In the studio
Recorded in an afternoon session on 15 February 1965, at the first session for what became the Help! album, Ticket To Ride marked a departure from The Beatles’ previous method of recording.
Although completed in just two takes, the first of which was a false start, Ticket To Ride was the first Beatles song to be built from the ground up. Whereas in the past they’d rehearsed and recorded what amounted to an ‘as-live’ performance of their songs, from February 1965 they adopted the practice of recording just the rhythm tracks, and then building from there.
As such, although only two takes of Ticket To Ride were needed, the song underwent a number of overdubs, revisions and experiments during the three hour session. They initially recorded drums and bass on track one of Abbey Road’s four track machines, then overdubbed rhythm and lead guitars (the latter played by Paul McCartney), John Lennon’s lead vocals, and then finally tambourine, guitars, backing vocals and handclaps onto track four.
Ticket To Ride was The Beatles’ first song to feature Paul McCartney on lead guitar. He played the lines, which can be heard in the fade-out, on an Epiphone Casino hollow-body electric guitar. Lennon played a Fender Stratocaster, and it is likely that George Harrison played a Rickenbacker 360 12-string.
Ticket To Ride was released on 9 April 1965 in the UK, and on 19 April in the US. Both editions were coupled with Yes It Is on the b-side.
The single topped the charts in many countries. It spent three weeks at the top of the UK charts, and one in the US.