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A Hard Day’s Night – Recovered

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- front

Today, July 10, it is 50 years since The Beatles released their A Hard Day’s Night LP in the UK (the US version, with a different tracklisting, followed two weeks later). It was a landmark event for pop music, not because the music was especially innovative, but because here a pop group released an album including only own compositions. In 1964, this was very unusual indeed.

And this even more remarkable when one considers just how busy the group was at the time, with all the touring and US television appearances (as documented here), filming the movie and recording even more music that didn’t make it on to the album. In their writing, John Lennon and Paul McCartney were so prolific that they could give away pretty good songs to other artists, such a Peter & Gordon, Cilla Black and Billy J Kramer. The creative pressure showed on the follow-up, Beatles For Sale, which was released later in 1964 and included several covers (and also a few stone-cold Beatles classics).

A Hard Day’s Night was very much Lennon’s work. He wrote the title track, I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All, I’ll Cry Instead, When I Get Home and You Can’t Do That, most of If I Fell and I’ll Be Back, and contributed to McCartney’s I’m Happy Just To Dance With You. But Paul’s three other contributions are probably the strongest: And I Love Her, Things We Said Today and Can’t Buy Me Love.

A Hard Day's Night Recovered- back

A Hard Day’s Night was also the first Beatles album to rely on the Beatles’ unique sound. Where the previous two LPs included several covers of rock & roul and R&B songs, and many songs recalled the various influences from which the group drew, this was the first album on which The Beatles totally owned their sound. Nobody sounded like them.

And yet, this is not down to the compositions themselves, but the arrangements they benefited from. Listen to this set of covers, sequenced in the original chronology of the album, to hear just how flexible these songs are. Some of them sound nothing like a Beatles song. I believe that if a song can be covered well in any genre in ways that do not sound like a cover (never mind a pastiche), then it’s a great song. So Ella Fitzgerald can turn Can’t Buy Me Love into a big band number without it sounding like a novelty number, and John Mayall can turn A Hard Day’s Night into a true blues song, no matter how familiar we are with these Beatles standards.

My favourite here, however, is the Holmes Brothers’ bluesy version of And I Love Her. Vanilla Fudge’s psychedelic rock take on You Can’t Do That from 1968 is a trip, too.

The covers featured in this post are included in higher resolution. PW in comments.

1. John Mayall – A Hard Day’s Night (1975)
2. Beach Boys – I Should Have Known Better (1965)
3. Keely Smith – If I Fell (1965)
4. Anne Murray – I’m Happy Just To Dance With You (1980)
5. The Holmes Brothers – And I Love Her (1997)
6. April Wine – Tell Me Why (1982)
7. Ella Fitzgerald – Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)
8. Nils Lofgren – Anytime At All (1981)
9. Johnny Rivers – I’ll Cry Instead (1965)
10. Bobby Fuller Four – Things We Said Today (1960s)
11. Yellow Matter Custard – When I Get Home (2003)
12. Vanilla Fudge – You Can’t Do That (1968)
13. Elliott Smith – I’ll Be Back (released 2011)

GET IT!

 

More Beatles stuff:
Wordless: Any Major Beatles Instrumentals
Any Bizarre Beatles
Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 1
Beatles – Album tracks and B-Sides Vol. 2

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  1. halfhearteddude
    July 10th, 2014 at 07:06 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Robin Richardson
    July 10th, 2014 at 09:16 | #2

    Thank you for this share. Gives a new perspective on the album.

  3. JohnnyDiego
    July 10th, 2014 at 13:38 | #3

    I just love this kind of stuff. Believe it or not I have over 600 Beatles covers on my iPod but only three of the ones you included. I was surprised and happy to see Keely Smith included; that’s from a great album. I once made a CD for a friend of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band using only YouTube amateur covers. It took a while but it was a lot of fun. Thanks for all your hard work, Dude. I look forward to each of your posts.

  4. July 10th, 2014 at 17:20 | #4

    This is, as usual, spectacular. Thank you sir.

  5. darryl cunningham
    July 11th, 2014 at 17:14 | #5

    Fantastic. Love these Beatles cover downloads.

  6. July 11th, 2014 at 18:13 | #6

    I am so looking forward to this! Thanks so much. The Ella and the Keely should be fascinating!

  7. Rhod
    July 11th, 2014 at 23:22 | #7

    Thanks for the interesting cover versions makes great listening.

    Regards

    Rhod

  8. W
    July 12th, 2014 at 16:11 | #8

    Inspired! Thx. W.

  9. July 13th, 2014 at 06:55 | #9

    a great listen! thank you so much for putting this together and sharing from your wonderful collection. love the covers.

  10. AenM
    July 19th, 2014 at 13:36 | #10
  11. sw2boro
    July 28th, 2014 at 13:53 | #11

    Hey Dude, I know you’re a fan of answer records, so you may be interested in this over at http://lpcoverlover.com/ – you may need to scroll down a little to find the Beetlettes.

  12. dogbreath
    July 28th, 2014 at 15:33 | #12

    A very nice assembly job to give us an alternative take on one of my earliest fave records & this time I can remember getting the LP and seeing the film just like it was Yesterday (now that’s a good title for a song!). Many thanks as always.

  13. SUZIE
    August 3rd, 2014 at 20:42 | #13

    GREAT THNX A LOT
    ALWAYS LOVE YOUR POST

  14. Jaime
    September 8th, 2016 at 14:17 | #14

    Congrats on your great work.

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