[63] The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night

20 Jun

So familiar.  So warm and comforting.  What could I possibly discover listening to a collection of songs I’ve been hearing on a regular basis for over three decades?

A Hard Day's Night

A Hard Day’s Night











Of course, this is a reasonable question not only of the slice of Rock ‘n’ Roll Beatlemania from 1964 that is A Hard Day’s Night, but also of the next five, increasingly more complex and cultured Beatles’ recordings Tom Moon has picked for his list.

But if this project has done anything, it has reminded me that I am game (not to mention stubborn, and driven, and opinionated) so I put on my listening ears and try to hear these 13 tracks without the baggage of fifty years.

Almost immediately I find myself wondering if I’ve ever noticed the cowbell in the classic title track.  The clangy, jangly guitar is exactly as I’ve always heard it, as are the raw rock vocals, but then the chorus kicks in and I’m in a Christopher Walken SNL sketch!

How do you process a song that is so ingrained in popular consciousness, so recognizable as to go by almost unnoticed?  Did the phrase “a hard day’s night” even exist before this release?  The cultural impact is Shakespearean.

And we are  only on the first track.

Thinking of the scope of Tom Moon’s project, it is hard to argue that everyone should hear this (along with a selection of other) Beatles’ albums, but is there really anyone (or at least anyone who might read the book) who isn’t already acquainted with the Fab Four?

Perhaps I’m giving the current generation too much credit.  Sure, The Beatles were a part of the soundtrack of my parents’ youth, and my friends and I gravitated to their vinyl copies of this wonderful music, but did the next generation dig through their parents’ tapes or CDs, or did they jump straight to ringtone MP3s and miss out?

Are the teens and twenty-something reading this blog Beatles fans?  Are there even any teens and twenty-something reading this blog . . . ?

Maybe the book is important.  Maybe there is a generation that needs to be told that they need to experience The Beatles before they die.

Or maybe everyone should just stay off my lawn . . .

What can I say that hasn’t already been written about these tunes?  There are the straight-ahead skiffle beats and rockabilly tinged RnR numbers that follow in a straight line from the band’s first two albums.  But we can also hear the first inklings that there is more to these four (three and a half?) musicians – the plaintive simplicity of “And I Love Her”, the close harmony of “If I Fell”, the frantic urgency of “Anytime At All” or “You Can’t Do That” seem larger, weightier than what had come before.

There really isn’t a weak song on the album. The hugely famous singles have held up ridiculously well over the years, and the (comparatively) lesser known songs are each a testament to pop craft at its finest.

So even after decades of listening, and now several solid days playing nothing but this album, “I’ll Be Back”.

Next Week: The Beatles – Rubber Soul

Owned before blogging? Yes. (4 of 63 = 5%)
Heard before blogging? Yes. (6 of 63 = 8%)
Recommend? Yes. (50 of 63 = 79%)

2 Responses to “[63] The Beatles – A Hard Day’s Night”

  1. nycavri June 20, 2014 at 11:05 AM #

    One of my musical mentors has pointed me in the direction of this article discussing (in some detail) that opening chord: http://www.beatlesbible.com/features/hard-days-night-chord/


  1. [151] The Byrds – Mr. Tambourine Man | . . . To Hear Before I Blog - March 4, 2016

    […] I’m hearing mid-career Beatles and wondering why I shouldn’t just go back and listen to A Hard Day’s Night or Rubber […]

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