I’ve heard it said before that this was the first pop record where all of the material was written by its performers, and I’m not so sure about such a claim. I’d even doubt it was the first record by a beat group to be fully self-composed. Surely not…
Another thing I’ve read in the odd book or magazine is that one way of quantifying The Beatles’ classic period is their output between the crashing G chord that opens this album, and the crashing E chord that closes Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. That’s too overly simplistic for me – there’s a fair bit of fluff between those two moments, and far too much good stuff on either side, especially after 1967, for it to make any sense.
The strength of this album really shows how weak its follow-up, Beatles For Sale, is. That album really comes across as a shuffle sideways, and shows a band falling back on safe material – rock and roll covers – back from even their Hamburg days. If they’d have had time to compose a second album as strong as this in 1964, we might have another five or six Beatlemania-era Lennon & McCartney songs in the Beatles songbook.
Lennon’s output on this album is very strong, and I think possibly his strongest album in terms of compositions versus McCartney. I remember at one dull point during university, I counted the number of Lennon songs and McCartney songs on each album, and this album marks Lennon’s strongest count, with McCartney’s strongest period during Sgt. Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour when Lennon had become disillusioned with the idea of being a pop star.
Hit: A Hard Day’s Night
Hidden Gem: Any Time At All