A Hard Day's Night
Emi Ltd Records
Once the title of
the film was found for A Hard Day's Night, The Beatles
only had to compose a song sticking to the title. It is John Lennon who buckled
down to the most part of it with the help of Paul for the bridge. This is one of the rare songs written on
order by the Lennon/McCartney tandem.
The recording of the song was made in Abbey Road, April 16, 1964, too late for The Beatles to play it during the shooting of the film. Thus, the song will only be used as a basic musical background for the opening scene of the film.
This piece is a strong and enthusiastic song that has all the necessary qualities to become the opening title (of a movie or of an album). The lead vocal is performed by John in double-tracking, Paul adding his voice for the harmonies.
The solo of guitar, played by George Harrison, is very fast and was indeed accelerated through the mixing of the takes.
On the musical point of
view, this title features several innovating characteristics.
First, one recognizes instantaneously the piece of music thanks to its introduction in the form of a special chord played by George Harrison on his 12-strings Rickenbacker. This chord seems to float in the air as the everlasting final chord usually played for closing a song.
Second, for the first time, The Beatles adopt a configuration in which each of the two composers sings the part that he wrote. Thus Paul has the lead vocal for the bridge and John has the lead for the main part of the song. This configuration will be then widespread used on many forthcoming compositions.
Through this new configuration, one can also notice another feature of their style, namely the merry optimism of Paul and the sour cynicism of John, Paul singing :
When I'm home, everything seems to be aright
When I'm home, feeling you holding me tight, tight, yeah !
and John carrying on with :
It's been a hard day's night
And I've been working like a dog !
Lastly, a new technical gadget makes its appearance by the means of the fading which makes it possible to finish the song by a progressive attenuation of the sound volume.
This technique too will be widespread used thereafter as well as the double-tracking and the over-dubbing.
The original version of the song appears on the album A Hard Day's Night .
The song will be recorded twice by the BBC and it will be abundantly played on stage in 1964 and in 1965. Among the various versions available, one finds: