A sample of "Uncle Joe's Record Guide - The Beatles" (a history).
The Beatles

This is a direct excerpt from UNCLE JOE'S RECORD GUIDE - The BEATLES, as printed in November 1990. Copyright (c) 1990 by J. Benson Unlimited. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic means including information storage and retrieval systems without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review. An expanded, updated version of this book is scheduled for release in October 1998.


The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
(17-14) *compact disc*
3rd U.K. LP, released 7/10/64 - 4th U.S. LP, released 6/26/64. The movie deal for A Hard Day's Night had been put together in late 1963, before the Beatles became a worldwide phenomenon. The movie portrayed their lives with a fair amount of accuracy - that alone made it a classic.
   On January 17, 1964, while the group was spending three weeks in Paris opening for Trini Lopez, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was certified a million-seller in America. The Beatles had finally conquered the States. The next day, they went into a Paris studio, re-cut the vocal tracks for "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and rerecorded all of "She Loves You," both with German lyrics. Then they recorded "Can't Buy Me Love." By the end of the Lopez gig, the seven songs that would be included in the movie A Hard Day's Night had been written and arranged. A quick trip to America for another Ed Sullivan TV Show and a few concert dates was followed by more recording before the A Hard Day's Night filming began on the first of March 1964.
   While this album was basically the movie's soundtrack, it also marked the first time the Beatles filled an entire album with original music (and the only time they did so with just Lennon/McCartney songs). The success and subsequent royalties generated by their first two albums meant more freedom and creativity in the studio for the boys - and it showed. Even though this had the most sophisticated arrangements to date, the music still had a raw, exciting edge. Most of the songs for the movie were recorded in late February 1964. At the end of the six weeks of filming in May, the Beatles took a well-deserved, three-week vacation. When they returned, the first two days of June were spent recording the second side of this album and finishing their fifth British EP. Most of the second side of A Hard Day's Night was released in the States as Something New and Beatles '65.
   One of the by-products of the A Hard Day's Night sessions was the Beatles' hard-rocking, 4-song Long Tall Sally EP - still considered to be one of the finest EP releases ever. With two new songs recorded as part of the A Hard Day's Night project, the Long Tall Sally EP was released in England before the A Hard Day's Night album; it sent all of Britain into a frenzy for the movie's premiere. Of the four songs released on the Long Tall Sally EP, two - "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name" - had previously appeared in the U.S. on The Beatles' Second Album. The other two songs - the Beatles' covers of "Slow Down" and "Matchbox" - were released as an U.S. single four months after the A Hard Day's Night album, and then included on the American Something New album.
   Averaging 22 years of age, the Beatles were worked to the bone even before their first real U.S. tour. A whirlwind European/Australian tour was scheduled for mid-June 1964, but Ringo came down with tonsillitis just 24 hours before the first concert. Session man Jimmy Nicol was pulled from obscurity to fill in on drums. After those dates, Jimmy slipped back into oblivion, and the Beatles barely had time to rest before they were back on the road.
   The A Hard Day's Night movie premiered in London on July 6, 1964, and the album and first single (the title track) entered the British charts at #1 four days later. The A Hard Day's Night album ultimately stayed at #1 on both the American and British charts for four months! With Beatlemania raging, the band began their first full U.S. tour at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on August 18, 1964. They finished it one month later in New York.
** Special Note: Released on United Artists Records (instead of Capitol Records) as part of the Beatles' movie deal, the American version of this album was radically different. It contained the Beatles' songs from the movie interspersed with orchestrated instrumentals from the soundtrack. Thankfully, only the original British version of A Hard Day's Night is available on compact disc.

A Hard Day's Night - Side One

All of these songs were featured in the movie and on the U.S. version of the album.

  1. John Lennon's song "A Hard Day's Night" was inspired by a quip from Ringo. The last song completed for the movie, it was written, arranged, rehearsed and recorded in a little more than 24 hours. "A Hard Day's Night" became the Beatles' third straight single to hit #1 on both the U.K. and U.S. charts within a week of its release on July 10. It also sold over two million copies and won 1964's Best Performance by a Vocal Group Grammy Award.

  2. John wrote "I Should Have Known Better." Recorded February 25, 1964, it was one of the first songs finished for the movie. The mono mix of this track featured a complete harmonica part in the beginning (the harmonica in the stereo mix dropped out momentarily). As the flipside to "A Hard Day's Night" in the States, "I Should Have Known Better" charted at #53 in mid-July.

  3. "If I Fell" was another Lennon composition. When it was recorded on February 27, 1964, John and Paul were so confident of their harmonies, they used a single microphone for the vocals. Lennon's vocals were not doubled tracked in the mono mix of this song. As the B-side of "And I Love Her," "If I Fell" charted at #53 in the States.

  4. John wrote and George Harrison sang "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You." The recording on March 1 was the last before production of the movie began. Used as the flipside of "I'll Cry Instead," this reached #95 on the American charts.

  5. "And I Love Her" was Paul McCartney's song, supposedly inspired by Jane Asher (his girlfriend at the time). The Beatles first worked on this February 25, and finished it two days later. The stereo mix of this track featured Paul's vocals double tracked, and the ending guitar riff repeated six times instead of four. "And I Love Her" hit #12 on the U.S. charts in August 1964.

  6. Lennon's catchy "Tell Me Why" was recorded February 27, 1964. That such an obvious hit was never released as a single because they so many other stronger songs told volumes about the depth of the Beatles talent. The mono mix of this song lacked Lennon's double tracked vocals.

  7. "Can't Buy Me Love" was written by McCartney while in Paris and recorded there on January 29, 1964. In March 1964, this became the Beatles' second British single to enter the charts at #1 and their third American #1 hit, spending five weeks at the top. It still holds the record for the highest advance sales of any single - over a million copies in Britain and 2.1 million in the States before its release. The stereo version of "Can't Buy Me Love" was considered to be one of the most intricately produced rock & roll songs of its time.

A Hard Day's Night - Side Two

These were the songs that neither made it into the movie A Hard Day's Night nor on the American version of the album. However, these were all eventually released in the U.S. on Something New and Beatles '65. With the exception of " You Can't Do That," all of these songs were recorded June 1 and 2, 1964, just after the Beatles returned from their short post-movie vacation.

  1. "Any Time At All" was a John Lennon tune recorded June 2.

  2. John wrote "I'll Cry Instead" for the movie A Hard Day's Night, but at the last minute it was cut from the film by director Richard Lester. Recorded in two sections on June 1, it was later edited together. "I'll Cry Instead" hit #25 on the American charts in August 1964.

  3. Paul McCartney wrote " Things We Said Today." It was recorded in just three takes on June 2 and used as the B-side of the British "A Hard Day's Night" single.

  4. "When I Get Home," another of Lennon's songs, was one of the last numbers recorded for this album.

  5. "You Can't Do That" was written by John and recorded during the first sessions for A Hard Days Night on February 25, 1964. This was the first Beatles song to feature George Harrison's 12-string guitar. As the B-side of "Can't Buy Me Love," it charted at #48 in the States in March 1964.

  6. "I'll Be Back" was another Lennon tune recorded on June 1, 1964, just after the group returned from their post-movie vacation.