Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Forgotten Beatles Week: "A Hard Day's Night"

What was it?
A Hard Day’s Night: the soundtrack album - featuring eight Beatles songs and four instrumentals.

As a result of a deal between EMI and United Artists before the Beatles signed with Capitol Records (and therefore before they were phenomenally popular in America), UA secured the rights to release a soundtrack album for the band’s first film. This was it.

It contains eight songs used in (or intended for) the film A Hard Day's Night, including the title track - which, interestingly, never appeared on a Capitol album during the band's active years.

The album spent an unprecedented fourteen weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts in 1964, prompting Capitol to rush the release of their own album (1964’s Something New) based on this material.

Why is it forgotten?
The worldwide release of the Beatles’ original UK catalog to CD (in 1987) relegated many unique American records - including this one - to "forgotten" status. When Capitol released its Beatles albums on CD (in 2004) - A Hard Day’s Night was skipped, despite Capitol owning the rights to release it (see below).

All of the Beatles songs on this record can be heard on the now-official A Hard Day’s Night (UK version) CD.

Fun Facts
After EMI acquired United Artists, this album started appearing (in 1980) on the Capitol label.

The Beatles’s tracks on this record were all mono mixes. The instrumentals, however, were in stereo.

The vinyl label of many pressings misspells the tracks “I’ll Cry Instead” and “Tell Me Why” as “I Cry Instead” and “Tell Me Who”

Personally, I’ve always preferred the album cover (and back cover) design of this record to the original British version. I think its one of the all-time great Beatles album covers.

Tomorrow: The top-selling double-album that featured almost no Beatles content whatsoever!