About fifteen minutes into Hard Day’s Night it occurred to me I had never seen it before. I was kind of amazed at that feat of unhipness. I’ve seen so many other Richard Lester flicks. And I liked the movie. It’s funny, for sure, and Paul’s grandfather was as weird a maguffin as any movie has ever had. Alas, I’ve never been a fan of the early Beatles tunes, they’re way too pop for my grizzled sensibilities, though without them it wouldn’t be much of a Beatles movie, would it? The title track is catchy, but I’m embarrassed to admit my favorite musical bit was the inventive little thing Paul McCartney goofed around with on the piano early in the flick. I listened to that three or four times, in fact. There was also a terrific saxophonist in the television studio band, and left me wondering who it was. Maybe John Dankworth?
Meanwhile I kept waiting for the lads to do Hide Your Love Away, my favorite by far of their old tunes, but by the time the credits began rolling it dawned on me that Hide Your Live Away was from Help!, which apparently I had seen and confused with Hard Day’s Night. Anyway, it’s a fun movie, a very unique bit of comedy, and certainly no other rocknroll band managed to be anywhere near as funny on celluloid. But the Beatles, musically, were much more interesting once they’d started doing drugs. Two years after Hard Day’s Night they recorded Tomorrow Never Knows. Amazing how fast things change sometimes.
I gotta admit that it’s kind of embarrassing to see Hard Day’s Night for the first time at age sixty one. Even more embarrassing when your favorite Beatle is the old man. In my defense, though, I did see all the Stones films, even Charlie Is My Darling. I was one of those high school kids in the seventies who hung out at the hippie art houses when they showed rocknroll movies. I saw them all. I could sing along to Country Joe and The Fish in Zachariah. Saw Jimi Plays Berkeley four times. Watched Stephen Stills sucker punch a freak in Celebration At Big Sir. Saw Yellow Submarine I don’t know how many times. But Hard Day’s Night not even once, somehow. Hard to be so ungear.