A Hard Day’s Night

In late 1963, The Beatles were the top musical act in the United Kingdom, but had yet to become worldwide superstars. Looking to cash in on the group’s popularity before it faded, the executives at the British division of United Artists commissioned innovative television director Richard Lester and low-budget comedy producer Walter Shenson to create a quickie film starring the band intended for release mainly in the U.K. Interested primarily in putting out a soundtrack album to accompany the film that would allow the company to grab a piece of the incredible record sales being generated by the Lads from Liverpool, the UA executives budgeted the film for a miniscule $500,000 and gave Lester and Shenson an impossibly short six months to deliver the final product. All the studio wanted was a cheap exploitation film — what it got instead was a motion picture classic that perfectly captured John, Paul, George, and Ringo’s tremendous charm and energy; the chaos of Beatlemania; and the joy of the Beatles’ wonderful music. The film also generated a terrific title song and a soundtrack album that is considered one of the Beatles’ all-time greatest records.

Music on Film: A Hard Day’s Night is the first book ever to tell the complete story of the making of the movie that film critic Andrew Sarris famously called “the Citizen Kane of jukebox musicals”

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Meet the Beatles

The story of the band from their early days playing school dances in Liverpool to the tremendous success that made them the most famous pop music group in the world.

Chapter 2: They’re Gonna Put Me in the Movies

This chapter describes how the executives at United Artists became interested in doing a movie that would allow it to cash in on The Beatles’ local popularity by producing a spin-off soundtrack album; how the company signed the band to a three-picture contract; and assigned director Richard Lester and Walter Shenson to the project.

Chapter 3: It Took Me Weeks to Write

This chapter discusses how Lester, Shenson, and the Beatles reject the idea of doing a conventional pop musical and instead decided to approach the film as a semi-documentary about a fictional, exaggerated day in the life of the band. The chapter then introduces screenwriter Alun Owen and describes how he and Lester worked together to fashion the movie’s Academy Award nominated screenplay in just a few short weeks.

Chapter 4: Roll On Up

This chapter describes the film’s pre-production period, including the assembling of the film’s high-quality production team and the creation of five new Beatles songs for use on the film’s soundtrack.

Chapter 5: A Hard Month’s Shoot

A day-by-day chronicle of the movie’s hectic six week shoot — a period of intensive work, fast-paced improvisation, and clever invention that culminated in the filming of the five song concert that climaxes the film. This section also describes how the Beatles whipped up the movie’s classic title song literally overnight.

Chapter 6: It Won’t Be Long

This chapter describes the film’s three week post-production period and the creation of its three distinct soundtrack albums.

Chapter 7: We Hope You Will Enjoy the Show

The saga of the film and the soundtrack album’s tremendously successful release and their ongoing legacy.

Epilogue: And In the End

Film and Album Credits



Music on Film: A Hard Day’s Night will be published in September, 2011 by:

Limelight Editions
Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group
33 Plymouth Street, Suite 302
Montclair, NJ 07042
Phone: 973-337-5034 ext. 203
Fax: 973-337-5227


Publicity Contact:
Jaime Nelson
973-337-5034 ext. 203