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Beatles Ultimate Experience: Songwriting & Recording Database: A Hard Day's Night
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A Hard Day's Night

Originally released in the UK, July 10, 1964


RINGO 1964: "We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day...' and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '...night!' So we came to 'A Hard Day's Night.'"

JOHN 1980: "I was going home in the car and Dick Lester suggested the title, 'Hard Day's Night' from something Ringo had said. I had used it in 'In His Own Write,' but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo. You know, one of those malapropisms. A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny... just said it. So Dick Lester said, 'We are going to use that title.' And 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 only reason he sang on 'A Hard Day's Night' was because I couldn't reach the notes. (sings) '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."

PAUL circa-1994: "The title was Ringo's. We'd almost finished making the film, and this fun bit arrived that we'd not known about before, which was naming the film. So we were sitting around at Twickenham studios having a little brain-storming session... and we said, 'Well, there was something Ringo said the other day.' Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical... they were sort of magic even though he was just getting it wrong. And he said after a concert, 'Phew, it's been a hard day's night.'"


JOHN 1980: "That's me. Just a song-- It doesn't mean a damn thing."


JOHN 1980: "That was my first attempt at a ballad proper. That was the precursor to 'In My Life.' It has the same chord sequences as 'In My Life' --D and B minor and E minor, those kinds of things. And it's semi-autobiographical, but not consciously. It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads-- silly love songs-- way back when."

PAUL 1984: "This was our close-harmony period. We did a few songs... 'This Boy,' 'If I Fell,' 'Yes It Is' the same vein, which were kind of like the Fourmost-- an English vocal group, only not really."


JOHN 1980: "'I'm Happy Just To Dance With You,' that was written for George to give him a piece of the action. I couldn'ta sung it."

PAUL circa-1994: "We wrote 'I'm Happy Just To Dance With You' for George in the film. It was a bit of a formula song. We knew that in (the key of) E if you went to an A-flat-minor, you could always make a song with those chords... that change pretty much always excited you."


JOHN 1972: "Both of us wrote it. The first half was Paul's and the middle-eight is mine."

JOHN 1980: "'And I Love Her' is Paul again. I consider it his first 'Yesterday.' You know, the big ballad in 'A Hard Day's Night.'

PAUL 1984: "It's just a love song. It wasn't for anyone. Having the title start in midsentence, I thought that was clever. Well, Perry Como did 'And I Love You So' many years later. Tried to nick the idea. I like that... it was a nice tune, that one. I still like it."


JOHN 1980: "'Tell Me Why...' they needed another upbeat song and I just knocked it off. It was like a black, New York girl-group song."

PAUL circa-1994: "I think alot of these songs like 'Tell Me Why' were based in real life experiences... but it never occured to us until later to put that slant on it all."


JOHN 1972: "John and Paul, but mainly Paul."

JOHN 1980: "That's Paul completely. Maybe I had something to do with the chorus, but I don't know. I always considered it his song."

PAUL 1984: "We recorded it in France, as I recall. Went over to the Odeon in Paris. Recorded it over there. Felt proud because Ella Fitzgerald recorded it, too, though we didn't realize what it meant that she was doing it."

PAUL circa-1994: "'Can't Buy Me Love' is my attempt to write a bluesy mode. The idea behind it was that all these material possessions are all very well but they won't buy me what I really want."


JOHN 1980: "An effort at writing 'It Won't Be Long' --same ilk. C to A minor, C to A minor with me shouting."


JOHN 1980: "I wrote that for 'A Hard Day's Night,' but Dick Lester didn't even want it. He resurrected 'Can't Buy Me Love' for that sequence instead. I like the middle-eight to that song, though that's about all I can say about it."


JOHN 1980: "Paul's. Good song."

PAUL circa-1994: "I wrote 'Things We Said Today' on acoustic (guitar). It was a slightly nostalgic thing already, a future nostalgia: we'll remember the things we said today, sometime in the future, so the song projects itself into the future and then is nostalgic about the moment we're living now, which is quite a good trick."


JOHN 1980: "That's me again... another Wilson Pickett, Motown sound... a four-in-the-bar cowbell song."


JOHN 1964: "I'd find it a drag to play rhythm all the time, so I always work myself out something interesting to play. The best example I can think of is like I did on 'You Can't Do That.' There really isn't a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist on that, because I feel the rhythm guitarist role sounds too thin for records. Anyway it drove me potty to play chunk-chunk rhythm all the time. I never play anything as lead guitarist that George couldn't do better. But I like playing lead sometimes, so I do it."

JOHN 1980: "That's me doing Wilson Pickett. You know, a cowbell going four-in-the bar, and the chord going 'chatoong!'"


JOHN 1972: "A nice tune, though the middle is a bit tatty."

JOHN 1980: "'I'll Be Back' is me completely. My variation of the chords in a Del Shannon song."

PAUL circa-1994: "'I'll Be Back' was co-written, but it was largely John's idea."


PAUL 1964: "Sometimes maybe he (John) will write a whole song himself, or I will, but we always say that we've both written it. Sometimes the lyric does come first, sometimes the tune-- sometimes both together. Sometimes he'll do one line, sometimes I'll do one line. It's very varied."

JOHN 1964: "Paul and I enjoyed writing the music for the film, but there were times when we honestly thought we'd never get time to write all the material. We managed to get a couple finished while we were in Paris, and three more completed in America soaking up sun on Miami Beach."

PAUL 1996: "Most of the songs that John and I wrote together were kinda pulled out of thin air. That was the thing about John and me that I still marvel at... because we had been 16 year olds together. He'd come over to my house and we'd smoke Ty-Phoo tea in my dad's pipe. And because we'd done all that, by the time we got around to 'A Hard Day's Night,' we sort of expected that we sat down together to write a song and have a little bit of fun-- simply because we were used to doing it. That was how we did what we did."


PAUL 1964: "These recent session in the studio have shown us one thing. It doesn't get any easier. Already we've got the 'knockers' saying that we can't get to number one again and that we must be running out of ideas. That's where the pressure comes in. The fans are marvellous, but some of the others make it clear they'd like it if we had a flop. We worry much more now and it seems that with every hit it gets that bit tougher. But we're pretty pleased with the material we've got out of it all... even if we finished one of the songs literally as we were getting ready to make a recording of it."

PAUL circa-1994: "Normally John and I would go in the studio, sit down with the guys and say, 'Right, what are we going to do?' I'd say to John, 'Do you want to do that one of yours or shall we do this one of mine? Which shall we play 'em first?' We'd show it to the band over the course of twenty minutes, possibly half an hour. Ringo would stand around with a pair of drumsticks which he might tap on a seat or a packng case. John and I would sit with our two guitars. George would bring his guitar and see what chords we were doing and figure out what he could do. George Martin would sit down with us and then we would separate, go to each instrument and come out ready to fight. And within the next hour we would have done it-- we would have decided how we were going to play the song. If for some reason it needed to be mixed quickly we would go upstairs to the control room, but we often left it up to them and just went home. But as things went on, we might go up to the control room more often."


- Beatles At The Movies- Roy Carr, 1996
- Beatles Book Monthly
- Beatles Recording Sessions- Mark Lewisohn, 1988
- Beatlesongs- William J. Dowlding, 1989
- Billboard Magazine/Harrison, 1999
- David Frost Interview/McCartney
- Final Testament: 'Unedited' Lennon/Playboy Interviews
- Let It Be- movie/sessions dialog
- Many Years From Now- Barry Miles, 1997
- Playboy Magazine/McCartney
- Press conferences and archived audio interviews
- Rolling Stone Magazine/Lennon
- The Beatles- Hunter Davies
- The Beatles In Their Own Words- Barry Miles 1978