Song facts: A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day's Night is a song written by John Lennon, credited to Lennon/McCartney. It was used as the opening track for the album of the same name, and also throughout The Beatles' film.

According to John Lennon the title originated from drummer Ringo Starr. Starr claimed to have hatched the phrase when The Beatles were out on a job; working all day and night.

"We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day...' and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '...night!' So we came to A Hard Day's Night." - Ringo Starr
"I was going home in the car and Dick Lester suggested the title Hard Day's Night from something Ringo'd 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 Ringoism, where he said it not to be funny, just said it. So Dick Lester said we are going to use that title, and the next morning I brought in the song. 'Cause there was a little competition between Paul and I as to who got the A side, who got the hit singles." - John Lennon
A Hard Day's Night UK album cover.

A Hard Day's Night UK album cover.

A Hard Day's Night US album cover.

A Hard Day's Night US album cover.

Recording

The Beatles recorded A Hard Day's Night at Studio Two of Abbey Road Studios on April 16th 1964. It took them less than three hours to finish the song in its entirety. Lennon let McCartney sing the middle of the song as he couldn't quite reach the high notes like Paul. 

"The only reason he [Paul] sang on Hard Day's Night was because I couldn't reach the notes. 'When I'm home, everything seems to be right. When I'm home...' - which is what we'd do sometimes. One of us couldn't reach a note but he wanted a different sound, so he'd get the other to do the harmony." - John Lennon

George Harrison played the instrumental break on his Rickenbacker 12-string guitar, accompanied by George Martin on piano. 

"We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning. The strident guitar chord was the perfect launch." - George Martin

The opening chord

A Hard Day's Night contains one of the most instantly recognizable opening chords in music history, featuring George Harrison on his Rickenbacker guitar, Paul on bass, John on a Gibson J-160E 6-string acoustic guitar, Ringo on snare drum and George Martin on a Steinway Grand Piano.

Personnel

  • John Lennon – double-tracked vocal (verses), electric and acoustic rhythm guitars
  • Paul McCartney – double-tracked vocal (middle-eight), harmony vocal, bass
  • George Harrison – twelve-string lead guitar
  • Ringo Starr – drums, bongos, cowbell
  • George Martin  - piano

Release

A Hard Day's Night was released as a single in the UK on July 10th 1964 and July 13th in the US. The UK single featured Things We Said Today as the B-side and the US single was issued with I Should Have Known Better. Both singles reached number one in the US and UK.

On August 1st the single reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100; staying there for two weeks. It found the number one spot in the UK on July 23rd, remaining there for three straight weeks. 

Grammy Award

On April 13th 1965, The Beatles received a Grammy Award for A Hard Day's Night.

  • Best Performance by a Vocal Group
    • The Beatles for A Hard Day's Night