A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles' third album in the UK was entitled A Hard Day's Night, released by Parlophone on July 10, 1964 (and often referred to by its initials, AHDN). It was the sound track to their film of the same name. While side one contains the seven songs from the film, side two is a collection of six other Lennon-McCartney songs. The US release (June 26, 1964) by United Artists had a different track listing (for legal reasons), including instrumental versions by George Martin. It quickly rose to number one in Billboard's Hot 100. The CD release of the album in the US in 1987 reflects the UK version.
Though innovative in several ways, A Hard Day's Night followed the basic format developed in the first two albums: rock and roll rhythms, chords and harmonies, conventional instrumentation, and discernible song structures. Thus, we find ourselves still solidly in the Beatles' so-called "early period." Though released in 1964, the recordings were made in the first half of 1963.
The first 24 months after their EMI audition in the summer of 1962 were marked by an exhausting schedule of touring, writing, rehearsing, recording, performances and public relations appearances. The idea of adding a film production to all this might seem incomprehensible. However, the idea was to use the film medium to bring the group to its fans, relieving the pressure of having to make so many live tours and performances. In this, the Beatles were highly successful pioneers of the "music video" as it would come to be called. Eventually the removal of live performances from the schedule permitted them to be more experimental in the recording studio, laying down tracks that would be impossible to perform in public. Thus, A Hard Day's Night stands as a marker along the road to the color and experimentation that marked the "middle period," a year or so farther down the road. Rolling Stone placed it at 388 in its 2003 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
This album, and the film that went along with it, portray the classic sound and image of the Beatles in the heyday of "Beatlemania." The addition of a 12-string electric guitar by George Harrison does add a new touch to the musical mix. More influential still, this third album really was a showcase for the talents of Lennon and McCartney as composers and writers of original material. Lennon was primarily responsible for ten of the 13 songs on the album. For the first time no covers of other artists were included. George Harrison did not write a song for this album; neither does Ringo get to sing his usual lead vocal.
The song for which the album and film were named was derived from a "Ringo-ism" that had occurred the previous year, when working late into a long session. He started to say "it was a hard day's work," but noticed that it was already dark, and changed "work" to "night." Lennon and McCartney recalled the phrase, appreciating the humor and paradox of Ringo's wit, and adapted to a song.
Recording took place over several weeks. There was a short session on January 29, 1964 in EMI's Paris studios. Later, back at Abbey Road, the Beatles had recording sessions in February, March, April and June. Virtually all the tracks were recorded on four-track equipment, which gave the group considerable flexibility in adding voice overdubs and additional musical elements.
|Side A||Lead Vocals||Written by||Length|
|A Hard Day's Night||Lennon and McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:34|
|I Should Have Known Better||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:46|
|If I Fell||Lennon and McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:24|
|I'm Happy Just to Dance with You||Harrison||Lennon/McCartney||1:59|
|And I Love Her||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:33|
|Tell Me Why||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:12|
|Can't Buy Me Love||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:14|
|Any Time at All||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:15|
|I'll Cry Instead||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||1:49|
|Things We Said Today||McCartney||Lennon/McCartney||2:40|
|When I Get Home||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:20|
|You Can't Do That||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:39|
|I'll Be Back||Lennon||Lennon/McCartney||2:20|