winding Road The Long and Winding Road

(c) 2024 Serge Girard