Alun Owen began work on the original screenplay late last autumn. Producer Walter Shenson and director Richard Lester watcher their newest screen stars at work over Christmas and the New Year on the stage of the Finsbury Park 'Astoria' in London. John and Paul began to compile a collection of new compositions for the soundtrack while The Beatles were appearing in the Paris 'Olympia' last January. One morning early in March a specially chartered train moved out of Paddington station and the first day's shooting of The Beatles' first feature film got under way.
Reel upon reel of precious film had filled the camera crew's metal cans before a title had been selected for the United Artists picture. Then Ringo casually came up with the name at the end of a particularly strenuous session on the film set. 'It's been a hard day's night that was!' he declared, squatting for a moment at the arm of his canvas chair behind the line of cameras and technicians. The film, which also stars Wilfred Brambell in the role of Paul's (mythical) Irish grandfather, was promptly named 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT'.
The story depicts something like 48 consecutive hours of activity in the bustling lives of four beat group boys. Named John, Paul, George, and Ringo. A Hard Day's Night is heard at the very beginning of the film as the boys sing and play over the opening titles. The number features John's double-tracked voice, producing a duet effect. Its brisk, compelling theme crops up in orchestral form elsewhere during the film as part of recording manager George Martin's instrumental soundtrack score.
John's I Should Have Known Better makes an early appearance in the film during a railway sequence when the four boys are seen playing cards in the guard's van of the train.
John and Paul share the vocal action on If I Fell, the first of four songs featured in extensive theatre/studio sequences which show the group rehearsing and finally performing in a television spectacular. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You gives George a chance to handle the lead vocal, And I Love Her hands the solo spotlight to Paul who is joined by John for Tell Me Why.
The last of the soundtrack's magnificent seven, Can't Buy Me Love, has already been a worldwide disc hit for The Beatles. In 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT' it forms the musical backdrop to several different scenes---when the boys are seen chasing across a field after a quick-fire getaway from the television studio and when the incredible race between Beatles, fans and police takes place with the boys tearing along streets and down alleyways in double-quick time!
Creating and perfecting completely new compositions for the soundtrack of 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT' presented John and Paul with one of the greatest challenges of their pop-penning career. In the past their song-writing had been done at a more leisurely pace. Now they had a shooting schedule deadline to meet and the entire collection of fresh numbers had to be compiled during a session of concerts in Paris and a now legendary visit to America. To assist their work the two boys had a grand-piano moved into their hotel suite at the George V in Paris.
By the beginning of March the task was complete and The Beatles had a total of almost a dozen new songs ready for final rehearsal. At every stage of its conception and production care was taken to see that 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT' would not turn into a continuous parade of Beatle performances. After all the Beatles themselves had agreed that the film should portray as many different facets of the four boys' individual personalities as possible. Indeed the comedy content was, and is, of paramount importance, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo are afforded maximum opportunity to display their on-the-spot sense of humor.
It became apparent that no more than six new songs should be introduced via the soundtrack of the film. To increase this number would have left insufficient screen-time for the action of the plot. On the other hand it seemed most unfair to hold back on the remainder of the boys' new songs when each one was of such excellent quality. Eventually the decision was made to record all the material which John and Paul had written and include the extra titles on the second side of this album.
Although the voice of George Harrison is much in evidence throughout the album the solo vocal activity on the second side is shared between the songs' composers, John and Paul. Paul handles the lyrics of Things We Said Today and he's heard in duet with John on I'll Cry Instead. For the main part John's is When I Get Home, You Can't Do That and I'll Be Back although George and Paul back up his efforts strongly on all titles.
When you listen to the second side of this record you will agree that it would have been a pity to cast aside such a fabulous set of songs solely because they couldn't be fitted into the structure of 'A HARD DAY'S NIGHT'. Now, with this album in your library, you have a collection of Beatles recordings which is comprehensive and up to date. At the same time it is interesting to remember that the LP housed within this sleeve is the first-ever album release to be made up entirely of self-composed and self-performed Beatle compositions.
Produced for records by GEORGE MARTIN
Cover Notes by TONY BARROW
Last modified: August 11, 1994