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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “A Hard Day’s Night” (extended 8-track/cassette soundtrack version)

Posted by on November 19, 2012 at 6:00 am.

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.”

The Beatles - A Hard Day's Night (extended)

8-track tape version of "A Hard Day's Night" soundtrack from United Artists, 1964

8-track tape version of “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack from United Artists, 1964

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!

3) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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16 Comments

  • Elliott Marx says:

    I have to say that the edit was done with care,and if you didn’t know better it would be difficult to even discern it is there. Knowing better, however repeating that line so many times sounds silly and obnoxious to my ears.

    Since that goofy edit made the 8 Track viable, it had actual value. I suppose somewhere someone looked at the running time to decide if they were getting their money’s worth purchasing this thing. They Saw the extra 9 seconds or whatever and then plunked down their heard earned 1964 dollars because the disc was sufficiently long enough. So interesting.

  • YouKnowMyNameLookUpThe# says:

    I imagine the butchering of all bands for 8-track tapes is incredible. Let me open this box then. Are there any 8-track tape mixes created specifically for 8-track that are unique mixes? By that I mean, they actually had to go back to multi-track tapes to make a longer version of a song just for the 8-track market? Or are they pretty much edits from finished versions like the two you have shared so far? I find the whole thing fascinating given I never got into 8-tracks. My father had some and we had a player/recorder, but we used reel to reel and then went to cassette tapes. Overall though, I always preferred to listen to their albums on vinyl, until CD.

  • Lennonista says:

    I’m with Elliott… the edit was well done, but obnoxious to listen to. Why would UA also include that edit on the non-8 track cassette release, though?

  • mythme says:

    Are you certain that UA created this mix on June 9, 1964? I ask because on this date the master was still in George Martins hands; tape copying the mono mix for Parlaphone and UA. America wouldn’t have recieved the tapes until at least a few days later. Secondly, as far as my research goes, the first Beatles 8-tracks weren’t issued until 1965 and AHDN (UA8T 3006) not until early 1966. Thus it would seem that the mix wasn’t prepared until then.

    • Happy Nat says:

      @mythme I have the date from a couple different sources as being either the 9th or 10th of June. Bruce Spizer’s The Beatles Swan Song is the most reputable source which says “on or about” June 10, 1964 (page 32). This was actually the date UA received the mono tapes and mixing began immediately as this was a rush release.

  • Joel Glazier says:

    I had never heard this early “butchered” version of the song on the 8-track. For a moment it was like a flashback of hearing a song played on vinyl with the “needle” getting stuck and the line repeated a few times on a record player until one would stamp your foot to move it on….Those were the days…….LOL

  • Darryl says:

    I have A Hard Days’s Night 8 track, but with different cover: full head/face shots; “Exclusive All-New Bonus Edition”; Digitally Restored Soundtrack; New Promotional Special. Original un opened sealed wrap in very good condition. Valuation ?

  • Prefabfan says:

    I like it a lot, very smooth convincing edit.

  • bugfella says:

    I have this album. Definitely United Artists. It is interesting to note that on the stereo version of the album, only the instrumentals are in true stereo. United Artists seem to have faked some stereo on the Beatles tracks, not in the conventional Capitol way by having the high frequency sounds in one channel and the low in the other. This one seems to attempt to create a stereo effect by bringing the sound up or down in one of the channels during critical parts of the songs. It is subtle, but viewing the sound profile in Audacity bears out that this is so. Essentially either is mono for the Beatles songs, but the stereo “plays with” the mono to a very minor stereo effect.

    • Happy Nat says:

      UA was in such a frantic hurry to get the soundtrack LP out, they decided not to even wait for EMI to send the stereo mixes, so UA just did the panning job on the Beatles tracks. It’s most noticeable on “Can’t Buy Me Love.”

  • brian king says:

    Does the 8-Track of Reel Music actualy exist? I have not been able to find it or photos of it online anywhere! Help!

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