Album facts: A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles released their third UK album A Hard Day's Night on July 10th, 1964, along with the single of the same name. Both releases were timed to coincide with the premiere of their debut film.
"We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn't when we were teenagers. The early stuff - the Hard Day's Night period, I call it - was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship. And the Sgt Pepper-Abbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship." - John Lennon
"When we knew we were writing for something like an album [John] would write a few in his spare moments, like this batch here. He'd bring them in, we'd check 'em. I'd write a couple and we'd throw 'em at each other, and then there would be a couple that were more co-written. But you just had a certain amount of time. You knew when the recording date was and so a week or two before then we'd get into it.
It didn't seem like pressure. It was - I suppose you'd have to think it was but I don't remember it being a pressure. It was fun, it was great. I always liken songwriting to a conjurer pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Now you see it, now you don't. If I now pick up a guitar and start to conjure something out of the air, there's a great magic about it. Where there was nothing, now there is something. Where there was a white sheet of paper, there's a page we can read. Where there was no tune and no lyrics, there's now a song we can sing! That aspect of it made it a lot of fun. We'd be amazed to see what kind of rabbit we'd pulled out that day." - John Lennon
Recording began on January 29th and was completed on June 2nd. It was the first Beatles' album to feature only original songs - Please Please Me and With the Beatles had a mix of original compositions and old rock and roll standards. A Hard Day's Night featured 13 Lennon/McCartney songs; seven of which were used in the soundtrack of the film.
- 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 percussion
- George Martin – piano, record producer
1. A Hard Day's Night
2. I Should Have Known Better
3. If I Fell
4. I'm Happy Just to Dance with You
5. And I Love Her
6. Tell Me Why
7. Can't Buy Me Love
1. Any Time at All
2. I'll Cry Instead
3. Things We Said Today
4. When I Get Home
5. You Can't Do That
6. I'll Be Back
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.
"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
A Hard Day's Night reached the top of the UK Albums Chart on July 19th 1964; remaining there for an incredible 21 weeks.
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. The single reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 on August 1st 1964, staying there for two weeks. The song spent three weeks on top of the UK Singles Chart, beginning on July 23rd 1964.
Origins of the title
According to John Lennon and Paul McCartney 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 often could rely on Ringo for titles cos Ringo had this happy knack of getting things wrong - little malapropisms - and it was always better than the real one. Someone said to him, you know, you look a bit tired today. He said, 'Yeah, I've had a hard day's night, you know'. He meant it, and we all went, Hard Day's Night, that's great!" - Paul McCartney
"If you look at our itinerary some of those years where we did maybe a tour of England, a tour of Europe, a tour of America, two albums and about four EPs, and three singles, and made a movie all in the same year - you think, Oh Jesus, how did we do that?". - George Harrison