Rocks In The Attic #237: The Beatles – ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (1964)

RITA#237Arguably the first classic Beatles record, and definitely the first one where the band seems to be firing on all cylinders, this is a great thirty minutes of music.

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

5 thoughts on “Rocks In The Attic #237: The Beatles – ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (1964)

  1. Matthew Gibson

    At least all the songs on Little Deuce Coupe were written by the Beach Boys. That was from 63 so I guess pre dates this. Most claims about the Beatles are not true. Especially the ‘best band ever’ type claims.
    I can buy those golden period ideas though, 64-67 the Beatles might have been the best band around, apart from Dylan. After 67 they got left behind.

    Reply
  2. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

    Yeah, always thought that compositions one sounded a little suspicious. It might be a British thing – but surely there’d be another British group

    The ‘Best Band Ever’ debate is subjective anyway, but although they may have changed the face of music more than any other group (and you can’t really deny that), I’m pretty sure that if they hadn’t existed another band would have simply filled the gap.

    I’m just thankful it wasn’t Freddie And The Dreamers.

    Reply
  3. Matthew Gibson

    And obviously it depends what counts as a pop record. I’m sure that plenty of people had already released albums of originals. The Beatles get the credit for the first everything. Except, weirdly the first pop video. They made a promotional video for Strawberry Fields Forever (although I’ve seen an Animals video which well predates that). Which is to say that “first ever” claims are spurious. As are, as you say, best ever claims.

    And I certainly wouldn’t try to play down the Beatles’ influence – it’s immeasurable. In much the same way, the Beach Boys are rubbish, but obviously a big influence. My opinion is that the Beatles have been overtaken by a lot of bands since then. If I’d been around in the 60s I’m sure I’d say the Beatles were the best ever. Man.

    Reply
    1. mrjohnnyandrews Post author

      They did a video for Paperback Writer / Rain, where they’re walking around Kew Gardens, and miming along to the music, and that was at least a year before the Strawberry Fields video. But I’m under no illusions that that was the first one either.

      Reply
  4. Pingback: Rocks In The Attic #355: The Beatles – ‘With The Beatles’ (1963) | Vinyl Stylus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s