A Hard Day's Night Soundtrack

Music review by
Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media
A Hard Day's Night Soundtrack Music Poster Image
Fab Four hit top form in first all-original soundtrack.

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Kids say

age 4+
Based on 6 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this music.

Educational Value

Kids learn about the ravages of romantic love, including jealousy, loneliness when separated from a sweetheart, and the pain of a broken heart.

Positive Messages

For the most part, these tunes are upbeat in their vibe and positive in their message: "I'm happy just to dance with you," says one song, while "Things We Said Today" promises fidelity through separation. Other songs deal with issues of being romantically lovelorn, some in ways that might be over the top in real life -- the singer of "I'll Cry Instead" has any number of revenge fantasies, but is too busy bursting into tears to put any of them into practice.

Positive Role Models & Representations

One raises an eyebrow at John Lennon in "You Can't Do That," as his jealousy seems much intertwined with his macho ego ("Everybody's green / 'cause I'm the one who won your love/ But if it's seen/ You're  talking that way / They'd laugh in my face"). But in other songs, the singer is a faithful friend who will be there "Any Time at All," and a happy romantic partner in good times and bad.

Violence & Scariness

In "I'll Cry Instead" John Lennon has "every reason on Earth to be mad," having just lost his girl. He says, "If I could see you now, I'd try to make you sad somehow," but then adds "but I can't, so I'll cry instead."

Sexy Stuff

"When I Get Home" contains the lines "I'm gonna love her till the cows come home / And then I'll love her more till I walk out that door again."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The heavy smoking and occasional drug humor that are an issue in the movie are luckily absent from the music.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the soundtrack to the Beatles' first movie,  A Hard Day's Night, has been an all-ages favorite pretty much since the day it came out; it's the first Beatles album that was all Lennon-McCartney originals, and the songwriting duo showed their mastery of the two-minute single with such hits as the title tune, "Can't Buy Me Love," and "If I Fell." There's an occasional racy lyric ("I'm gonna love her till the cows come home / And then I'll love her more till I walk out that door again"), and "You Can't Do That" seems driven by the same insecure jealousy that turns up in John Lennon's later work. But especially by the standards of today's music, this is good, clean, catchy pop at its absolute best.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written bylostboy April 18, 2021

Good Introduction to The Beatles

A Hard Day's Night is one of the best Beatlemania albums, the first all original. It is extremely catchy and relatively short for an album (30 minutes comp... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old September 8, 2020

Age-appropriate, well-crafted love songs

These tunes are all about being a faithful, devoted romantic partner. Kids will love the danceable music and the crafted lyrics in this timeless favorite.

What's the story?

A hit since the day it came out in 1964, the soundtrack to the Beatles' movie A Hard Day's Night was also the first Beatles album to include nothing but Lennon-McCartney originals, and left no doubt that the songwriting team had come into its own. This 2009 version of the album, which follows the original British release in including numerous tracks that don't appear in the movie, also includes a short making-of documentary video.

Is it any good?

There's not a bad song in this entire collection, and many -- e.g. "A Hard Day's Night," "If I Fell," "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better," "And I Love Her," "Things We Said Today" -- are enduring favorites in pop music and the Beatles songbook. Lennon/McCartney are in top form here, and having a good time, too.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why the album A Hard Day's Night was so popular when it first came out in 1964, and why these songs are still so appealing to so many today.

  • Do you like the way the music was used in the movie? Do you have any favorite scenes?

  • Lennon and McCartney are seen as geniuses now, but at the time these songs were written, most adults mocked the idea that rock 'n' roll artists could be serious songwriters. How do perceptions change and artists get more respect?

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