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‘A Hard Day’s Night’ Gives a Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Fab Four Living Beatlemania Circa 1964

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The Beatles Filming of A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles during the filming of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)

 

On February 7, 1964, Beatlemania touched down in the United States, and two days later, it would be in nearly every household in America, as a record-breaking TV audience of 73 million watched the Fab Four play The Ed Sullivan Show for the first time.

Just five months later in the U.K. (and six months in the U.S.), the band—now a household name and mainstay on the top of the pop charts—released their first feature film, A Hard Day’s Night, which follows John, Paul, George, and Ringo as they navigate their early successes and lack of privacy as a band (not a terribly difficult plot for them to act out). It also includes a number of “live” performances of their songs from their complementary album of the same name (live is in quotes, because the songs were lip-synched in the film).

The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles performing one of their string of hits from the complementary soundtrack on set of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
Wilfrid Brambell as Paul McCartney’s ‘Grandfather’ in The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)

 

The film was both a critical and box-office success and caused some plate-tectonic shifts in the world of rock-and-roll: notably, members of The Byrds were in the audience at an early showing, and it was there that the band’s lead guitarist Roger McGuinn got the idea to play the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar used by George Harrison in the movie (The Byrds would go on to found the folk-rock movement shortly thereafter).

Now, publisher Phaidon has released a hardcover book, The Beatles A Hard Day’s Night: A Private Archive, which gives readers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film via vintage photographs and memorabilia. The book is also complemented by an essay and detailed captions written by Beatles’ historian Mark Lewisohn, who’s published a battery of books on the band.

The book is available for $125 here. Scroll down to preview more images from the book.

The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
The Beatles clowning around on the set of ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
The Beatles on the set of 'A Hard Day's Night' (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
Another color shot of The Beatles on the set of the black-and-white movie, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
(2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
‘A Hard Day’s Night’ film poster (2016 Bruce and Martha Karsh/Courtesy of Phaidon)
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
A French film booklet on ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ (Courtesy of Bernard Dauman/Phaidon)
The Beatles A Hard Day's Night
(Phaidon)