Saturday, August 01, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day's Night is the third UK album by The Beatles, released on 10 July 1964 as the soundtrack to their first film of the same name on Parlophone in mono (catalogue number PMC 1230) and stereo (PCS 3058.) The album, their fourth U.S. release, was released on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records with a different tracklisting.

First all-original album

While showcasing the development of the band's songwriting talents, the album sticks to the basic rock and roll instrumentation and song format. It is notable as the first Beatles album to feature entirely original compositions (and the only one with a song catalogue credited entirely to Lennon/McCartney). The album contains some of their most famous songs, including the title track (with its distinct, instantly recognizable opening chord) and "Can't Buy Me Love", both being transatlantic number one singles for the band. The album and film are said to portray the classic image of the Beatles, as it was released at the height of Beatlemania.

George Harrison's resonant 12-string electric guitar leads were hugely influential; the movie helped persuade the Byrds, then folksingers, to plunge all out into rock & roll, and the Beatles (along with Bob Dylan) would be hugely influential on the folk-rock explosion of 1965. The Beatles' success, too, had begun to open the U.S. market for fellow Brits like the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Kinks, and inspired young American groups like the Beau Brummels, Lovin' Spoonful, and others to mount a challenge of their own with self-penned material that owed a great debt to Lennon-McCartney.

The title of the album (and of the film) is said to have been the accidental creation of drummer Ringo Starr, though the phrase is used in John Lennon's contemporary book In His Own Write and was reputedly used at least once by him during the Hamburg era.

Side one of the LP contains the songs from the movie soundtrack. Side two contains songs written for, but not included in, the film, although a 1980s re-release of the movie includes a prologue before the opening credits with "I'll Cry Instead" on the soundtrack. This is also the first The Beatles album to be recorded on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes. Despite this, the Compact Disc release of this album (catalogue number CDP 7 46437 2) is currently available only in mono, though many of the tracks appeared in stereo on CD for the first time with the release of the boxset The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 in 2004. "A Hard Day's Night" and "Can't Buy Me Love" both appear in stereo on the 1962–1966 compilation. "I Should Have Known Better" and "You Can't Do That" have yet to be released in true stereo on CD.

In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day's Night at number five in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.

On 26 February 1987, A Hard Day's Night was officially released on CD in mono, as were three other of The Beatles' albums, Please Please Me, With The Beatles, and Beatles for Sale. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the 13 track UK version of the album was also issued domestically in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987. Stereo mixes of "A Hard Day's Night", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "And I Love Her" are available on the 1962–1966 (The Red Album) CD. This album will finally be reissued in stereo on CD on 9 September 2009.

Track listing

All tracks credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Normally, Paul McCartney and Lennon would contribute a roughly equal number of songs to each album, but A Hard Day's Night is the one Beatles album on which Lennon's dominance as songwriter is by far the greater -- writing the majority of the 13 tracks on the album on his own. This is also one of two British Beatles albums, along with Let It Be, in which Starr does not sing lead vocal on any songs (although Starr sang the lead vocal on "Matchbox," a cover of a Carl Perkins song recorded contemporaneously with the songs on A Hard Day's Night and released in Britain on the Long Tall Sally EP).
Side one
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "A Hard Day's Night" Lennon and McCartney 2:34
2. "I Should Have Known Better" Lennon 2:46
3. "If I Fell" Lennon and McCartney 2:24
4. "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" Harrison 1:59
5. "And I Love Her" McCartney 2:33
6. "Tell Me Why" Lennon 2:12
7. "Can't Buy Me Love" McCartney 2:14

Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
8. "Any Time at All" Lennon 2:15
9. "I'll Cry Instead" Lennon 1:49
10. "Things We Said Today" McCartney 2:40
11. "When I Get Home" Lennon 2:20
12. "You Can't Do That" Lennon 2:39
13. "I'll Be Back" Lennon and McCartney 2:20

Sales chart positions

Year Chart Position
1965 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1

Released: 10 July 1964
Recorded: 29 January Р3 June 1964, Abbey Road Studios and Path̩ Marconi Studios
Genre: Rock and roll, beat music, Rock
Length: 30:30
Language: English
Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin

Singles from A Hard Day's Night

1. "Can't Buy Me Love"/"You Can't Do That"
Released: 16 March 1964
2. "A Hard Day's Night"/"Things We Said Today"
Released: 10 July 1964
3. "And I Love Her"
Released: 20 July 1964
4. "I'll Cry Instead"
Released: 20 July 1964

The American release

Soundtrack by The Beatles and George Martin
Released: 26 June 1964
Recorded: 1964, Abbey Road Studios
Genre: Beat
Length: 29:21
Language: English
Label: United Artists
Producer: George Martin

Singles from A Hard Day's Night

1. "A Hard Day's Night"/"I Should Have Known Better"
Released: 13 July 1964
2. "And I Love Her"/"If I Fell"
Released: 20 July 1964
3. "I'll Cry Instead"/"I'm Happy Just to Dance with You"
Released: 20 July 1964

The American version of the album was released on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records in mono (catalogue number UAL 3366) and stereo (UAS 6366) and contained the seven songs from the film: "A Hard Day's Night," "Tell Me Why," "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You," "I Should Have Known Better," "If I Fell," "And I Love Her," and "Can't Buy Me Love." It also features "I'll Cry Instead", which, although written for the film, was cut from it at the last minute. The American version also included four easy listening-styled instrumental versions of Lennon and McCartney songs by George Martin: "I Should Have Known Better", "And I Love Her", "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)", and "A Hard Day's Night", each of which later appeared on George Martin's own instrumental albums released by Capitol, United Artists and Parlophone. The album went to number one on the Billboard album chart, spending 14 weeks there, the longest run of any album that year.

After EMI acquired United Artists Records, this album was reissued on 17 August 1980 on the Capitol label, catalogue number SW 11921.

Whilst the stereo version of the album included the instrumental tracks in true stereo, the Beatles' own recordings appeared as mono recordings made from the stereo releases. True stereo versions of most of the songs appeared on the Capitol Records album Something New, also in 1964. "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Should Have Known Better" finally appeared in stereo versions on the Apple Records compilation Hey Jude in 1970. The song "A Hard Day's Night" did not appear in a stereo version in the U.S. until the LP Reel Music in March 1982. The American version has yet to be released officially on CD.

Revised track listing

All tracks credited to John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Side one

1. "A Hard Day's Night" – 2:33
2. "Tell Me Why" – 2:10
3. "I'll Cry Instead" – 1:48
4. "I Should Have Known Better" (instrumental, George Martin & His Orchestra) – 2:10
5. "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" – 1:59
6. "And I Love Her" (instrumental, George Martin & His Orchestra) – 3:46

Side two

7. "I Should Have Known Better" – 2:44
8. "If I Fell" – 2:22
9. "And I Love Her" – 2:29
10. "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)" (instrumental, George Martin & His Orchestra) – 3:10
11. "Can't Buy Me Love" – 2:12
12. "A Hard Day's Night" (instrumental, George Martin & His Orchestra) – 2:06


The Beatles

* George Harrison – lead guitar (six- and 12-string); acoustic and Spanish guitars; background vocals; lead vocals on "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You"; harmony vocal on "Things We Said Today" and claves on "And I Love Her"
* John Lennon – lead, harmony, and background vocals; rhythm and acoustic guitars; harmonica; lead guitar on "You Can't Do That"; piano on "Things We Said Today" (wiped in the mixing process but always audible on the record) and tambourine
* Paul McCartney – lead, harmony, and background vocals; bass guitar and piano; acoustic guitar on "I'll Be Back"
* Ringo Starr – drums, cowbell, maracas and tambourine

Additional musicians

* George Martin – piano


1 comment:

Don Newbury said...

I happened to watch 'A Hard Day's Night' on the IFC Channel the other day. I hadn't seen it in quite a while and I have to say it really is a funny movie. I was surprised at how racy some of the lines were for the time. One in particular: when Paul's grandfather is in the casino and there is a very busty blonde bending over his shoulder. He looks at her boobs and then her face and says "I'll bet you're a great swimmer." I cracked up laughing.