A Hard Day's Night was the first Beatles album of all-original material, and the first to feature George Harrison playing his Rickenbacker electric 12-string guitar (on the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night," for instance). The distinctive sound of the 12-string inspired countless guitarists including Roger McGuinn and David Crosby of the Byrds. The film from which these songs hail remains a classic combination of happy '60s naivete and nascent hipster wit. Many of the most important rock bands to emerge in the latter half of the '60s came into being because of A Hard Day's Night's irresistible vibrancy. The tunes flow like the finest red wine, as the title track leads to the glorious harmonica of "I Should Have Known Better" and the powerfully poignant "If I Fell."
All Music Guide
A Hard Day's Night is the third UK album by The Beatles, released on 10 July 1964 as the soundtrack to their first film of the same name on Parlophone in mono (catalogue number PMC 1230) and stereo (PCS 3058.) The album, their fourth U.S. release, was released on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records with a different tracklisting.
While showcasing the development of the band's songwriting talents, the album sticks to the basic rock and roll instrumentation and song format. It is notable as the first Beatles album to feature entirely original compositions (and the only one with a song catalog credited entirely to Lennon/McCartney). The album contains some of their most famous songs, including the title track (with its distinct, instantly recognizable opening chord) and "Can't Buy Me Love", both being transatlantic number one singles for the band. The album and film are said to portray the classic image of the Beatles, as it was released at the height of Beatlemania.
George Harrison's resonant 12-string electric guitar leads were hugely influential; the movie helped persuade the Byrds, then folksingers, to plunge all out into rock & roll, and the Beatles (along with Bob Dylan) would be hugely influential on the folk-rock explosion of 1965. The Beatles' success, too, had begun to open the U.S. market for fellow Brits like the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Kinks, and inspired young American groups like the Beau Brummels, Lovin' Spoonful, and others to mount a challenge of their own with self-penned material that owed a great debt to Lennon-McCartney. The title of the album (and of the film) is said to have been the accidental creation of drummer Ringo Starr, though the phrase is used in John Lennon's contemporary book In His Own Write and was reputedly used at least once by him during the Hamburg era.
Side one of the LP contains the songs from the movie soundtrack. Side two contains songs written for, but not included in, the film, although a 1980s re-release of the movie includes a prologue before the opening credits with "I'll Cry Instead" on the soundtrack. This is also the first Beatles album to be recorded on four-track tape, allowing for good stereo mixes. Despite this, the 1987 Compact Disc release of this album is currently available only in mono, though many of the tracks appeared in stereo on CD for the first time with the release of the boxset The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 in 2004. "A Hard Day's Night" and "Can't Buy Me Love" both appear in stereo on the 1962?1966 compilation. "I Should Have Known Better" and "You Can't Do That" have yet to be released in true stereo on CD. In 2000, Q placed A Hard Day's Night at number five in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. In 2003, the album was ranked number 388 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. This album will finally be reissued in stereo on CD on 9 September 2009.