A Hard Day’s Night Songs Ranked

A Hard Day’s Night is the third studio album by the English rock band the Beatles, released on 10 July 1964 by Parlophone, with side one containing songs from the soundtrack to their film of the same name. The American version of the album was released two weeks earlier, on 26 June 1964 by United Artists Records, with a different track listing. In contrast to the Beatles’ first two albums, all 13 tracks on A Hard Day’s Night were written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, showcasing the development of their songwriting partnership. The album includes the song “A Hard Day’s Night”, with its distinctive opening chord, and “Can’t Buy Me Love”, both transatlantic number-one singles for the band. Several of the songs feature George Harrison playing a Rickenbacker 12-string electric guitar, a sound that was influential on the Byrds and other groups in the folk-rock movement. Here are all of A Hard Day’s Night songs ranked.

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10. I’ll Be Back

“Although the songwriting of the pre-“Rubber Soul” Beatles is usually dismissed as lightweight, a closer listen reveals that John, in particular, is touching upon themes that resonate throughout his career. The girl he’s singing to is tired of the games he plays, the roadblocks he puts up: instead of chasing him when he runs away, she lets him go. Now he finds himself trying to get back in her good graces, and the song ends without resolution. It’s not exactly Dylan, but there’s a lot more to it than initially meets the ear.”

9. Tell Me Why

“Having decided that “A Hard Day’s Night” would consist of all-original material, John decided to write his own version of a Motown song. The opening chords are straight out of “Heat Wave”, and the vocal arrangement of the verses echoes the girl group sound to a tee. That falsetto break reminds us, as if we needed it, that being a famous rock star can be a blast.”

The Beatles “A Hard Day's Night” Album - CharityStars

8. You Can’t Do That

“The first instance in Beatle history where a b-side of a single is superior to its flip, not that “You Can’t Do That” is anywhere as commercial as “Can’t Buy Me Love”. John’s warning against fraternizing with other fellows is sung with such glee that he sounds like he’s looking forward to being deceived. He sounds more concerned about being laughed at than he does about being cuckolded, and his guitar solo snarls and sputters in sympathy with his dilemma. One of the least known of their classic rockers.”

See more: The Beatles Albums Ranked

7. I’m Happy Just to Dance with You

“By far the weakest track of the material written for the film, which makes John and Paul’s decision to let George sing it seem like less a gift than a punishment. He does what he can, but the only Beatle to make any impression here is Ringo, whose drumming at least makes this a decent dance track. I can’t believe that George didn’t have any compositions of his own that were better than this, but maybe that wasn’t an option.”

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6. Things We Said Today

“For the second time (after “All My Loving”), Paul uses the Fabs’ punishing tour schedule as a songwriting topic. Paul has no doubts about absence making the heart grow fonder: his romantic optimism is a thread that runs throughout his career, though he’s thankfully taken a detour now and then. I love the way he contrasts the easygoing verses with a much more aggressive refrain, with his almost-arrogant confidence bolstered by Ringo’s pounding. It’s yet another song that any other band would release as a single. It’ awesome to hear Paul shout out the “DAY!” on the excellent Hollywood Bowl version.”

5. I Should Have Known Better

“When I first got into the Beatles, I liked this song a lot more than I do now. I still think that “When I tell you that I love you” refrain is brilliance, especially the leap into falsetto on “mine”, and the 12-string results in a nice meaty guitar sound, meshing with the harmonica like an old friend. But really, this is second-rate “Hard Day’s Night” material, which means it’s only good instead of great. All bands should be so cursed.”

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4. Can’t Buy Me Love

“This song debuted atop the Billboard charts on the same day I debuted in a delivery room at Mt. Kisco, New York. So I suppose it’s ironic that it’s never been one of my favorites. By far the best part is George’s fierce, double-tracked guitar solo, one of the finest in his early career. Starting with the title phrase is an interesting choice (from George Martin, if memory serves), and Paul sings with typical gusto. But overall, “Can’t Buy Me Love” isn’t of the same high standard set by the LP it appears on or the other 45’s The Beatles were releasing at the time.”

See more: The Beatles Songs Ranked

3. And I Love Her

“The first of Paul’s great ballads, applying his love for the timeless melodies of show tunes with the directness that he favored as a lyricist. In true Beatle style, he makes things more interesting by playing with pronouns, switching from third person to first on the “A love like ours” middle eighth, and drops the double-tracked vocal for “Bright are the stars that shine, dark is the sky”, adding an intimacy which no doubt thrilled thousands of teenage girls. Ringo keeps the percussion simple, and George echoes the main melody during his gentle acoustic solo. The combination of this and “If I Fell” made for one of the Beatles’ strongest-ever 45s: I assume that the abundance of product at the time is what kept it from charting higher.”

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2. A Hard Day’s Night

“The fact that this track, one of their best originals of 1964, was written in a few hours around the title phrase gives an indication as to just how inspired these guys were at this point. It’s also one of the few times John composed a straightforward love song without any hidden agendas, unless you count him choosing his girl over sleep as some kind of “see-how-lucky-you-are?” message. Love the pre-funk keyboard solo, even if it is mixed a bit too loud, and that opening chord still stands as on of rock’s most easily identifiable (though the Kinks’ on “Do It Again” sounds suspiciously similar: Ray was never one to shy away from recycling).”

1. If I Fell

“Here’s all the proof anyone should need that John and Paul brought out the best in one another: their harmonies on “If I Fell” are so intertwined, so essential to each other, that it’s impossible to conceive the song without both of them. It’s Paul’s heartbreakingly pure countermelody, contrasted with typically cautious lyrics from John (the whole idea of falling in love is presented as a hypothetical), that makes this true to its Lennon-McCartney songwriting credit. George and Ringo stick to the background, though I love the former’s brief fills between verses. Really, though, Keith Moon and Jimmy Page could’ve been doing their stuff, and it still would’ve paled in comparison to the magic of 2 voices that were destined to sing together, for the benefit of music lovers then, now and forever.”