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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A new label, a new album, A HARD DAY'S NIGHT

The decision-makers at United Artists had either remarkable foresight or extraordinary good luck in October of 1963 when they secured the rights to a feature film starring an English rock and roll band called the Beatles.  It was probably a combination of both, but the fact of the matter is that the group was completely unknown in America at that time, yet one of the main reasons that United Artists signed them to make a film was to also get the exclusive rights to the accompanying soundtrack album for release in the US market - a curious roll of the dice, to say the least.

But even before filming began in March of '64, the United Artists gamble paid off as the Fab Four unexpectedly became the hottest property in show business in the intervening months.  The only worry, if there was one, was that their popularity might peak before the film and album could be completed and released.  United Artists was permitted to issue their album on June 26th, a few weeks ahead of the film's premiere and even ahead of the British album of the same name, thus making seven of these songs world premieres.

SIDE ONE

A Hard Day's Night
Tell Me Why
I'll Cry Instead
I Should Have Known Better - instrumental
I'm Happy Just to Dance with You
And I Love Her - instrumental

SIDE TWO

I Should Have Known Better
If I Fell
And I Love Her
Ringo's Theme (This Boy) - instrumental
Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night - instrumental

I'll Cry Instead (which is not an actual soundtrack song) is incorrectly listed on both the back cover and the label as I Cry Instead.

I'm sure I was not alone in hating the instrumentals by the George Martin orchestra, which interrupted the flow of each side of the album for me but, while the compositions and (to some extent) the recordings of the Beatles have a timeless quality about them, these instrumentals are positively stuck in time.  They are a perfect representation of how rock and roll was homogenized for the older generation in popular entertainment in 1964, and I now find them to be absolutely wonderful, especially the insanely kitschy version of And I Love Her.

Thankfully, the entire album is now available on CD both individually and as part of the 2014 release The Beatles U.S. Albums.   

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