Having conquered hearts in the United Kingdom throughout 1963, The Beatles set their sights on the world in 1964. They started it with concerts in London and Paris, before making history by conquering America in February, appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show before an estimated 73 million viewers.
They followed up their Stateside triumph with a world tour, numerous interviews, television appearances and new recordings, and starred in their debut feature film. And despite their whirlwind schedule of touring and studio sessions, the soundtrack to A Hard Day's Night turned out to be one of The Beatles' strongest long-players.
The album was recorded over nine non-consecutive days, between January and June 1964. In between the sporadic sessions The Beatles fulfilled their touring and filming commitments, with John Lennon and Paul McCartney writing some of their strongest songs to date.
What's more, The Beatles refused to take the easy option and delve into their Cavern Club-era songbook, selecting some of the numerous cover versions in their repertoire to pad out the original compositions. A Hard Day's Night became their first album to consist solely of original material, and was The Beatles only release to consist solely of songs written by Lennon-McCartney.
The title of A Hard Day's Night had been coined by Ringo Starr, and first appeared in John Lennon's short story Sad Michael in his first book In His Own Write.
When film director Richard Lester announced it would be the title of The Beatles' first film, Lennon took up the challenge to write the theme song. At the time he and Paul McCartney were in competition to write the group's singles, and Lennon was entering a particularly productive songwriting phase.
The genesis of the song was later recalled by Evening Standard journalist Maureen Cleave, who was a friend to The Beatles.
Lennon was the sole composer of the title track, along with I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why, Any Time At All, I'll Cry Instead, When I Get Home and You Can't Do That. He also wrote the majority of If I Fell and I'll Be Back, and collaborated with McCartney on I'm Happy Just To Dance With You.
McCartney's contributions to the album were hardly slight either: his highlights were the classic ballads And I Love Her and Things We Said Today, as well as the single Can't Buy Me Love.
A Hard Day's Night is one of only three Beatles albums to contain no lead vocals by Ringo Starr. The others are Let It Be and Magical Mystery Tour.