Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Got a Big Surprise

When I was eight years old, I took on extra chores around the house so that my parents would give me enough money to buy tickets to the Enid, OK premier of A Hard Day's Night at the Chief Theater.  I was thrilled to be there at the premier and of course I loved the movie and the music, but was a bit too young to really understand what a great film it is.  Furthermore I did not see the gigantic song writing step forward by Lennon and McCartney.   For years I was a bit torn about the US LP by that name because it contained a generous portion of George Martin orchestrated instrumental versions of some of the songs.  I also purchased their Capitol LP Something New, which was really a scatter shot collection of songs left off the US AHDN album, plus some singles and b-sides.  And in some way I preferred that record because it had some amazing songs like Things We Said Today, Any Time at All, When I Get Home, And I Love Her, and If I Fell.

Then during my early college years in the mid-70s I acquired the British version of the LP.  And immediately I realized that Capitol records (and United Arists) had done us a great disservice.  The "real" A Hard Day's Night is perhaps the first true Beatles' masterpiece.   Even the running order is important to the experience of listening to these songs, and now I immediately know what will come next.

Tucked away at the very end of the LP is a song that just hits me like a ton of bricks every time I listen.   I'll Be Back is John Lennon at his early peak.  Not the upbeat closer that one would expect, but rather a thoughtful and beautiful exploration of how tenuous love can be.  The acoustic guitar work is just amazing, what with the three-against-four rhythms.  John sings it with a compassion that perfectly fits the lyrics.  A real hidden gem on an album full of first class song writing.


tim brough said...

I'm glad that I got the box set a few years ago, as it contains the proper version of "A Hard Day's Night." And like you, it too me years to appreciate just how great the music was that I just loved as a 5 year old.

Mister Pleasant said...

Hey Tim, good to get a note from you. The song I posted about did not make it on either Hard Day's Night or Something New. Capitol buried it on a later LP (Beatles 65 maybe?). Like you I was blown away when I finally heard all of the songs from the "real" LP as they were intended. And every one of them written by Lennon and McCartney.

Holly A Hughes said...

Funny how those US albums differed. I, alas, am totally wed to the original US tracklisting of Hard Days Night, orchestral tracks and all. Go figure!