As most every music fan knows, songs are like poems, even if you’re not into the latter. The definition of which well applies to both forms:
“A verbal composition designed to convey experiences, ideas, or emotions in a vivid and imaginative way, characterized by the use of language chosen for its sound and suggestive power and by the use of literary techniques such as meter, metaphor, and rhyme.”
The former has the added benefit of the chords, bassline, and drum beats that accompanies the pop music which has dominated my listening habits for the past six-plus decades. And whether I realized it or not at a young age when the songs of the ’60s really began to take hold, had developed a preference for certain lines in my favorite songs.
Hence, decided to list them, along with some of why they drew me to them, in a blog series. I mean, what’s the purpose of having a blog, if not for subjects like these. I ask you. So, I am making a conscious effort, or maybe it’s a new year’s resolution (not really sure), to write them down in this small corner in the ether before it’s too late1.
Of course, what verses to start with the obvious question. Should be something significant, one would think. A song that has meant much and really started me on this road of enjoyment and the emotional comfort that is the key element in music. And the Sixties had this in spades since a music revolution with the likes of the British Invasion and Motown Sound took hold.
Not to say the series will be limited to just this rebellious decade. The lead graphic, spotlighting the song by Allan Roberts and Doris Fisher and originally written for the classic film noir Gilda in 19462, meant to dissuade you of that thought. That said, became pretty obvious where I’d commence my effort for the series. The song it all led back to:
A Hard Day’s Night
It's been a hard day's night, and I've been working like a dog It's been a hard day's night, I should be sleeping like a log But when I get home to you I'll find the things that you do Will make me feel alright You know I work all day to get you money to buy you things And it's worth it just to hear you say you're going to give me everything So why on earth should I moan, 'cause when I get you alone You know I feel ok
Written by: Lennon/McCartney
UK release: 10 Jun 1964
US release: 26 Jun 1964
As mentioned prior, “I still can recollect fondly taking the bus to the theatre and sitting in the darkened hall to watch this film. Although I’d heard songs on the radio by the Fab Four beforehand, it was this movie, A Hard Day’s Night (and song) that first struck and mesmerized me. And I’m still within its impact.” Even now the song brings a smile whenever it pops up.
The song’s lead verse, sourced by Ringo3 care of a long session of recording or music, hooks the listener with a malapropism following what would become its iconic opening chord4. John recalling it while meeting with Richard Lester and Walter Shenson over what title to use for their upcoming ’64 film, with the songwriter told to run with it.
Lennon dashed off the song in one night, bringing it for comment the next day. Ultimately, collaborating with Paul and the lads, under the oversight of the distinguished George Martin5, on 16 April 1964 in Studio 2 of the EMI Studios. Polishing off and recording A Hard Day’s Night6 in less than three hours before selecting the ninth take as the one to be released.
Not only did that triumphant strum of guitar, bass, and piano herald the opening of the film, it opened a pop era for me. My 10 (going on 11)-year old eyes and ears uncorked to the possibilities of what film and music could bring. The funny phrasing and longing cemented my admiration of the lads shortly upon its U.S. film release in 1964, and that lead verse charmed me no end.
- Y’know, before senility, dispassion, or merely shuffling off this mortal coil take hold. ↩
- Sung by the title character, played by Rita Hayworth, with Anita Kert Ellis dubbing her vocals. ↩
- Born Richard Starkey. ↩
- “We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning. The strident guitar chord was the perfect launch.” ~ George Martin, The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions by Mark Lewisohn ↩
- George Martin and the film’s soundtrack were nominated by the vaunted Academy in 1965 for Music (Scoring for Music-Adaptation or Treatment), losing to Andre Previn’s score for My Fair Lady. ↩
- The last song written for the film’s soundtrack — and still hard to believe A Hard Day’s Night never nominated for Oscar’s Best Song, the sods. ↩