I Should Have Known Better

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"I Should Have Known Better"
Song by the Beatles from the album A Hard Day's Night
Released10 July 1964
Recorded25–26 February 1964,
EMI Studios, London
GenrePop rock
Length2:44
LabelParlophone
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
A Hard Day's Night track listing
 
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"I Should Have Known Better"
Song by the Beatles from the album A Hard Day's Night
Released10 July 1964
Recorded25–26 February 1964,
EMI Studios, London
GenrePop rock
Length2:44
LabelParlophone
WriterLennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
A Hard Day's Night track listing
"I Should Have Known Better"
Single by the Beatles
from the album A Hard Day's Night
A-side"A Hard Day's Night"
Released13 July 1964
Formatvinyl record (7")
Recorded25–26 February 1964,
EMI Studios, London
GenrePop rock
Length2:44
LabelCapitol
Writer(s)Lennon–McCartney
ProducerGeorge Martin
the Beatles singles chronology
"Can't Buy Me Love"
(1964)

"Let it Be"
(1970)
"A Hard Day's Night"
(US-1964)

"Yesterday"
(UK-1976)
"And I Love Her"
(US-1964)

"Back in the U.S.S.R."
(UK-1976)

"I Should Have Known Better" is a song composed by John Lennon[1][2] (credited to Lennon–McCartney), and originally released by the Beatles on the United Kingdom version of A Hard Day's Night, their soundtrack for the film of the same name.

The song is performed in the train compartment scene of A Hard Day's Night. It was in fact filmed in a van, with crew members rocking the vehicle to fake the action of a train in motion. [3] Paul McCartney is seen singing along both in the train scene and in the live performance at the end of the film, despite not singing in the recording.

An orchestrated version of the song conducted by George Martin appears on the North American version of the album.

Origin[edit]

In January 1964, during a three-week engagement at the Olympia Theatre in Paris, the Beatles first became aware of American singer and songwriter Bob Dylan, and after acquiring a copy of his album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan, they began playing it continuously.[4] American journalist Al Aronowitz introduced them to Dylan when the Beatles visited New York in February 1964, and Dylan subsequently became a big influence on the group, especially Lennon, who even started wearing a copycat Huckleberry Finn cap.[5] One consequence of this “infatuation” (as Ian MacDonald later described it) was the song "I Should Have Known Better."[6] Paul McCartney said Dylan's songs were "great lyrically,"[7] and Lennon credited Dylan with inspiring him to write more meaningful lyrics.[8]

Recording[edit]

The first recording session for the song was on 25 February 1964 at Abbey Road Studios when three takes were attempted, but only one was complete. Take 2 was aborted when Lennon broke into hysterics over his harmonica playing. The song was re-recorded the next day after making some changes to the arrangement.[9]

Lennon's harmonica playing opens the track, the last occasion the Beatles were to feature this instrument on an intro ("I'm a Loser," recorded 14 August 1964 has a harmonica solo) and thus draws a line under a significant period of their early music. The song's middle sixteen section features George Harrison's brand new Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar.[6]

The mono and stereo versions have slightly different harmonica introductions. In the stereo version, the harmonica drops out briefly.[10] (A stereo edit that fixes this mistake appears uniquely on the US Capitol release of the 1982 Beatles compilation Reel Music.) Also, a noticeably clumsy and audible tape edit is heard during the second middle eight between "You're gonna say you love me, too" and "And when I ask you to be mine."

Release[edit]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the UK, "I Should Have Known Better" appeared on A Hard Day's Night and was released on 10 July 1964. It was not released as a single at that time. In 1976, it was released as a B-side to "Yesterday."[11][12]

United States[edit]

In the US, "I Should Have Known Better" was released on 13 July 1964 as the B-side to "A Hard Day's Night"[13][14] and reached No. 53 in the Billboard Top 100, and No. 43 on the Cash Box chart. Of note, there were four higher-charting Beatles' hits blocking its entrance into the Top 40.

As part of the movie contract, United Artists acquired album rights for the American market.[15] They released a soundtrack album on 26 June 1964 with eight Beatles songs and four instrumentals. "I Should Have Known Better" was performed in the film, and it appears on the soundtrack. Capitol Records released Something New a month later with songs from the UK version of A Hard Day's Night that were not used in the film. It was later released by Capitol on the Hey Jude compilation album in 1970.[16]

Continental Europe[edit]

"I Should Have Known Better" was released as a single in a number of continental European countries, including Norway, where it reached number one,[17] and West Germany, where it reached number six.[18]

Personnel[edit]

Personnel per Ian MacDonald[6]

Cover versions[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 194.
  2. ^ Miles 1997, p. 164.
  3. ^ Dowlding 1989, p. 68.
  4. ^ The Beatles 2000, p. 112.
  5. ^ Harry 2000, pp. 357–359.
  6. ^ a b c MacDonald 2005, p. 109–110.
  7. ^ Miles 1997, p. 195.
  8. ^ Sheff 2000, p. 179.
  9. ^ Lewisohn 1988, pp. 39–40.
  10. ^ Cross 2005, p. 384.
  11. ^ Cross 2005, p. 592.
  12. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 200.
  13. ^ Cross 2005, pp. 530–531.
  14. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 201.
  15. ^ Harry 2000, pp. 483–484.
  16. ^ Lewisohn 1988.
  17. ^ MUSIKKEXTRA 2009.
  18. ^ Inifity Charts 2009.

References[edit]

External links[edit]