A Hard Day’s Night (1964, the Third Beatles Album)


HardDayUK-vertA Hard Day’s Night is the third studio album by British rock group the Beatles, released on 10 July 1964, with side one containing songs from the soundtrack to their film A Hard Day’s Night. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. This is the first Beatles album to be recorded entirely on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes.

In contrast to their first two albums, all 13 tracks on A Hard Day’s Night were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, showcasing the development of the band’s songwriting talents. The album contains some of their most famous songs, including the title track, with its distinct, instantly recognisable opening chord, and the previously released “Can’t Buy Me Love”; both were transatlantic number-one singles for the band.

The title of the album was the accidental creation of drummer Ringo Starr. According to Lennon in a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine: “I was going home in the car and Dick Lester [director of the movie] suggested the title, ‘Hard Day’s Night’ from something Ringo had said. I had used it in ‘In His Own Write’, but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo. You know, one of those malapropisms. A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny … just said it. So Dick Lester said, ‘We are going to use that title.'”

In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day’s Night at number five in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2012, A Hard Day’s Night was voted 307th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.

Contents

Hard_days_night_side1-vertMusically, A Hard Day’s Night eschews the rock and roll cover songs of the band’s previous albums for a predominantly pop sound. Sputnikmusic’s Dave Donnelly observes “short, peppy” pop songs characterised by layered vocals, immediate choruses, and understated instrumentation. According to Pitchfork Media’s Tom Ewing, the lack of rock and roll covers allows listeners to “take the group’s new sound purely on its own modernist terms”, with audacious “chord choices”, powerful harmonies, “gleaming” guitar, and “Northern” harmonica. Music journalist Robert Christgau writes that Lennon–McCartney’s songs were “more sophisticated musically” than before.

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.

A Hard Day’s Night is the first Beatles album to feature entirely original compositions, and the only one where all the songs were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.[19] Lennon dominates the song writing being the primary author of ten out of the thirteen tracks on the album, all except “And I Love Her,” “Can’t Buy Me Love,” and “Things We Said Today.” This is also one of three Beatles albums, along with Let It Be and Magical Mystery Tour, in which Starr does not sing lead vocal on any songs. Starr sang the lead vocal on “Matchbox” during the sessions; it appeared instead on the Long Tall Sally EP.

Cultural Influence

According to music critic Richie Unterberger, “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 would be hugely influential on the folk-rock explosion of 1965. The Beatles’ success, too, had begun to open the US 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.”

Reissues

On 26 February 1987, A Hard Day’s Night was officially released on compact disc in mono, along with 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 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” had been made available on the first compact disc issue of 1962–1966 in 1993. Most of the rest of the tracks appeared in stereo on compact disc for the first time with the release of the box set The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 in 2004.

On 9 September 2009, a remastered version of this album was released and was the first time the album appeared in stereo on compact disc in its entirety. This album is also included in The Beatles Stereo Box Set. A remastered mono version of the original UK album was part of The Beatles in Mono box set.

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “A Hard Day’s Night” Lennon and McCartney 2:34
2. “I Should Have Known Better” Lennon 2:43
3. “If I Fell” Lennon and McCartney 2:19
4. “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” Harrison 1:56
5. “And I Love Her” McCartney 2:30
6. “Tell Me Why” Lennon with McCartney 2:09
7. “Can’t Buy Me Love” McCartney 2:12
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “Any Time at All” Lennon 2:11
2. “I’ll Cry Instead” Lennon 1:46
3. “Things We Said Today” McCartney 2:35
4. “When I Get Home” Lennon 2:17
5. “You Can’t Do That” Lennon 2:35
6. “I’ll Be Back” Lennon with McCartney 2:24

Charts and certifications

Chart performance

Year Chart Position
1964 UK Albums Chart 1
1965 Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart 1
2009 Finnish Albums Chart 27

Certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA) Gold 35,000^
United Kingdom (BPI) Gold 100,000^
^shipments figures based on certification alone

dagger BPI certification awarded only for sales since 1994.

North American Release AHardDaysNightUSalbumcover-vert

The American version of the album was released on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records in both mono and stereo, the fourth Beatles album in the United States. The album went to number one on the Billboard album chart, spending 14 weeks there, the longest run of any album that year.

All seven songs from the film, the first side of the UK album, were featured along with “I’ll Cry Instead”, which, although written for the film, was cut at the last minute. The American version also included four easy listening-styled instrumental versions of Lennon and McCartney songs arranged by George Martin conducting an orchestra of studio musicians: “I Should Have Known Better,” “And I Love Her,” “Ringo’s Theme,” and “A Hard Day’s Night.” After EMI acquired United Artists Records, this album was reissued on 17 August 1980 on the Capitol label, catalogue SW-11921.

While the stereo version of the album included the instrumental tracks in true stereo, the Beatles’ own recordings appeared as electronically rechannelled stereo recordings made from the mono releases. The 1980 Capitol Records release used the same master tape as the original United Artists stereo release, despite the availability of several tracks with official stereo remixes by that time. True stereo versions of most of the songs appeared on the Capitol album Something New, released in July 1964. “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better” finally appeared in stereo on the Apple Records compilation Hey Jude in 1970. The song “A Hard Day’s Night” did not appear in stereo in the US until the LP Reel Music in March 1982. In 2014, the American version of “A Hard Day’s Night” was released on CD individually and in a boxed set of all the other US Beatles albums to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Beatles first US visit. This CD reissue features all of the songs in both true stereo and mono mixes.

Track Listing

Side one
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “A Hard Day’s Night” Lennon and McCartney 2:33
2. “Tell Me Why” Lennon with McCartney 2:10
3. “I’ll Cry Instead” Lennon 2:06
4. “I Should Have Known Better” instrumental 2:10
5. “I’m Happy Just to Dance with You” Harrison 1:59
6. “And I Love Her” instrumental 3:46
Side two
No. Title Lead vocals Length
1. “I Should Have Known Better” Lennon 2:44
2. “If I Fell” Lennon and McCartney 2:22
3. “And I Love Her” McCartney 2:29
4. “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy)” instrumental 3:10
5. “Can’t Buy Me Love” McCartney 2:12
6. “A Hard Day’s Night” instrumental 2:06

Charts and Certifications

Certifications

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada) Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA) 4× Platinum 4,000,000^
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Chart Succession

Preceded by
Hello, Dolly! by Louis Armstrong
Billboard Top LPs number-one album
25 July – 30 October 1964
Succeeded by
People by Barbra Streisand
Preceded by
The Rolling Stones by The Rolling Stones
UK Albums Chart number-one album
25 July 1964 – 19 December 1964
Succeeded by
Beatles for Sale by The Beatles

Personnel

  • John Lennon – vocals; acoustic and electric (six and twelve-string) guitars; piano; harmonica; tambourine
  • Paul McCartney – vocals; acoustic and bass guitars; piano; cowbell
  • George Harrison – vocals; acoustic and electric (six and twelve-string) guitars; claves
  • Ringo Starr – drums and percussions
  • George Martin – piano
  • Norman Smith – bongos on “A Hard Day’s Night”

200px-Beatles_logo.svgFOREVER

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia

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