Best of the Beatles: A Hard Day's Night

After the last thread in this series, where “All My Loving” is in the lead for the best song on With the Beatles, it’s time for their next studio album, A Hard Day’s Night. Love the Beatles? Vote for your favorite song! Hate the Beatles? Vote for the least-painful song!
A few facts about the album: A Hard Day’s Night is actually a soundtrack for the film by the same name - the title originated as an off the cuff malapropism from Ringo after a long night. It’s also the only Beatles’ album entirely comprised of Lennon-McCartney songs. A Hard Day’s Night is often said to represent a huge leap in the band’s abilities; it’s really their first “legendary” album. With that, let’s vote!

My favorite Beatles album. I picked the A Hard Day’s Night song as a very slight winner over If I Fell. Any Time At All and When I Get Home are also great rockers.

I was torn between A Hard Day’s Night and Can’t Buy Me Love. Title song won out by a nose.

I Should Have Known Better, chosen because I love that scene in the movie.

This was a very difficult choice. I picked “A Hard Day’s Night” because of the opening chord, but “And I Love Her,” “Things We Said Today,” “You Can’t Do That” (mostly because of Harry Nilsson’s version), and “Can’t Buy Me Love” were all very close.

If I Fell. That intro is my favorite 20 seconds of their entire recorded catalogue.

Otherwise it would be hard for me to choose a favorite. AHDN is a very strong album, John Lennon’s masterpiece,

Yep, well said Treacherous!

Toughie. I went with “If I Fell” – audacious chord sequence, intro that appears nowhere else in the song, lovely harmonies – but I also adore “Tell Me Why” (joyous, youthful outburst), and “I’ll Be Back” is a fantastic acoustic number (which for me was on “Beatles '65,” not “AHDN”) – check out the attempt in the studio at doing it in 3/4 time, on Anthology! (“It’s too hard to sing!” – John)

This one contains a no-brainer for me - I Should Have Known Better - but there is not a song on the album that I wouldn’t enjoy listening to at any random moment.

Not the Beatles *best *album, but for me likely their most enjoyable.


Yeah, “I Should Have Known Better” is my fourth-favorite song from the album. Odd that it showed up again in 1970 on that weird “Hey Jude” hodgepodge LP (aka “Beatles Again”), along with tracks from various years that never made it to the American LPs or just were B-sides. Why was “ISHKB” on there? Just some mono vs. stereo thing or something?

Wikipedia to the rescue: ISHKB was never on a Capitol release, because the US soundtrack album of AHDK was released by United Artists. As if the public cared what company produced what album. All they knew was, “why this again?” (also “Can’t Buy Me Love.”)

This is when The Beatles really started to show how magnificent they were. Picking a favourite song from this album is like deciding who your favourite child is; it’s impossible.

I picked A Hard Day’s Night, but it could easily be I Should Have Known Better, If I Fell, Things We Said Today or I’ll Be Back.

My favorite is “Things We Said Today,” and that’s the one I voted for. Although, honestly, the greatest song on this album is “Hard Day’s Night.” I figure it’ll be the run-away winner, so I’ll throw my vote to the dark horse. I just love that modal minor sounds in the verses, and that progression and melody over “some day when I’m lonely wishing you weren’t so far away” gives me chills every time I hear it. It’s just an inspired run of chords that evokes great emotion in me every time I hear it. Then you got the cool change in tonality for the bridge, where it gets a bit more bluesy and rockin’ and back to the mysterious and moody verses. So much action packed into a song barely over 2 1/2 minutes long.

At some point early in The Beatles recording career, Brian Epstein and George Martin decided it would be unfair to make fans pay for the same song twice. So the UK albums did not usually include songs that had been released as singles or on EP. In the US, Capitol didn’t pay that much attention to that idea, which partially explains why there are more US albums than UK albums.

United Artists had the rights to the soundtrack album for AHDN. Capitol released Something New as their third US album which was released to coincide with the film’s release here. There’s a track listing at the link. It didn’t include AHDN or ISHNB, which were respectively the A and B sides of the US single release. The album Hey Jude was just a collection of singles (both sides, generally) that hadn’t already been released on an album in the US. Capitol had already partly done that with Magical Mystery Tour and that went over so well that Parlophone in the UK released it too.

I cast the fourth vote for And I Love Her. It’s just so beautifully mellow and heartfelt.

Yes! There are days when I would have voted for this. I’ve sung it (badly) as a lullaby to my toddler son a few times. The key switch up a half-step right at the start of the solo is sublime, and the claves are a classy touch. Because I first got to know it off the Red Album, for me the closing chord – a Picardy baroque major-chord surprise (delayed a few measures on the “Rarities” version) – leads right into the fade-in of “Eight Days a Week.”

As for “Things We Said Today,” I first got to know this one through the live “Hollywood Bowl” LP, so it has a different meaning for me, unassociated with AHDN.

And, thank you, RangerJeff, for those details.