“The title came from a throwaway crack from Starr. “We were working all day and then into the night,” he recalled, “[and] I came out thinking it was still day and said, ‘It’s been a hard day,’ and noticing it was dark, ‘ . . . ‘s night!’” When Lennon passed the remark on to director Richard Lester, it instantly became the film’s title. All they had to do was write a song to go with it. “John and I were always looking for titles,” said McCartney. “Once you’ve got a good title, you are halfway there. With ‘A Hard Day’s Night,’ you’ve almost captured them.””
– Rolling Stone
“A Hard Day’s Night” is a song written by John Lennon (on the night of 13 April 1964), and credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964. It was later released as a single, with “Things We Said Today” as its B-side.
“…the next morning I brought in the song… ‘cuz there was a little competition between Paul and I as to who got the A-side — who got the hits. If you notice, in the early days the majority of singles, in the movies and everything, were mine… in the early period I’m dominating the group…. The reason Paul sang on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (in the bridge) is 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 (1980, Playboy interview)
The song featured prominently on the soundtrack to the Beatles’ first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, and was on their album of the same name. The song topped the charts in both the United Kingdom and United States when it was released as a single. The American and British singles of “A Hard Day’s Night” as well as both the American and British albums of the same title all held the top position in their respective charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964, the first time any artist had accomplished this feat.
Some will say this is a sentimental selection. That’s okay. It is, I love the song, the album and especially the movie. That strange but brilliant opening chord, a chord that is the theme for many discussions and that started the song, the album, a movie of the same name, and really a pop era, we saw the film over and over at our local cinema in the 70s. The cementation of our love for The Beatles started with this chord/song/record/film.
“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 to Mark Lewisohn (The Complete Beatles recording sessions)
..now let’s focus on The Beatles debut album..“Please Please Me” released 50 years ago today!
….they were a group with the luck to meet opportunities, the wit to recognize them, the drive to seize them, and the talent to fullfil them. Please Please Me is the sound of them doing all four.
~Tom Ewing (pitchfork.com)
#1 – I Saw Her Standing There
22 March 1963
11 February 1963,
EMI Studios, London
Rock and roll, pop
Please Please Me is the debut album by the English rock band the Beatles. Parlophone rush-released the album on 22 March 1963 in the United Kingdom to capitalise on the success of singles “Please Please Me” (No. 1 on most lists but only No. 2 on Record Retailer) and “Love Me Do” (No. 17).
Of the album’s fourteen songs, eight were written by Lennon–McCartney (originally credited “McCartney–Lennon”), early evidence of what Rolling Stone later called “[their invention of] the idea of the self-contained rock band, writing their own hits and playing their own instruments”. In 2012, Please Please Me was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
…It’s a blueprint of everything the Beatles would ever do, mixing up doo-wop, country, R&B, girl groups, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Little Richard, and Tin Pan Alley into their own exuberant sound. John and Paul sang the openhearted originals “Ask Me Why,” “There’s a Place,” and “I Saw Her Standing There.” Ringo shouted, “All right, George!” in his gender-flipped cover of the Shirelles’ ultrafemme “Boys.” All four Beatles sang and played with total emotional urgency, holding nothing back, knowing their first shot at getting out of Liverpool could have been their last. You can hear John completely blow out his voice in the last track, “Twist and Shout.”
#7 – Please Please Me
In order for the album to contain fourteen songs (the norm for British 12″ vinyl pop albums at that time was to have seven songs on each side, while American albums usually had only five or six songs per side) ten more tracks were needed to add to the four sides of their first two singles recorded and released previously. Therefore, at 10:00 am on Monday, 11 February 1963, the Beatles and George Martin started recording what was essentially their live act in 1963, and finished 585 minutes later (9 hours and 45 minutes). In three sessions that day (each lasting approximately three hours) they produced an authentic representation of the band’s Cavern Club-era sound, as there were very few overdubs and edits. Optimistically, only two sessions were originally booked by Martin—the evening session was added later.
The day ended with a cover of “Twist and Shout”, which had to be recorded last because John Lennon had a particularly bad cold and Martin feared the throat-shredding vocal would ruin Lennon’s voice for the day. This performance, captured on the first take, prompted Martin to say: “I don’t know how they do it. We’ve been recording all day but the longer we go on the better they get.”
#14 – Twist and Shout
All songs written by McCartney–Lennon, except where noted.
John Lennon – lead vocals, background vocals, rhythm guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, hand claps
Paul McCartney – lead vocals, background vocals, bass guitar, hand claps
George Harrison – background vocals, lead vocals on “Chains” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, lead guitar, acoustic guitar, hand claps
Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, hand claps, lead vocals on “Boys”
Additional musicians and production
George Martin – producer, mixer, additional arrangements, piano on “Misery”, celesta on “Baby It’s You”
Norman Smith – audio engineer, mixer
Andy White – drums on “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You”
Please Please Me hit the top of the UK album charts in May 1963 and remained there for thirty weeks before being replaced by With The Beatles. This was surprising because the UK album charts at the time tended to be dominated by film soundtracks and easy listening vocalists.
In 2012, Please Please Me was voted 39th on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”. It was ranked first among the Beatles’ early albums, and sixth of all of the Beatles’ albums, with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Revolver,Rubber Soul, The Beatles (The White Album) and Abbey Road ranked higher.
Rolling Stone also placed two songs from the album on its list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time: No. 139, “I Saw Her Standing There”, and No. 184, “Please Please Me”.
According to Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic, “Decades after its release, the album still sounds fresh”, the covers are “impressive” and the originals “astonishing“.