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February Beatles Blog # 15

by David Louis

Two of the most famous chords in Rock and Roll belong to The Beatles. Recently on The Beatles Blog we talked about the final chord of "A Day In The Life". The other historic chord opened both the album they started recording in February of 64' and the film they started shooting the same month. We'll touch on the album and movie next week as we continue to celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles Invasion this month. Back to "The Chord".

Just like the final chord of "A Day In The Life" was a group effort, so was the opening of A Hard Day's Night. I had no idea so much went into it until 2001 when George Harrison held an online chat. I probably read something about it in the cornucopia of Beatles books I read in the 70'a and 80's but that info was non retrievable by 2001! 

George was specifically asked about it and mentioned what chord it was (F with a G on top) but that Paul would know the details. As usual, George Martin knew the details. You see, The Beatles were asked about every tiny detail about every song they ever did. They were working at a fever pitch. When you're working at that level, at the pace that they kept up for years, it's no wonder they couldn't always be counted on to let us know which was a "John" or a Paul" song when asked a thousand times. 

In an alternate universe, I'm a competent musician that could now give you a quick breakdown on exactly what chords John, Paul, George, Ringo and George Martin played in unison to give us that heavenly opening. Instead, I'll just pass along that the chord that most of us assumed was a guitar or two was actually:

John on an acoustic 6 string, George on a Rickenbacker 12 string, Ringo on snare and cymbal, Paul on the Hofner bass and George Martin an a Steinway grand piano. Makes you want to hear it again right now, doesn't it?

Randy Bachman on A Hard Day's Night