Written by: John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Released: April 9, 1965
Appears on: HELP!
Lead vocal: John & Paul
"Ticket To Ride" is just a brilliant song, mostly by John, and starts the Beatles' middle period. HELP!, Rubber Soul and Revolver, along with the single sides issued during that period all have a distinct and similar feel that is nowhere else in the Beatles' catalog. The fact is that these songs are more serious and personal than any of the songs before or after.
"Ticket To Ride" was released nearly five months before its LP appearance, giving listeners a great preview of what the Beatles were going to sound like until 1966. It was also their first single to go over three minutes. Can you imagine that? A single going over three minutes! In 1965, that was amazing. These are the days before "Good Vibrations", before FM radio and...definitely before "Hey Jude".
I think the song itself is also the Beatles' first 'heavy' song. Paul lays the foundation for his out-of-this-world bass playing that defines the latter half of his Beatle career. Ringo's drumming is brilliant and John & Paul's harmony is great. George plays his 12-string on the song, but he really gets stuck taking a back seat. Paul actually plays lead guitar for the first time on the song and he's great.
The song is an interesting love song where the singer is happy to get the girl out of his life and she's perfectly fine with it, too. It's not exactly the most positive subject for a single, but with the Beatles, always expect the unexpected.
Of course, the song was a #1 single on both sides of the Atlantic. When Capitol was assembling Beatles VI, they were actually interested in including the song, but since they knew it was going to be in HELP! it could only be released on the soundtrack for that film. Another bizarre note is that on the US 45, Capitol jumped the gun and printed on it that it was "taken from the film 'Eight Arms To Hold You'". This was just a working title for HELP! and this text was never taken off the 45, even on later pressings. In fact, I have a 1980's re-issue (the last time it was issued, I think) that has this under the song title!