Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Hard Day's Night

"A Hard Day's Night" was the Beatles third LP to be released on Parlophone by EMI in the UK. It was also the first soundtrack to the first (and arguably the best) Beatles full length motion picture. It was and remains the only UK LP to feature all original material whereby the songs were written exclusively by John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

The sessions for the LP were started as early as January 1964 and continued well into June 1964. Most of the recordings were done in early March, mid to late April, one session in May and a few in early June. Of course, during the recording of the third LP and first movie soundtrack, The Beatles also played the USA, filmed the movie, performed for various BBC radio shows, did television appearances, tons of interviews were conducted and they were also recording their latest EP which was previously reviewed in earlier posts.

The "A Hard Day's Night" LP was released on Friday July 10 1964 as Parlophone PMC 1230 (monuaral) and PCS 3058 (stereo). Both versions were released on the same day.

In the United States and Canada, the "butchering" of the Beatles' LPs continued. "A Hard Day's Night" was released as a United Artist soundtrack on June 26 1964. The LP was released in both mono UA 6366 and stereo UAS 6366. The weird thing is that only eight songs were actually performed by the Beatles ( four on each side )and four of the tracks ( two on each side )were instrumentals by the George Martin Orchestra. Not only that: the stereo version of the United Artist soundtrack had the Beatles' recordings in mono only - including the so-called "stereo" version of the LP. In fact, the only stereo recordings on the stereo version were the George Martin instrumentals. How Tacky !!

Of course, Beatlemania was in full stride in the States and Capitol Records took full advantage of it. They released their own version of the soundtrack via an LP entitled "Something New". This LP was released on July 20 1964 in mono (T-2108) and stereo (ST-2108). It contained only four tracks from the movie, four tracks from the B side of the UK version, the second side of the "Long Tall Sally" UK EP and the German vocal dubbed "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand". You would have thought they could have also included "Sie Leibt Dich", No? Anyway, typical Capitol Records mis-matching. This atrocious way of released North American counterpart LPs would continue until 1967.

There were two single released from the tracks recorded for the movie soundtrack: In the UK, the first single was "Can't Buy Me Love/ You Can't Do That" which was put out on March 20 1964. The next single was released on the same day as the LP: "A Hard Day's Night/ Things We Said Today". Both singles were on the Parlophone label.

In North America, several singles were released by Capitol records which contained tunes recorded for the movie soundtrack: "Can't Buy Me Love/ You Can't Do That" was put out on March 16 1964, "A Hard Day's Night/ I Should Have Known Better" was put out on July 13 1964, "I'll Cry Instead/ I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" was put out on July 20 1964, "And I Love Her/ If I Fell" which was also put out on July 20 1964. All three of these soundtrack singles boast very beautiful picture sleeves which are now very collectible.

Needless to say, the LP in all configurations hit number 01 all over the world.

We'll be looking at each individual track in the next few posts.

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