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The Beatles’ Lovely Rita: Paul McCartney’s Isolated Bass

“Lovely Rita”, the Paul McCartney-penned tune from the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s album featured a terrific, bouncy bass line.

The story goes that the tune was on a 4-track recorder with Harrison’s and Lennon’s guitars on tracks 1 and 2, Starr’s drums on track 3 and McCartney’s piano on track 4. Once those tracks were “bounced”, the McCartney’s lead vocal and bass were added, along with the three-part backing vocals. George Martin’s piano work was added in later.

Rumor has it that the members of Pink Floyd witnessed the recording of this tune.

Here’s McCartney’s bass line in all its glory, with a little bit of the other tracks bleeding through.

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Share your thoughts

Dubstock

Dubstock

This song IS the reason I play bass

    Tom S.

    Tom S.

    When I heard the Bass line for “Dear Prudence”, that was it for me. I wanted to play Bass,… With a Rickenbacker or a Violin Bass..

Ade

This bassline is so brilliant. McCartney is my first bass hero, and for good reason.

Patrick Clancy

Sgt. Pepper wasn’t done on a four track as the story states. It was done on two 2 tracks running in sync.

Hannelore Prollius

Hannelore Prollius

I love Paul and I always tried to hear his bass playing, but I never could.
Thanks for the experience, but I must say that I am quite disappointed.
I am very melody- orientated and I just can’t imagine how this fits to the melody and how in live -!performances Paul could manage to sing the melody and do his bass line at the same time.
The bass seems to have nothing to do with the melody and sounds pretty boring to me.

I guess I will have to listen to it over and over again, then maybe I will be able to open up my ears for its glory, but my first impression is nothing near to that!
SORRY, Paul! :)))

    Phil

    Phil

    By this time the Beatles were not playing live so Paul would never have had to play it and sing it simultaneously back then. He has added the song to his live shows in the last few years, but plays 12 or 6 string acoustic on it and sings. Someone else plays the bass. After listening to him perform songs such as “Silly Love Songs” and “Goodnight Tonight” playing bass and singing I’d have to think he would be more than capable. :)

    Keith McTaggart

    Keith McTaggart

    Interesting perspective. Being a melody man, I’m surprised that you can’t hear the melody in this bass line, the contents of which could largely be sung on their own in my opinion. Secondly, whether or not it is his best written bass line, I would argue that it is entirely perfect for the song. The way the walking 8th note pulse moves along, provides a marvelous energy, the notes weaving through the chords and melody beautifully. I especially have always loved the bass line tag in the outro. Weird and wonderful. Funky and very singable. Sometimes isolation takes things out of context. That could be what’s happening here for you.

steevo

steevo

Macca definitely in my top 5 of all time bassists. At a recent live studio show on the BBC I was impressed to see him singing/bass playing Mr. Kite. I’m sure he could perform this live with his bass if the notion took him.

Wouter Jaegers

That growl of a Rickenbacker, this song and “hey Bulldog” are good examples why Macca used his Ricky as his main studio bass. It has better intonation than his Hofner which enabled him to play those high up the neck riffs.

mojobass

mojobass

SIR PAUL … Say no more ! Others can try to emulate, but there is only one Paul McCartney.