“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)