"Lovely Rita" is a song by The Beatles performed on the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, written and sung by Paul McCartney, although as with all McCartney or Lennon-written Beatles' songs, it is credited to Lennon–McCartney. It is about a female traffic warden and the narrator's affection for her.
The term "meter-maid" was largely unknown in the UK prior to the song's release. It is American slang for a female traffic warden, now officially known by the gender-neutral term parking attendant. According to some sources, the song emanates from when a female traffic warden named Meta Davies issued a parking ticket to McCartney outside Abbey Road Studios. Instead of becoming angry, he accepted it with good grace and expressed his feelings in song. When asked why he had called her "Rita", McCartney replied, "Well, she looked like a Rita to me".
Recording began on 23 February 1967. Using a four-track recorder, this first performance featured Harrison's guitar on track 1, Lennon's guitar on track 2, Ringo's drums on track 3, and McCartney's piano set on track 4. Once those tracks were "bounced," the band later added lead vocal, bass, and a three-part backing vocal section. A second piano, played by George Martin and processed electromechanically to wobble in and out of tune was added for the distinctive solo. By 21 March, the final mono mix was completed and a month later, the stereo mix was done.
The unusual noises during the song after the lines "and the bag across her shoulder/ made her look a little like a military man" were John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison playing comb and paper.