"The Beatles 2nd Album" & "A Hard Day's Night"- In Retrospect
Two different album covers for "The Beatles' Second Album"
The Year Was 1964...
I was four years old when "The Beatles' 2nd Album" and "A Hard Day's Night" came out. My father was a tire builder for B.F. Goodrich in the city of Commerce near Los Angeles. Every Christmas season B.F.Goodrich gave their employees free tickets to "The Garfield Theater" -- which is where my sisters and I went to see "A Hard Day's Night".
Once we got to the theater, we sat in the very first row so we could see and hear The Beatles without any heads in our way-- the bad thing was, our necks hurt afterwards for a few days!
I don't know how many times we saw "A Hard Day's Night" but I went with my older sister the first time, and four or more times with my little sister and our friends, Darlene and Cynthia. We were just glad we could all watch The Beatles (in the theater) for free.
These songs bring back so many memories! Memories of living at home with my parents, memories of my childhood friends, and I could go on. Good ol' days when it seemed like almost everyone liked The Beatles (Click to Tweet). They were all over the radio stations, too. If you did not like The Beatles, you better not turn on the radio-- they could not be easily avoided.
As I said before, even my parents liked their music. On the weekend when my dad did not have to work, they played records in the front room while I sat rocking in the rocking chair listening intently to each song.
The Beatles' Birth
As the legend goes (in brief) John Lennon met Paul McCartney in high school. John had a band called,"The Quarrymen" that played at some dances. Paul admired John and was impressed that he had his own band. Paul wanted to meet John; he made plans to bring his guitar and play it for John, in hopes of getting asked into The Quarrymen.
Paul brought his guitar and played a tune called "Twenty Flight Rock" for John. "Twenty Flight Rock" was a popular song at the time and considered "hard" to play by most guitarists. John was impressed with Paul's playing and immediately asked him to join the band.
Not long after that, Paul brought in his friend George. George was only 14 or 15 years old, while Paul and John were 17. But George was very good -- and fast -- on his guitar, so John asked him to join his band.
What about Ringo? Ringo joined The Beatles during the recording of "Love Me Do." George Martin (in the studio) was unhappy with Pete Best's drumming, saying he did not keep time well. So Paul recommended Ringo Starr, a drummer considered to be the best there was in that part of town.
Ringo fit right in with the boys, both personality-wise and musician-wise. Not long after Ringo was introduced into the group, Brian Epstein got the boys signed with Capitol Records and then "Meet The Beatles!" was recorded, then released in January,1964.
The Beatles' 2nd Album
In April, Capitol released "The Beatles' 2nd Album", and then in August of the same year, United Artists released The Beatles' first full-length movie and the soundtrack for "A Hard Day's Night". All songs on this album were written and composed by The Beatles, but George Martin arranged the orchestration for the four instrumentals on the record.
The year was not over yet, though, and John, Paul, George, and Ringo had more songs to write and record before the year was through. But that is another story (or article).
"The Beatles' 2nd Album" on CD, vinyl, or digital
“The Beatles ’Second Album” includes their #1 hit single, “She Loves You”. This album also includes “You Can’t Do That”, “Money (That’s what I want)”, plus more! Listen to “The Beatles’ Second Album” and buy a copy for your collection! Dance to “Roll Over Beethoven”, “Long Tall Sally”, and “I Call Your Name.” Hear The Beatles’ renditions of “You Really Got a Hold on Me” and “Please Mr. Postman”-- both remakes are better than the originals! My personal favorites are “Long Tall Sally”, “Money”, and “She Loves You”. The album is available in the following formats: CD, vinyl, or digital.
The Group & What They Played
The Group from Liverpool, England
- John Lennon: Vocals, rhythm guitar, harmony vocals.
- Paul McCartney: Vocals, bass guitar, harmony vocals.
- George Harrison: Lead guitar, vocals, harmony vocals.
- Ringo Starr: Drums, vocals, harmony vocals.
Review: "The Beatles' 2nd Album"
This collection contains 11 songs, but only five songs of them were written by Lennon-McCartney: "Thank You Girl", "You Can't Do That","I Call Your Name", "I'll Get You", and "She Loves You." The other six songs were written by various other songwriters, as noted.
- Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry): George plays the guitar riff that starts this Chuck Berry rocker, and also sings the lead vocal. The boys adapted this song to suit their Beatles' style, thus, making it more melodic; their harmonies are also smoother. This song is well executed and played, and is a great song for dancing.
- Thank You Girl (Lennon-McCartney): The beginning of this song sounds like a giant stomping through town -- and then John comes in with his harmonica. John sings/screams “and all I want to do…. Is thank you, girl; thank you girl.” Nice singing/screaming by John, otherwise this song is okay but nothing spectacular.
- You Really Got a Hold On Me (William Robinson):That old bluesy song by Smokey Robinson is refurbished here by The Beatles, and very nicely done, I might add! Then you get to the part where the song slows down, “Hold me… hold me…ho--ld me…You really got a hold on me". Here the song sounds really bluesy, and as the music slows down the song sounds even bluesy-er. This song also ends well: with a final note from the guitars, and the crash of Ringo's high-hat..
- Devil in Her Heart (Richard Drapkin): “Devil in Her Heart” starts out sounding Hawaiian to me. It’s the way the lead guitar blends the notes in the introduction. George sings lead vocals on this one, and does a great job with the Hawaiian-sounding guitars, too!
- Money (Barrett Strong):This classic song is played and sung very well here. John screams the lead vocals, while George and Paul unite to sing background vocals, "That's what I want..." The Beatles make good use of dynamics; the song is punchy and well defined. One of the best songs on the album!
- You Can't Do That (Lennon-McCartney): “You Can’t Do That” has always been one of my favorite songs on this album. I like the words because they are realistic, and it is nice for a guy to feel jealousy (for a change)! I call this type of music “monster-music” because it reminds me of monsters. The same way that the theme song for “The Munsters” sounded like monsters- this music does, too. Once again the harmonies are perfectly done and so is the music—even the organ! Great song.
- Long Tall Sally (Johnson-Penniman-Blackwell): Paul takes the lead vocals on this one, and he really belts them out! Little Richard's song benefits from Paul's vocal rendition; "Long Tall Sally" is great for dancing, too.
- I Call Your Name (Lennon-McCartney): John sings the lead in this bluesy-rocker, and Paul sings backups. This songs moves well, and is of moderate tempo. I like the middle part, where it goes,"Don't you know I can't take it (monster music starts here) "I don't know who can.." (more monster music). There is also a key change toward the end of the song that is nicely done!
- Please Mr. Postman (Holland): A remake of the song that was originally sung by a female group, I believe. The Beatles played it their way, which is pretty close to the original version. It’s a song about waiting for your girl/boyfriend to write you a letter – before the Internet was an option. And now the song is improved because The Beatles covered it!
- I'll Get You (Lennon-McCartney): “Oh, yeah…oh, yeah” is how the song starts, which is a great sign since that is The Beatles’ trademarked expression (practically). This song is decent, but nothing great. It is melodic and inoffensive, but it is an average song for The Beatles. I like the way it starts, and I love the handclaps! Overall, the song is better than most of the stuff you hear nowadays! * "I'll Get You" was the B side to the single "She Loves You."
- She Loves You(Lennon-McCartney): A dynamic song! The song starts with Ringo’s drumroll, and then the boys start screaming “She loves you! (Yeah, yeah, yeah!)” (three times) and then it goes into the first verse. First of all, their vocal harmonies were notably perfect. Second, I love the way they used the bass and drums to punctuate their music!
From the start of Ringo’s drumroll to the very last “yeah!” this song generates lots of energy! “She Loves You” is the best song on the album, in my opinion, and I guess many others thought so, too. "She Loves You" quickly went to #1 where it remained for five weeks!*
Paul Singing "Long Tall Sally"
"You Can't Do That"
"She Loves You"
George Sings "Roll Over Beethoven"
Money (That's What I Want)
Unusual Album Cover for "A Hard Day's Night"
Review: "A Hard Day's Night"
This album is the movie soundtrack for "A Hard Day's Night." The album includes instrumentals, but I am only reviewing the vocal songs for this article.
All Songs Written by John Lennon & Paul McCartney,
- A Hard Day's Night: The first chord of this song is so memorable, I can name this tune in one note; and the ending chord (picked out) is just as memorable.The songs on this album are excellent songs: they are upbeat, positive, and very melodic! I like the verses and the middle eight equally well. This song was #1 for 2 weeks in August of 1964.
- Tell Me Why: The Beatles use their falsetto for the change in, "Is there anything I can do? 'Cause I really can't stand it, I'm so in love with you." This dynamic, energetic song moves fast and is one of the best tracks on this album.
- I Cry Instead: This song, despite the fact that John wants to cry instead, is also upbeat and positive sounding. Something about their music always makes you feel good inside when you listen to it!
- (Instrumental) I Should Have Known Better*
- I'm Happy Just to Dance With You: George sings the lead vocal on this one, which sounds like a song for dancing. It is a melodic, happy-sounding song John and Paul wrote especially for George to sing.
- (Instrumental) And I Love Her*
- I Should Have Known Better: John opens the song with his harmonica before wailing "I...... should have known better with a girl like you"... It is a great song, and one of the best tracks here.
- If I Fell: John & Paul harmonize together for this beautiful love song. Both the music and the words are very good. Paul and John provide the song with some excellent harmonies, too. Another great song!
- And I Love Her: Paul sings this song beautifully and George plays the acoustic guitar with precision. I love the sound of the chord when it is picked like this. It sounds almost Spanish-style and adds a lot to this song. This is an excellent track!
- (instrumental) Ringo's Theme (This Boy)*
- Can't Buy Me Love: This song is also very energetic; it starts with Paul screaming, "Can't Buy Me Lo--ove.... Lo-- ove." The music is very original, dynamic, and energizing.
"Can't Buy Me Love" is one of the better tracks of this set, and was #1 in the United States for 5 weeks in April of 1964.
- (instrumental) A Hard Day's Night*
*Instrumentals arranged by George Martin
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"A Hard Day's Night"- The Original Soundtrack
“A Hard Day’s Night” (United Artists) is the soundtrack for the movie “A Hard Day’s Night.” This collection of songs is excellent! The music is very upbeat, for the most part – except “If I Fell” and “And I Love Her.” Paul sings “And I Love Her” beautifully, while tapping his hand on the body of his Hofner bass for percussion, while George plays a Spanish-sounding acoustic guitar. This song is in a minor key, which gives the song a moody or sad quality. “Can’t Buy Me Love” is an energetic, fast-paced song that is also danceable. The title song, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “If I fell”, and “I Should Have Known Better” are three of my favorites on this album.
"A Hard Day's Night"
I Should Have Known Better
"If I Fell"
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A Hard Day's Night Souvenir Book
© 2015 Miriam Parker