RANKING THE BEATLES ALBUMS- FROM BOTTOM TO TOP #6- A HARD DAY’S NIGHT

A grid of 20 black and white head shots of the Beatles – John, George, Paul, and Ringo

We are now up to #6 in ranking The Beatles albums from bottom to the top- to review at #13- Yellow Submarine, #12-The Beatles For Sale, #11- Let It Be, #10- With The Beatles, #9- Please Please Me, #8- Help! #7- Magical Mystery Tour and now #6- A Hard Day’s Night.

A Hard Day’s Night was the soundtrack to The Beatles first movie and it was released in the summer of 1964- the first new Beatles album released after Beatlemania had hit America. It was their third album and their first album to contain all original material written by the band.

There is no way of course to prove this but I am willing to bet that the combination of the A Hard Day’s Night movie and album inspired more people to pick up  guitars and become rock musicians and form a band than any other album that The Beatles released. And to add on to that I bet there were numerous young musicians who saw the movie/ heard the album who switched musical directions from say playing folk to rock.

Image result for the beatles a hard days night images

The first two albums which were released exactly eight months apart in 1963 have a similar sound- and both had eight original songs and six covers- A Hard Day’s Night released just shy of eight months after With The Beatles contain 13 originals- and although they still sound like The Beatles of the first two albums- the songwriting- all Lennon- McCartney written-is a lot more focused and the sound is starting to progress. They weren’t going to repeat the same winning formula they had. If they had repeated the first two albums and not moved on- I would guess they the end of 1965 their career would have taken a nose dive. The Dean of Rock Journalism- Robert Christgau sums it up well- “The Lennon-McCartney songs are more sophisticated than before”  Critic Dave Donnelly observes “short, peppy” pop songs characterised by layered vocals, immediate choruses, and understated instrumentation.” In 1980 Elvis Costello released an album called “Get Happy” I think that title would have worked fine with this album- of all The Beatles albums-  A Hard Day’s Night always seems to make me Get Happy.

There were two #1 hit singles on the album- “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night” and two other hits- “I’ll Cry Instead” and “And I Love Her.” In America in 1964 the charts were owned by The Beatles with past hits from the UK also flowing in once they hit American the previous winter. The singles are certainly highlights but songs like If I Fell -which may be my favorite track on the album- And I Love Her- a McCartney highlight, I Should Have Known Better and others are just as outstanding. The closing song “I’ll Be Back” wasn’t used in the film and is a hidden gem- another song showing the growing songwriting maturity.

 

Image result for the beatles a hard days night images

This is in many ways a showcase for John Lennon- he was the primary writer on nine of the thirteen songs. The songs are short ones- they range from the shortest I’ll Cry Instead” at 1:45 to the longest I Should Have Known Better at  2:43. There is only one song on the album that to me is a little iffy- the song John wrote for George to sing “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You”- it doesn’t rank with the rest of the album. John later said he wrote it for George to give him a piece of the action-[at the time George’s songwriting was in its early stages} and that it was a song he couldn’t have sung. It does sound like a throwaway that John wrote quickly. This is one of the few albums were Ringo doesn’t have a song to sing- but I think it is in the movie where Ringo shines. The movie is just as much fun as the album. Clearly the best Beatles movie.

It is to the point in the countdown where it is very difficult to rank these albums. I was very tempted to place this album a notch or two higher. I went back and forth on it but finally thought #6 is the proper slot for it. I can understand if others would rank it higher.

 

Image result for a hard days night images

Advertisements

20 responses to “RANKING THE BEATLES ALBUMS- FROM BOTTOM TO TOP #6- A HARD DAY’S NIGHT

  1. I guessed right… I think “I’ll Cry Instead” is a progression… from the first two albums. It has a little different feel and pointed toward the future… The “I have a chip on my shoulder thats bigger than my feet” line is what stands out to me.

    • Yes that was a great line. I don’t know where they found time to write these songs. Incredible that all the songs were originals. Now down to 5- which album won’t make the Final 4?

    • That might have been Lennon soaking some early Dylan up…
      The one I would pick at number 5 would be VERY surprising to some people.

      The wildcard album is the White Album…that one is hard to place…it’s so different and people relate to it differently.

    • Different moods also effect albums as well as songs in how you feel about them. Over the years- If I had done this ten years ago there would most likely have been a different order… 40 years ago the same..

    • Any albums I have ranked in a place where you would have them ranked far differently? Say a couple places up or down?

    • The only one at first…I’ll make that clear at first…was With the Beatles and Please Please…but…no you were right because of the strength of the originals…Please Please Me, I Saw Her Standing There and even Love Me do plus maybe the best cover they ever did…Twist and Shout…. If it would have been the American Meet The Beatles (which is the one I remember…being the first Beatle album I listened to) I would have flipped them…but no…not the UK version. So far I agree

      I have a bad habit of over analyzing things…I spend my lunch walking usually listening to audiobooks…not today…instead coming up with the top 5.

    • Don’t know how I didn’t see this response yesterday evening.. It is odd the American and UK versions- for the first dozen years as a fan I was listening to the American versions- it took a few years to remember what was exactly on some of the UK versions… now I can’t remember what was on those early American albums.

    • With I Want To Hold Your Hand, I Saw Here Standing There it is pretty strong. I’m trying to get to know the UK version more… I had to look up With The Beatles again and then I saw what you were talking about.

    • I don’t know why the rest of their albums I have the UK version in mind…but only this one…probably because it was the first I listened to and I knew the track listing by heart.

    • I envy people- especially young people who are just discovering the group and their recordings. I can recall in detail- over 40 years ago my first reactions to hearing the individual songs- how wonderful the experience was. It still is of course but the first 6 months or so of being a fan and collecting the albums- it was like making an incredible discovery.

    • I know…you only have one “first time.” I’ve seen it first hand with my son again. Today it’s different. It took a while but he realized that getting the albums and listening to all the songs was the way to go… Not one here and there but as a whole.

    • Yes the way things are listened to now has changed- to me the album will be always the essential. I love singles but was only briefly a singles buyer back in my early days of listening to music. Even in the days now of downloading- i have to have the album.

    • If not you are missing sometimes the better songs. With that post you had about CD’s and also albums coming back…hopefully that is a sign of a change.

    • I was looking at the chart on CD sales- a slow rise up- peaks around 2000 and then the slow decline- I would like to see in a few years the chart going back up.. hopefully the cd’s and albums will made a big return. No one talks about their favorite downloads!

  2. Pingback: RANKING THE BEATLES ALBUMS- FROM BOTTOM TO TOP #6- A HARD DAY’S NIGHT - The Greatest Never·

Comments are closed.