Saturday, 5 November 2011

A Hard Day's Night - A History Part 2

I told Barnaby, who sat next to me at school, that I'd seen The Beatles film "A Hard Day's Night" on television over the Xmas holidays.I thought it was funny (it is) but mostly I'd loved the music which even in 1970 was able to give me a nostalgic frisson for bygone days. My parents were old before their time, but I was ten wishing I could be four again! I remembered the singles, Can't Buy Me Love and A Hard Day's Night from when I was four, I suppose, and some of the other tunes played in the film pre-date that.

Anyway, Barnaby let slip that his big sister Nancy had the soundtrack album (actually, side 2 contains six songs omitted from the movie). So I pestered until he (presumably) smuggled it out of the house for me to listen to and record, via microphone, onto a cassette. File sharing, you'd call it today. Lo-fi, but it worked as long as nobody was in the room. Somehow Nancy discovered what had happened and demanded its immediate return, but not before my bootleg copy was completed (minus "I'll Cry Instead" - my least favourite track - so it made it one side of a C60).

Over the next few months I must have worn that tape thin. It was the only pop music recording I had, albeit six years out of date already, and I played it over and over again. With hindsight, it is far from The Beatles' best effort, but it is pretty much instantly accessible and when I see celebrity interviews in which the subject gives their dewy-eyed recollection of their first encounter with Elvis, Little Richard or whoever, I think back to A Hard Day's Night.

Later on that year the BBC screened "Help!". At home I begged to be allowed to sit up past bedtime to watch it. This was not an infrequent campaigning issue as my parents normally enforced bedtime rigidly and earlier than most of my friends seemed to experience. Somehow, though, a pester period that ran from the publication of the relevant issue of the Radio Times until the film was shown proved to be just long enough to wear them down. My father grumbled intermittently about what a load of rubbish it was, but otherwise I got to see it all the way through and decided that my next record purchase would be "Help!". I had to wait until Xmas, but then, £2.15 clutched in my sweaty paw, I made my way to Rushworth and Dreaper's Chester branch and sought out the disc of vinyl I'd craved, and at that point an addiction was born...

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