Fifty Years Ago Today: The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night

TIME

Before anyone saw the movie, its title promised something different from the ruck of cheapo rock ‘n roll films: A Hard Day’s WHAT? As producer Walter Shenson told it, he and director Richard Lester were nearly finished shooting their little picture with the Beatles but had no name for it. Then John Lennon told Shenson that Ringo Starr occasionally mutilated the English language in droll ways. Example: to suggest his exhaustion after an evening’s concertizing and partying, Ringo would say, “It’s been a hard day’s night.” Shenson told Lennon that he and Paul McCartney should write a song with that title, pronto. The next morning they delivered a catchy 12-bar blues riff with a soaring bridge, about a working stiff whose girlfriend makes all his toil worthwhile. Plaaaang!

That’s the sound of the song’s first, long guitar chord — a brash wakeup call to the audience. The film’s first…

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