Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 24, 1964 (Friday)

Edgehill Rd. West Ealing, London

A Hard Day's Night was completed during the morning with the filming of one final section of Ringo's solo sequence: where he obligingly drapes his coat over some puddles for a lady to step on, only to discover, by the worst possible means, that the final puddle was not a puddle at all but a large hole in the oad, presently inhabited by a workman. The sequence was shot in a residential street in West Ealing.

During the afternoon the cast (including the four Beatles) and crew met up in a private hall behind the Turks Head public house in St. Margaret's for an end-of-film party. One of the finest British musical films of all time, certainly the best "pop movie" of all, had been completed start to finish in a mere eight weeks. It's world premiere, attended by the Beatles, took place at the London Pavilion cinema on Piccadily Circus, central London, the evening of July 6th.

Note: During the course of shooting A Hard Day's Night United Artists ensured that considerable additional footage was shot, showing the group in candid off-camera moments, being filmed by director Richard Lester's main camera moments, recording some of the soundtrack at EMI Studios in Abbey Road (mute film; no one has yet been able to deduce which date it was shot). UA then reached a deal with the the BBC for exclusive British television rights to  the material, and the Corporation set about compiling an excellent 28 minute documentary, Follow The Beatles, transmitted by BBC1 on Monday, August 3, 1964.

The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn


The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 23, 1964 (Thursday)

Thornbury Playing Fields, Bridge Rd. Isleworth, Middlesex and Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

The aerial shots of the Beatles cavorting on a helicopter launch/landing pad to the tune of "Can't Buy Me Love", filmed at Gatwick Airport South on March 13, were consiered insufficient for this sequence, so Richard Lester had the Beatles congregate early this morning at Thornbury Playing Fields in Isleworth, near London Airport, for some more filming, done at ground-level this time and on a fake helicopter pad constructed in four pieces. The Beatles ran about and played the fool as before, and Lester also had John, Paul and George jump off a ladder, filmed by a cameraman laying on the ground, to give viewers the impression of high-altitude leaping.

Later in the morning John had to leave Isleworth to attend a literary luncheon being held in his honour at the Dorchester Hotel, so the final items of shooting took place without him. (This is why only Paul, George and Ringo appear at the very end of the "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence, when a groundsman shouts at them "I suppose you know this is private property" and George sarcastically responds, "Sorry we hurt your field, mister".)

Filming at Isleworth ended at 1:00 pm so it's possible that any or even all of the Beatles attended a 4:30-5:45 mix session at Abbey Road, which resulted in another mono version of "A Hard Day's Night", this one for record release.


The Complete Beatles Chronicle - ML

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 22, 1964 (Wednesday)

Odeon Cinema, Queen Caroline St. Hammersmith, London and other London locations

In the early morning the four Beatles were filmed running down the iron staircase at the rear of the Hammersmith Odeon cinema, footage of which, in editing, was butted-up to the "We're Out!" "corridor" scene (shot at Twickenham, March 18-19) as the opening part of the "Can't Buy Me Love" sequence. The Beatles would return to the Odeon - inside the venue - for their 1964 Christmas show production.

The group switched locations but remained in west London for the afternoon, filming another police chase scene up and down St. Luke's Road in Notting Hill Gate (while John Bluthal acted the part of the car thief). Then Ringo alone was filmed in nearby Lancaster Road, as part of his solo sequence; stopping to photograph milk bottles, being chased by two girl fans, diving into a secondhand goods shop (at 20 All Saints Rd.), emerging partly disguised (the success which was immediately proven when his attempt to chat up a passing girl led to instant rejection) and then walking up "All Saints Road, his progress monitored by a policeman. Finally, Paul was filmed walking along Goldhawk Road in Shepherd's Bush, entering through the door of Jack Billings TV School Of Dancing, temporarily sign-posted "TV Rehearsal Room".

The Complete Beatles Chronicle - ML


The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 21, 1964 (Tuesday)

The Jack Billings TV School of Dancing, London

The 2nd day of Paul's "rehearsal room" shoot with Isla Blair. As with the previous day, the other three Beatles did not attend.

The Complete Beatles Chronicle - ML

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 20, 1964 (Monday)

The Jack Billings TV School of Dancing, Goldhawk Rd. London

The only one of the Beatles not, so far, to have been involved in a solo scene for A Hard Day's Night was Paul, and this and the next day balanced that situation with the rehearsing and shooting of a long sequence. Out looking for the missing Ringo, Paul comes across a rehearsal room (actually a west London dance studio), enters and has a long conversation with an actress (Isla Blair) who has been rehearsing lines presuming that she was alone.

Despite the two-day shoot, and some re-writing by Paul and also by Richard Lester of Alun Owen's original script, the sequence was cut from the finished film, so Paul never did appear in a solo sequence.

Meanwhile, back at Abbey Road, 2:00-3:15 pm, George Martin was at work producing mono and stereo mixes of "A Hard Day's Night", the tapes taken away by United Artists.

The Beatles Complete Chronicle - ML

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 19, 1964 (Sunday)

IBC Studios, Portland Place, London

Although the acts in Around The Beatles would give the appearance of a live performance, in that they would not be miming to records, they would, in fact, be miming to a pre-taped soundtrack. Consequently, all of the musical participants in the production assembled today at an independent recording studio - IBC in Central London - for a 10:00 am-8:30 pm session. Second engineer/tape op was Glyn Johns, destined to be engineer/producer for the Beatle's Get Back/Let It Be album. (Terry Johnson was balance engineer for this IBC session; there was no producer, as such.)

Excercising their right, as stars of the show, to record their session last, the Beatles arrived at IBC in the early evening, by which time the other acts had taped their contributions. The Beatles session was especially interesting, for apart from recording versions of "Twist And Shout", "Roll Over Beethoven", "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Long Tall Sally" and "Can't Buy Me Love", they also, unusually, performed a medley of their hits to date - "Love Me Do", "Please Please Me", "From Me To You", "She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" - and then finished with "Shout", the Isley Brother's 1959 song which the Beatles hadn't performed since the onset of fame.

Although they mimed to these recordings on April 28th, the accompanying audience screams were preserved on the finished television soundtrack, detracting from the performance.

The Complete Beatles Chronicle - Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 18, 1964 (Saturday)

Twickenham Film Studios, St. Margaret's Twickenham and Hall of Remembrance, Flood St. London

The Beatles spent the morning undertaking post-sync work on A Hard Day's Night, adding and re-cording bits of dialogue where necessary. The afternoon, however, was devoted to an entirely different project.

A Hard Day's Night had still to be completed when Brian Epstein accepted a proposal from London-area ITV franchise Rediffusion (renamed on April 6th and no longer Associated-Rediffusion) for the making of a one hour television special starring the Beatles. Hence, the two productions overlapped. (Typical of this period's "starring" vehicles, viewers certainly did not see an hour of the the Beatles in the one-hour show, for it also featured PJ Proby, the Vernons Girls, Long John Baldry, Millie, the Jets (an American dance act) and other NEMS artists Cilla Black and Sounds Inc.) At this early stage, the whow was provisionally called John, Paul, George, and Ringo but it was later re-titled Around The Beatles to reflect the fact that it showed the acts performing "in the round", rather like an early Shakespeare production.

The group's contract for Around the Beatles called for them to attend five days of rehearsals between April 17 to 27 (for some of the other acts, rehearsals had begun on the 13th), to take place up to the 26th at the Hall Of Remembrance in Chelsea, and at Rediffusion's Wembley Studios on the 27th - the same place where video-taping would occur on the 28th. But owing to the still-busy A Hard Day's Night schedule, the Beatles diary was able to accommodate only three of the five: this afternoon, the 25th & 27th.

Brian Epstein negotiated a beneficial contract with Rediffusion, which granted him and the Beatles, among other perks, the opportunity to employ their preferred producer and director. Their choice for the former was Jack Good, the maestro behind early British TV pop shows like 6.5 Special and Oh Boy! As director, they chose Good's longtime associate Rita Gillespie. The Beatles would also work with Good again later in the year when they appeared in his US television show Shindig.

The complete Beatles Chronicle- Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles - A Day in The Life: April 17, 1964 (Friday)

Les Ambassadeurs, London

A return to Les Ambassadeurs, shooting the film's discotheque sequence in the club's Garrison Room the Beatles dancing to "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "Don't Bother Me". Suddenly, their biggest American champion, Ed Sullivan flew to England on Wednesday, April 15th, ready to interview the Beatles on location the next day. But Thursday, had seen the group frantically busy by their own high standards, so Sullivan's appointment was re-scheduled for today.

For all of his traveling and waiting, one wonders if Ed could have been happy with the result. The interview, conducted in the club's walled-garden, was extremely brief, 1 minute, 34 seconds, for insertion into the Sunday, May 24th edition of the "Ed Sullivan Show" (transmitted by the CBS network, 8:00-9:00, EST). A bonus, however, came in the form of a clip from A Hard Day's Night, supplied to Sullivan by United Artists to accompany the interview: it was a section from the Scala Theatre "Live Performance" filming on March 31st, the group miming to "You Can't Do That". When final editing was taking place this sequence was cut from the film, so - although he couldn't have known it at the time, six weeeks before the film's world premier - Sullivan's US broadcast had the footage exclusively.

The complete Beatles Chronicle, -Mark Lewisohn

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : April 16, 1964 (Thursday)

Notting Hill Gate locations, London and Studio Two, EMI Studios, London

The Beatles spent much of this day on location in Notting Hill Gate filming "chase scenes" with mock-policemen. The "police station" was actually St. John's Secondary School at 83 Clarendon Road. (Although the interior sequences were shot on a set at Twickenham, the Beatles did spend time inside St. John's on this day, mostily using it as a refuge from fans.) They also filmed in a neighbouring cul-de-sac (Heathfield Street) and, in a sequence cut from the finished production, at the Portland Arms public house, running in through an entrance in Portland Road and immediately exiting through another door onto Penzance Place. (Because it was deleted, director Richard Lester was able to use the same idea and location for his next film, "The Knack".)

Although it was now approaching completion, the Beatle's film remained untitled - until, that is, Ringo emerged somewhere after a long day's work (reputedly March 19), commented to someone "it's been a hard day" and then, seeing that it was already dark, tacked "s night" on the end. The phrase captured to perfection the mood of the film and was immediately adopted as its title, announced to the press on April 17th. (Ringo may have previously seen the phrase in John's book, for it appears in the "sad Michael" story.)

However the title had come about, though, was immaterial to the problem it now presented John and Paul: they had to write a song "to order", the title already set. And they did not disappoint, within a few days it was ready for recording, and the Beatles came to Abbey Road this evening to do just that, beginning the session at 7:00 and ending at 10:00, completing the song in just nine takes.

A Hard Day's Night was not only the title of the film: it was also the title of the accompaning 13 track album released by EMI on Friday, july 10, 1964, all songs composed by Lennon-McCartney, and of the Beatle's next British single, issued on the same date.

The Beatles - A Day in The Life : April 15, 1964 (Wednesday)

Scala Theatre (exterior), London and Studio 4, Television Centre, Wood Lane, London

A return to the Scala Theatre in Central London, although only to the outside of the building, filming scenes in Scala Street, Tottenham Street and also Charlotte Mews.

Paul taped his first solo TV appearance in the evening, being interviewed in a one-off chat/revue show presented by David Frost, the fast rising young star of British TV. Under the title "A Degree of Frost", the programme was transmitted from 10:15 to 11:00 pm on Wedndesday, May 18th by the BBC1 network (now with the numerical suffix, to differentiate it from BBC2, which had opened on April 20, 1964. It was repeated on Tuesday, September 1st, 8:00 to 8:45 pm.

The show was taped from 8:30 pm in front of an audience at the BBC's Television Centre premises in White City, west London, with rehearsals having begun eight hours earlier, at 10:30 am. (Busy filming at the Scala, Paul would have arrived some time later.) It was produced by Joe McGrath, the first of several occasions that he would be associated with the film and TV work of the Beatles, individually and as a group.