Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bright Are The Stars That Shine

The fifth song on the "A Hard Day's Night" soundtrack is the third "power ballad" for the Beatles in the sense that the first LP saw the cover tune "A Taste Of Honey" whereby the second LP saw another cover tune entitled "Till There Was You" and finally this LP which featured an original Lennon/McCartney (mainly Paul) tune entitled "And I Love Her".

"And I Love Her" was not only the third in a trilogy of now-called "power ballads" on the records, but all three feature a McCartney vocal. No wonder that McCartney was gaining a reputation for being more of a balladeer than a rocker. This thinking would contiue to years and years during and after the Beatles short career. Even today, Lennon is considered more "edgy" than McCartney and the latter is known for writing and performing "Silly Love Songs". Of course, this is totally false as McCartney could be a tough rocking songwriter while Lennon could write tender ballads with the best of them. Think of this: "Long Tall Sally", "Helter Skelter", "Back in the USSR", etc. - all mainly McCartney. "If I Fell", "This Boy", "Yes It Is", "Julia", "Goodnight", etc. - all mainly Lennon.

"And I Love Her" started life on February 25 1964 in studio two. The recording took place on a Tuesday and was recorded in the afternoon. At this stage, rather than being an acoustic number, the song used electric guitars and drums. There were two attempts at the song, with the second attempt (named take two) being featured on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 1" compilation. The Beatles were not happy with these attempts and they tried again the next day February 26 1964 always in Studio Two. This time 16(!!) takes were attempted and once again the sound was not quite right although it had been decided this day to have Ringo play percussion rather than the drum kit. Finally, the third attempt at the song and the one we all know and love was recorded the next day on February 27 1964 with two takes and the second take being used as the master. This time the Beatles had played strictly acoustic instrument to great success.

"And I Love Her" was first mixed for mono on Tuesday March 03 1964 yet this mix contained Paul's vocal single tracked with the exception of the title words and the middle eight. This particular first mix was sent to United Artist and Capitol Records on June 09 1964 after a tape copy. The song was re-mixed for mono a second time on June 22 1964 and this mix was used for the UK soundtrack. This time Paul's vocal is double tracked througout the song with the exception of the first "Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky" lyrics. The song was mixed for stereo on the same day as the second mono mix - essentially June 09 1964. Finally, a third stereo mix appeared on the German version of the "Something New" LP. This curiousity actually extended the end of the last bars from four to six. I have no idea why nor does anyone else seem to know.

"And I Love Her" is available on the Parlophone UK LP/CD "A Hard Day's Night" as well as the North American United Artists LP version of "A Hard Day's Night". It is also contained on the North American Capitol US LP/CD "Something New". The song appears on the Apple 2-LP/2-CD "The Beatles 1962-1966" compilation. It is also on the EMI/Capitol 2-LP compilation "Love Songs" as well as the US Capitol version of the LP "Rarities"(which contains the extra musical bars at the end of the tune). The song is also on the EMI/Capitol LP: "Reel Music" and finally is available as take 2 from the February 25 session on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 1".

The scene in the film where the song is performed is definitely one of the highlights of the movie. The advent of music video was a far away idea, but the lighting and direction of this movie preceeds these advances nicely indeed!

"And I Love Her" was performed once for BBC radio on an episode of "Top Gear".

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