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A Hard Day's Night

The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.

White Hot Stamper

The Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night

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$299.99
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$299.99
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Sonic Grade

Side One:

Side Two:

Vinyl Grade

Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus

  • With Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound throughout, we guarantee you've never heard A Hard Day's Night sound remotely as good as it does here
  • On top of that this vintage UK pressing plays on relatively quiet vinyl - Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus throughout
  • Both sides are big, spacious and absolutely jumping out of the speakers, with relatively rich, smooth sound
  • This one gets the heart of the music right - the lad's voices - and that's what makes The Beatles FUN to listen to
  • 5 stars: "Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkably fresh."
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Drop the needle on any song on either side to see why we went crazy over this one. The emotional quality of the boys’ performances really comes through on this copy. They aren’t just singing -- they’re really BELTIN' it out. Can you imagine what that sounds like on the title track? We didn't have to imagine it, WE HEARD IT!

What the best sides of this Fab Four Classic have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl domestic pressings like this one offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1964
  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the keyboards, guitars and drums having the correct sound for this kind of recording
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional space of the studio
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

It's (Almost) All About The Midrange

There are two important traits that all the best copies have in common. Tonally they aren't bright and aggressive (which eliminates 80 percent of the AHDN pressings you find), and they have a wonderful midrange warmth and sweetness that brings out the unique quality of the Beatles' individual voices and harmonies.

When comparing pressings of this record, the copies that get their voices to sound present, while at the same time warm, smooth, and sweet, especially during the harmonies and in the loudest choruses are always the best. All the other instruments seem to fall in line when the vocals are correct. This is an old truism -- it's all about the midrange -- but in this case it really is true.

This music has a HUGE amount of upper midrange and high frequency information. (Just note how present the tambourines are in the mixes.) If the record isn't cut properly, or pressed properly for that matter, the sound can be quite unpleasant. (One of our good customers made an astute comment in an email to us -- the typical copy of this album makes you want to turn DOWN the volume.)

Play it against your MoFi or Heavy Vinyl pressing and you will quickly see why those remastered LPs bore us to tears. Who in his right mind would want to suffer through a boring Beatles record when you can hear how much life and joy there is in these songs even playing over the radio!?

What We're Listening For on The Beatles' Third Album

Less grit - smoother and sweeter sound, something that is not easy to come by on A Hard Day’s Night.

A bigger presentation - more size, more space, more room for all the instruments and voices to occupy. The bigger the speakers you have to play this record the better.

Present, breathy vocals. A veiled midrange is the rule, not the exception.

Good top end extension to reproduce the harmonics of the instruments and details of the recording including the studio ambience.

Last but not least, balance. All the elements from top to bottom should be heard in harmony with each other. Take our word for it, assuming you haven't played a pile of these yourself, balance is not that easy to find.

Our best copies will have it though, of that there is no doubt.

Not only is it hard to find great copies of this album, it ain't easy to play 'em either. You're going to need a hi-res, super low distortion front end with careful adjustment of your arm in every area -- VTA, tracking weight, azimuth and anti-skate -- in order to play this album properly. If you've got the goods you're gonna love the way this copy sounds. Play it with a budget cart / table / arm and you're likely to hear a great deal less magic than we did.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any original pressing will play, and since only the right originals have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of imports, later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't sound good.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.

Track Commentary

Be sure to click on the Track Listing tab above to see our specific track by track commentary.


Side One

A Hard Day’s Night
I Should Have Known Better
If I Fell

This is a wonderful example of The Beatles' harmonies at their best. Toward the end of the song, during one of their harmonic excursions, you can hear John's voice drop out when something apparently catches in his throat, and I could swear that you can hear Paul McCartney react to it with a little laugh.

If their voices sound warm, sweet, and transparent on this track, at the very least you have a contender, and possibly a winner. Not many pressings are going to bring out all the timbral qualities of their voices.

I’m Happy Just to Dance With You
And I Love Her
Tell Me Why
Can’t Buy Me Love

Always starts with a bit of grit and grain, but usually sounds better by the second verse.

Side Two

Any Time at All
I’ll Cry Instead

This track has a tendency to sound a bit aggressive on even the best copies. The copies with extended highs and a tonally correct midrange are the ones that tend to do well in our shootouts.
Things We Said Today
On the best copies this track is really rich and full-bodied. It's got the kind of '60s Tubey Magic that we find positively intoxicating.

When I Get Home

Another one with a lot of potentially aggressive qualities. If you can play this song good and loud, you must have an excellent pressing. (More cowbell!)

You Can’t Do That
I’ll Be Back

A Hard Day's Night not only was the de facto soundtrack for their movie, not only was it filled with nothing but Lennon-McCartney originals, but it found the Beatles truly coming into their own as a band. All of the disparate influences on their first two albums had coalesced into a bright, joyous, original sound, filled with ringing guitars and irresistible melodies. A Hard Day's Night is where the Beatles became mythical, but this is the sound of Beatlemania in all of its giddy glory.

Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jangly guitars, and infectious, singalong melodies is remarkably fresh. There's something intrinsically exciting in the sound of the album itself, something to keep the record vital years after it was recorded. Even more impressive are the songs themselves... [E]verything on the record is performed with genuine glee and excitement. It's the pinnacle of their early years.