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A Hard Day's Night

Album Details

 

   

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.[1]

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 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. Three tracks from the album were issued in stereo on the 19621966 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.[2] In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[3]

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 19621966 (The Red Album) CD. This album will finally be reissued in stereo on CD on 9 September 2009.[4]

A Hard Day's Night by the Beatles (side one) - Parlophone yellow and black label

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

The American release

A Hard Day's Night
Soundtrack by The Beatles and George Martin
Released 26 June 1964
Recorded 1964, Abbey Road Studios
Genre Beat
Length 29:29
Language English
Label United Artists
Producer George Martin
Professional reviews
The Beatles American chronology
The Beatles' Second Album
(1964)
A Hard Day's Night
(1964)
Something New
(1964)
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.[5]

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.

Tracks
  1. A Hard Day's Night (2:32)
    Recorded: April 16, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - double-tracked lead vocal, rhythm guitar
    Paul McCartney - bass guitar, harmony vocal
    George Harrison - 12-string lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
    George Martin - piano
  2. Tell Me Why (2:10)
    Recorded: February 27, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - lead vocal, rhythm guitar
    Paul McCartney - bass guitar, harmony vocal
    George Harrison - lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
  3. I'll Cry Instead (2:06)
    Recorded: February 27, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - lead vocal, rhythm guitar
    Paul McCartney - bass guitar, harmony vocal
    George Harrison - lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
  4. I Should Have Known Better (2:18)
    Performed by George Martin & Orchestra.
  5. I'm Happy Just to Dance With You (1:58)
    Recorded: March 1, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - rhythm guitar, background vocal
    Paul McCartney - bass guitar, background vocal
    George Harrison - lead vocal, lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums, loose-skinned Arabian bongo
  6. And I Love Her (3:44)
    Performed by George Martin & Orchestra.
  7. I Should Have Known Better (2:45)
    Recorded: February 25-26, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - double-tracked lead vocal, acoustic guitar, harmonica
    Paul McCartney - bass guitar
    George Harrison - 12-string lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
  8. If I Fell (2:22)
    Recorded: February 27, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - lead vocal, acoustic guitar
    Paul McCartney - lead vocal, bass guitar
    George Harrison - lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
  9. And I Love Her (2:31)
    Recorded: February 25-27, 1964 at Abbey Road, London, England
    John Lennon - acoustic guitar
    Paul McCartney - double-tracked lead vocal, acoustic guitar
    George Harrison - acoustic guitar solo, claves
    Ringo Starr - bongos
  10. Ringo's Theme (This Boy) (3:08)
    Performed by George Martin & Orchestra.
  11. Can't Buy Me Love (2:15)
    Recorded: January 29, 1964 at Path頍arconi Studios, Paris, France
    John Lennon - rhythm guitar
    Paul McCartney - lead vocal, bass guitar
    George Harrison - 12-string lead guitar
    Ringo Starr - drums
  12. A Hard Day's Night (2:03)
    Performed by George Martin & Orchestra.
Credits
Producer: George Martin
Engineers: Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick

Instrumental compositions performed by George Martin & Orchestra

George Harrison: Vocals, Guitar, 12-string lead guitar, Claves
John Lennon: Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica, Rhythm Guitar, Tambourine
Paul McCartney: Vocals, Bass Guitar
Ringo Starr: Drums, Vocals, Loose-skinned Arabian bongo, Bongos

George Martin: Piano (A Hard Day's Night)
Releases
1964, June 26 United Artists UAS-6366 (US)

Personnel

The Beatles

Additional musicians

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