Hello and welcome back for another Beatles Rarity of the Week (aka BROW). Back in September (2012) on one of the #askNat entries I explained in detail the functionality of the 8-track tape cartridges that many of us remember from the sixties through eighties. I also pointed out that often the sequence of album tracks would be rearranged to minimize the amount of dead silence that would appear at the end of each of the four programs of equal tape length/duration. Another technique of making each program contain a near-equal length was to artificially extend tracks by editing, and I included an example of how this was done for the reprise of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (see that post here).
For this weeks BROW I’m offering up another example of such an edit that United Artists (UA) constructed for both cassette and 8-track editions of the soundtrack for A Hard Day’s Night. UA released the American soundtrack version of this first Beatles movie on June 26, 1964. Due to the high demand resulting from the entire country being at the height of Beatlemania, the album was “rush released” at a time before UA even had the stereo mixes of the eight Beatles songs on the album in their possession. In these days mono was still king and in the interest of getting the album out quicker, UA decided to release the stereo version of the album with mono versions of The Beatles songs and add a few panning effects created in-house to simulate stereo. The four instrumental score tracks by producer George Martin on the stereo album are actually in stereo. This is why the title track of A Hard Day’s Night is in mono on the “stereo” album, 8-track tape and cassettes.
Each of the four programs on the 8-track version of A Hard Day’s Night clocks in between 7 and a half and 8 minutes and the tape appropriately opened up with the title track. In order to balance out the time and minimize the dead silence at the end of program 1, “A Hard Day’s Night” was artificially extended by editing in a few repeats on the last line of the song (“you know I feel alright”). This line is repeated only twice on other official accounts of the song, but the UA 8-track and cassette versions have it repeat five times. UA created this unique edit on June 9, 1964. So listen and see what you think about the mono UA soundtrack 8-track/cassette mix of “A Hard Day’s Night.”
Extra info: By the late seventies Capitol had secured the rights to the UA soundtrack album and they released their own pressings of it in 1979. The American soundtrack version of the album has not ever been issued officially on CD.
The 8-track issue had the tracks sequenced as:
Program 1: “A Hard Day’s Night,” “If I Fell,” “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Program 2: “I Should Have Known Better,” “And I Love Her,” “I Should Have Known Better (instrumental)”
Program 3: “I’m Happy Just To Dance With You,” “And I Love Her (instrumental),” “I’ll Cry Instead (incorrectly listed as “I Cry Instead”)
Program 4: “Ringo’s Theme (This Boy) (instrumental),” “Tell Me Why,” “A Hard Day’s Night (instrumental)”
The LP sequence can be seen here.
Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:
1) A Hard Day’s Night 2009 remastered CD of original 1964 stereo UK 13-track album containing all of the film songs from the film A Hard Day’s Night plus 6 more.
2) A Hard Day’s Night 2002 2-disc remastered DVD set with bonus features of original 1964 film A Hard Day’s Night – The Beatles first movie!