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A Hard Day's Night by the Beatles

A Hard Day’s Night was The Beatles 3rd album. It was released in 1964 at the height of Beatle-mania and of course it was the soundtrack to the movie by the same name. It was the #1 album in the UK for 21 weeks. The US version was #1 in the US for 14 weeks.

It was The Beatles first truly great album and it was their first album to feature all original songs. In fact their first two albums only contained 8 original songs each (with 6 covers.) A Hard Day’s Night also has the distinction of being the only Beatles album to contain nothing but Lennon/McCartney songs.

The album kicks off with the title track which is a perfect album opener, and not only because of the great, instantly recognizable, first chord. “A Hard Day’s Night” was a #1 single in both the US & the UK.

The first side of the album ends with another #1 single (in both the US & the UK) “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

In between these two great singles was not just a lot of filler though! The Lennon sung “If I Fell” and the McCartney sung “And I Love Her” are two of the Beatles greatest ballads. They are tracks #3 and #5 on the first side of the album.

While the George Harrison sung “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You” & the second track “I Should Have Known Better” aren’t quite up to the standards of the other songs on the first half, they are still good pop tunes.

Finally “Tell Me Why” is a very catchy pop tune that features The Beatles most ridiculously high pitched vocal (listen at 1:33 into the song.)

The second half of the album is not as strong as the first but does include some fantastic songs including “Things We Said Today” which may be my favorite song on the album. While it may sound like just another pop ballad, it seems to be a great example of The Beatles (McCartney in this case) getting a bit more thoughtful with their songwriting. It’s a hint of things to come.

The other song on the second side of the album I really love is Lennon’s country style “I’ll Cry Instead.” It’s just a fun song to listen to and Lennon’s voice sounds great in it.

But the second side is not filled with all winners. I think “When I Get Home” is one of the Beatles worst songs. It sounds somewhat awkward and just sort of silly to me. It’s one of very few Beatles songs that I can’t find some redeeming quality in.

I used to not appreciate “You Can’t Do That” much but it’s actually a great song. And it’s got some fantastic cowbell playing going on.

The final song is “I’ll Be Back” which is another song that I didn’t appreciate before but have grown to enjoy. I used to think the album was all down hill after “Things We Said Today” but I now realize I was just letting my hate of “When I Get Home” effect the final two songs as well which while they are not world beaters, are quite good songs.

“Any Time at All” is the only song I haven’t mentioned yet. It opens up the second side of the album. It’s a catchy song but it’s never been one that really stood out for me. It sounds like an “attempted single” that wasn’t quite good enough to be a single, at least not by The Beatles insanely high standard.

A Hard Day’s Night is a great album and the one I would most recommend to someone just getting interested in The Beatles early work.

Submitted by:

Johnny Moon

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