on March 7, 2005
Or something like that. Um... nevermind.
And here it is - the very first (and only) album comprised of *all* Lennon & McCartney material, and what an excellent album it is. The Beatles' third album, overall, the boys had already started out with some mightily impressive songwriting skills, chops, and infectious melodies with their first two albums, _Please Please Me_ and _With The Beatles_ (both from 1963.) However, unlike those two (which feature a mix of originals and covers), this album is comprised of *all* original material, and the songwriting is also a step up, overall, from their first two albums.
Something that seems to fly over the heads of many Beatles fans is the complexity involved in the majority of their music. Yes, their later material was not the only music to be complex. In fact, this aspect started from the beginning, actually, and this album is no exception: many of the chords, progressions and structures to the songs on this album are very advanced -- especially coming from a rock band who wrote their own material back in the early '60s, and what's a hell of a lot more impressive is how they seem to make it all sound so seemingly simple; the complexity of the musicianship doesn't overwhelm the music, but in actuality, it plays an important role in making their music as infectious and devouring as it was (and still is): the way they treat the melodies, and how they sequence and arrange them are so marvelous.
You know the title track, as it features that explosive, shot-in-the-dark strum of a chord (which is complex, by the way.) And from there, we are taken on an exciting ride. We get infectious rockers like the aforementioned title track, lovely, melodic-soaked ballads like "If I Fell," more infectious rockers like "Happy Just To Dance With You," which is sung by George Harrison, and features some stunning arrangements, but these arrangements make for some interesting, mysterious, yet infectious melodies, which lend the track a certain sexy, elegant and utterly classy quality. We also get Latin-infused numbers like Paul McCartney's "And I Love Her."
My favorite track on this excellent album is "Tell Me Why." Many people on this page seem to bash this track, which is fine. It was rumored that John Lennon himself didn't think the world of this track, and said that it was a song written without much effort, and that it was inspired by his love of the R&B "girl groups" from that time period. You can definitely hear the influence here (and in certain other Beatles songs), but the passionate, raucous, uninhibited, and alternately beautiful vocal harmonies, the sexy way in which they swing, and the jazzy basslines from McCartney are just a few of the things that contribute to the creation of something which is almost orgasmic to my ears.
Later, we get to see one of the earliest examples of The Beatles exploring their love of country-rockabilly in "I'll Cry Instead," while "Things We Said Today" is more of a melancholic-toned melody, which, ironically, features a fairly-fast tempo. "You Can't Do That" features some ominous lyrics to a lover, but yet the melody and the song in general sounds so up-tempo, jovial and celebratory. And, to close off the album, we have "I'll Be Back," one of the most understatedly beautiful songs on the album.
The Beatles didn't ever really put out an album that wasn't filled to the brim with infectiousness, and impressive musicianship. This 1964 juggernaut is no exception. Highly recommended.
on November 21, 1999
So much has been written about the Beatles later albums such as Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and The White Album, which all made your customer poll Top 100. It's a real shame that the Beatles earlier(pre-Rubber Soul) albums are underappreciated because they are all first rate rock 'n roll. A Hard Day's Night is the best of the earlier albums and ranks right up there with their later classics and also should have been on your customer Top 100. Every track here is brilliant in consumate beat-pop style. Infectious joy just explodes out of every song. A friend of mine described this album as "a guaranteed bad mood buster. The unforgettable opening guitar riff of the title song sets the tone for what is to come. And I Love Her is arguably McCartney's best love song. Lennon's glorious harmonica never sounded better than in I Should Have Known Better. The songs are more complex than it may first seem so listen to them carefully. For instance, Tell Me Why is a great rocker whose backbeat has a syncopated snazz that gives it a swing sound as well. Hardly pop fluff. The most incredible thing about this album is that it was written on the run while Beatlemania raged around them and they were pressured to get a soundtrack out for the movie, unlike the later albums when they had more time to experiment in the studio. A Hard Day's Night is a timeless classic that sounds as fresh and energetic today as it did 35 years ago. No serious rock collection is complete without it.
Filled with energy, hooks, and enough great songs to last a lifetime, "A Hard Day's Night" is the ultimate document of Beatlemania. About the only thing missing from this unheralded masterpiece is the deafening shriek of adoring young fans. This is one for the history books because, in a nutshell, this IS 1964!!
Oddly enough, "Hard Day's Night" is rarely mentioned as one of the Beatles' best albums. What a shame, because this one is loaded with 13 unforgetable Lennon-McCartney classics. In fact, so cohesive are the tunes, that one could make a strong case for "A Hard Day's Night" as rock-n-roll's first true concept album. Lyrically, each song deals with love. Yes, it's mostly simplistic, however, a growing sophistication sneaks in on "Things We Said Today" and the haunting finale "I'll Be Back". The instrumental landscape is graced with driving acoustic guitars, Ringo's steady backbeat and of course, George's ringing 12-string guitar. So influential was George's playing -- especially on the classic title song -- that seemingly an entire generation of young guitar slingers made the 12-string a part of their arsenal. (The Byrds' Roger McGuinn credits "Hard Day's Night" as the inspiration for his love affair with the 12-string.)
All thirteen songs are wonderful. No filler-- just classic power pop sprinkled with a pair of John and Paul's most beautiful ballads ("And I Love Her" and "If I Fell"). The potent rockers "Any Time at All" and "You Can't Do That" are purely lethal. John doesn't merely sing these songs -- he screams his bloody lungs out!! Paul shreds his vocal cords on "Can't Buy Me Love", letting out what is perhaps the most famous scream in rock's history. You get the idea that the Beatles -- not yet fed up with touring and riotous mobs -- had a blast while recording "A Hard Day's Night". This is pure adrenaline and we, the listeners, are the lucky recipients. A must for any serious music fan, "A Hard's Day's Night" is not only one of the best albums of all-time, it's also one of the most important.
on September 11, 2009
Okay, I know some of you will disagree that this is their masterpiece; you may possibly point toward the utterly fantastic Revolver, or perhaps Sgt. Pepper as thier finest moment. Perhaps artistically that may be so (remember, this is subjective). But, for me, and MILLIONS others, the early Beatles albums were and are the most exciting that they ever released, the most exhilirating music ever made possibly; THIS is the sound of Beatlemania! And man does it sound wonderful! GLORIOUS! Okay, the reviewer below me made some good points about certain songs sounding better on a couple other CDs (one being a comp., which I steer from except for Past Masters; I am amongst those who simply cannot afford to buy a CD for one song; so congratulations if you can afford that, or the stereo box --let alone the mono one, with the original stereo mixes of Help! and Rubber Soul, and the great Sgt. Pepper mono mix; but for MANY of us, who are possibly buying these one, two, three etc at a time, and those who have hungered for the first four albums to be released in stereo for ALL these years (utter frustration for many extreme fanatics) --these are a GODSEND!
And this CD sounds miles better to me than on the infamous "Beat Records" Original Master Recordings CD set that I've absolutely treasured. It was infamous for its GREAT sound quality. That is, it was great sound...UNTIL NOW.
I cannot put into words the thrill of hearing this album this way, but I will try...first off, the sound is FANTASTIC! Especially amazing was the first listening to Things We Said Today; it sounds unbelieveable on here! And the opening drum wallop of Any Time At All, which gets MY vote as one of the finest Beatles songs ever, my absolute favorite; those writers of the book An Illustrated Record claim that it's not a love song, that is ABSURD! It's the great John Lennon at 100% sincere and heartfelt (which with John means a LOT), the lyrics are beautiful and the delivery is absolute perfection; if you want to know why Lennon was/is considered one of the very best singers in rock and roll history, look no further than this song. It's the greatest!; Lennon was the greatest.
This -- along with With The Beatles -- is my favorite Beatles album. Their greatest period. This is simply the peak of the Beatles as pop song craftsmen. There is NOTHING more important to a song than a euphoric feeling it can bring to you just from hearing it, as opposed to whatever "statement" it makes. Joyously life-affirming is what this is! I was feeling down lately, and this music makes me -- can make one -- feel glad to be ALIVE! The greatness of the early Beatles!
This the most thrilling, Any Time At All, Tell Me Why, Things We Said Today, A Hard Day's Night, I Should Have Known Better, And I Love Her -- there is simply not a bad song on here! They are fantastic. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You -- dismissed by some snobs for being "lightweight" lyrically, even Lennon was not crazy of The Beatles' early songs; too bad! For the opening chords [whatever chords they are!] are positively THRLLING! One song that was my least favorite on here, When I Get Home, even THAT sounds wonderful!
This whole album is utter pop perfection.
I bought this and Revolver first, as I did not have the money to pre-order more. I have since went out today and, spurred on by these, the sound on both (Revolver is VASTLY improved from its previous CD release), I was SO excited, bought the other 5 I was missing of up through Revolver, and will hopefully get more (aka the rest) in a couple weeks.
Don't let this gem of an album pass you by; it is positively beautiful.
You NOT gonna think that And I Love Her, or Any Time At All, are anything less?
Stop analyzing and open your heart. (I just realized, how some will never appreciate certain albums, the truth in the Lovin' Spoonful song: "It's like trying to tell a stranger about rock and roll.")
ENJOY! The songs are perfection and the sound quality is TREMENDOUS!!!!
No true Beatles fan can NOT love this disc!
on September 9, 2009
It is unfortunate that amazon is lumping 280+ reviews of the original CD release of this album in with the new remastered product. The old release was monophonic, and the 2009 remaster is stereo. (A remaster of the mono mix is available only in an expensive limited box set.) Today I purchased the new stereo remaster, and this is my report. The main reason to purchase the remastered CD is for the sound quality, so I will focus on that question.
Overall, this is an improvement over the original 1987 mono CD. The bass and drums are much more distinct. The guitars are generally clean, maybe a little too clean. I could say the same about the vocals. The dynamics are compressed, but this is true of the 1987 mono edition. The compression is not extreme, but noticeable.
What about a comparison with the UK stereo vinyl release? I don't have immediate access to any UK stereo pressings, but my best friend has a box set. My recollection is that you hear more subtle detail and natural reverberation from the recording studio on the vinyl than the new CD remaster. To some extent, this may be a limitation of the CD medium. (Yet my digital recordings of vinyl from my own turntable do not seem to suffer as much from this defect as commercial recordings, which is hard to fathom.) I think the new CD sounds a little too clean, too processed, with some details smoothed over a bit too much. I had the same reaction to the Beatles Let It Be... Naked album, which remixed the Let It Be album without the orchestrations and embellishments added to the original. Some of the guitars did not have the same raucous bite they had on the original CD.
On the plus side, I'll reiterate that the bass and drums come through very naturally and clearly. It sounds good. It sounds clean and smooth. The best vinyl copies of A Hard Day's Night, played on an expensive turntable, will likely sound more relaxed, more dynamic, more detailed, and retreive more of the natural studio ambience of Abbey Road studio. I am unlikely to ever own the best vinyl so I'll make do with the remastered CD. And I have mixed feelings about that.
on June 28, 2000
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is the best rock album from The Beatles early period (1962-1964). It is the only album to include exclusively Lennon & McCartney songs. As well as been the extraordinary soundtrack to their first legendary movie. What really makes A HARD DAY'S NIGHT exceptional is the remarkable songs on this album. The music is radiant, consisitent, and incredible. There's infinite energy on the performances of every track. The album opens with the trademark chord crash on the title track. It's a classic Beatles song. "I Should Have Known Better" has a bright melody, with the trademark harmonica. This classic appeared as the B-Side to the "A Hard Day's Night" single in the United States. "If I Fell" is a gorgeous ballad in the three-part harmony arrangements, it's one of my favorites of their early ballads, and the favorite of the three-part harmony series (including "This Boy", "Yes It Is", "Because"). George Harrison takes the lead vocal on "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You". One of Paul McCartney's earliest and most tender ballads is "And I Love Her", another Beatles classic. "Tell Me Why" is an aggressive rock song, a relationship that would again be described on "I'll Cry Instead" and "What You're Doing". The brilliant rocker "Can't Buy Me Love" has made it's mark as a classic. It was the first single released from the album. Since PLEASE PLEASE ME the songs released on singles did not appear on albums, this was the first song to be featured on both formats. "Any Time At All" and "When I Get Home" are terrific Lennon rockers with positive relationships. "I'll Cry Instead" reflects the same relationship as "Tell Me Why" except with a wistful country feel. "Things We Said Today", the B-Side of "A Hard Day's Night" single; is a great McCartney song. "You Can't Do That", the B-Side to "Can't Buy Me Love" is the first song in which Lennon writes and sings about jealousy and threats, a theme that would appear again later. "I'll Be Back" is a sterling piece, a great album closer. The first half of the album: "A Hard Day's Night", "I Should Have Known Better", "If I Fell", "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You", "Tell Me Why", and "Can't Buy Me Love" were featured in the film. The second half: "Any Time At All", "I'll Cry Instead", "Things We Said Today", "When I Get Home", "You Can't Do That", and "I'll Be Back" were written for the album, but left out of the film because of story and time requirements. There were fourteen Lennon/McCartney originals recorded during these sessions; "I Call Your Name" was released on the "Long Tall Sally" EP featuring: Long Tall Sally, I Call Your Name, Slow Down, and Matchbox. In the United States, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT was issued by United Artists included all the film songs plus "I'll Cry Instead", and four instrumentals recorded by George Martin. Capitol Records issued their own version on SOMETHING NEW. All the film songs except "A Hard Day's Night", "I Should Have Known Better", and "Can't Buy Me Love" (which were released on singles) were on the album. The six songs from the second half on the record (with the exception of "I'll Be Back") and the German-language version of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" were on the album. A HARD DAY'S NIGHT is the best of their early albums. HIGHLY RECOMMEMED listening by the band that changed history permenantly.
on July 12, 1998
If there is such a thing as an under appreciated Beatles Album, it's Hard Day's Night. Lennon's raw voice truly shines as the highlight with some notable favorites from McCartney too. John and Paul write all the songs on this one, composing an incredible number of outstanding originals. A true gem is the finale I'll Be Back, where John works magic on vocals. If I Fell is a classic example of John and Paul's uncanny ability to wrap their vocals around each other and sing in perfect harmony. Another lesser-known favorite of mine is Things We Said Today. Paul takes the lead on this one, with John contributing on backup vocals. Things We Said Today shows how The Beatles were able to take a few basic guitar chords and turn them into an unforgetable song. There are many other great songs on this album, most of which everybody has heard at one time or another. But it's the other songs, the B-sides if you will, that make Hard Day's Night a must for any music lover.
on September 16, 2009
Unlike it's British counterpart of the same title, the American version of "A Hard Day's Night" is a soundtrack featuring eight songs preformed by The Beatles and four instrumental interpretations of Lennon/McCartney originals preformed by the George Martin Orchestra. Originally issued in both stereo and mono on June 26, 1964, this was the fourth Beatles album to be released in the United States and the second album to be officially released on a label other than Capitol (the first being "Introducing The Beatles" [Vee-Jay Records, issued July 22, 1963], "A Hard Day's Night" being released by United Artists as the "Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" ).
All of the Beatles songs on the mono and stereo releases were created from the same mono master tape, the later being "duophonic" (a process of slightly altering e.q., panning and levels to create a "stereo" image) mixes created by the engineers at United Artists. Capitol would issue it's own versions of five of the eight Beatles tracks less than one month later (July 20, 1964) on it's ironically titled "Something New" album. Of the three remaining songs, "I Should Have Known Better" and "Can't Buy Me Love" would not see release on a Capitol album until the February 26, 1970 release of the "Hey Jude / The Beatles Again" compilation. The title track would not see a Capitol album release until the April 2, 1973 compilation "1962-1966" (also known as "The Red Album").
The four instrumental tracks by the George Martin Orchestra are jazz/lounge interpretations of Beatles songs. Unlike the tracks by The Beatles, The instrumentals were issued from separate mono and stereo masters, the later being "true" stereo. Although dismissed by most fans as "filler", these versions featured prominently in the film and bring to mind various scenes (who could forget Ringo's sad walk along the river to the instrumental tune of "This Boy"?) . Taken in the context that this is a soundtrack album (and bonus points that these are Lennon/McCartney originals, not anonymous score by an anonymous composer), these tunes are actually quite enjoyable!
This is the version of "A Hard Day's Night" that most American Beatles fans grew up with. The 1987 release of the Beatles EMI catalogue on cd replaced the various early Capitol albums and introduced America to the Beatles original albums the way the Beatles intended them to be heard. What was once twelve albums on Vee-Jay, Capitol and United Artists was now only seven albums on Parlophone. While the Parlophone albums were superior in most aspects, American fans soon began to notice that differences went beyond the running order and album titles. Some tracks were completely different mixes featuring different sounds (Capitol "Rubber Soul" had 2 false starts at the beginning of "I'm Looking Through You", not on the Parlophone release, etc.) and gone were the instrumental tracks from "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!".
EMI/Capitol finally saw fit in 2004 and again in 2006 to give the American fans back the albums that they grew up with in the form of two box sets, "The Capitol Albums" and "The Capitol Albums Vol. 2". Both box sets are completely remastered and feature both stereo and mono versions on the same cd as well as wonderful reproductions of the original artwork in the form of mini-sleeves. Unfortunately, only eight of the original twelve American albums have been released on cd. Missing are "Introducing The Beatles", "A Hard Day's Night", "Yesterday...And Today" and "Revolver". "Introducing" is null as it was released on Capitol as "The Early Beatles", but the remaining three (along with maybe 1977's "At The Hollywood Bowl") would make a wonderful final box set as everything from "Sgt. Pepper" forward was the same worldwide. [Capitol acquired the United Artists catalogue in the early 80's and subsequently re-issued this very same soundtrack - so inclusion in a Capitol box set would remain "authentic"]
Overall, this is a fun soundtrack to a fun film. This is the Beatles at the height of Beatlemania, simple pop songs with great hooks that will have you singing along. Innocent. Nothing deep, nothing philosophical. Songs about falling in love, being in love, and losing love. If you listen to this enough, you may also catch yourself singing along with the instrumentals! If you have access to a turntable, this would be a welcome addition to your Beatles collection. To the American generation who grew up on the 1987 standardized cd catalogue, you should definitely hear this version at least once to better experience Beatlemania as your parents (and dare I say grandparents) did.
on October 20, 2005
Anyone who thinks the early Beatles were somehow immature or "lesser" compared to their later work simply needs to pick up this jaw-dropping album. Without a doubt it's one of their three greatest (The other two being Revolver and The Beatles, in my opinion), and I would even be open to arguments placing it at the top, though I personally wouldn't myself.
Realize: a little over a YEAR into their major-label career, in the wake of two #1 LPs and four consecutive #1 singles with current expectations to match, in the midst of a publicity crush the likes of which won't be seen again until Jesus returns, during a mindblowingly grueling touring schedule, AND while filming a motion picture, The Beatles ALSO found the time to put out a fully perfect album of 13 self-penned songs. The ONLY time Lennon and McCartney wrote all the songs for an album, in fact. The main triumph is Lennon's - he wrote 10 out of 13, including the title track and impressively mature gems like "If I Fell" and "I'll Be Back" - but when McCartney's three contributions are called "Can't Buy Me Love," "And I Love Her," and "Things We Said Today" the balance is redressed. A Hard Day's Night is the final word on early Sixties pop and, when you factor in the diamond-crushing pressure they were under at the time, also one of the most bravura performances in rock history.
on December 8, 1999
To the idiot that said the Beatles "stuck" to a style...have you listened to their work? Unclog your ears and listen to the R&B influences(Got To Get You Into My Life), Rockabilly(What Goes On, I'm A Loser), Psychedelia(Tomorrow Never Knows), Power Pop(Hard Days Night, Ticket To Ride), Heavy Metal(Helter Skelter), Ballads(Yesterday, If I Fell). HOW MUCH MORE STYLE DO YOU WANT?
As far as Hard Days Night goes, it's the first in the Beatles "Power Pop" era. George Harrison practically invented the use of the 12 string Rickenbacker electric in rock, a style later picked up by Pete Townshend, Roger McGuin, and Tom Petty, to name a few. He demonstates his virtuosity on this album(I wish he hadn't given it up so quickly...I loved that sound). In fact, it's George's guitar playing that means the most to me on this very inspiring recording. The melodies, harmonies, and songwriting are all first rate.
Yes, the lyrics are about boy-girl relationships. Who the hell cares? Would you rather sing about death, taxes, and the reality of life?
My preference is for the later Beatles material, from Rubber Soul on, but this is the best of their early period, sans some of the songs on Beatles for Sale.