John Lennon Compared Writing The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ to Sexual ‘Hysteria’

John Lennon said writing The Beatles‘ “A Hard Day’s Night” with Paul McCartney was like sexual “hysteria.” On the other hand, he said creating The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road was a more “mature” experience. Notably, “A Hard Day’s Night” became a hit twice in the United Kingdom.

The Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney wearing suits during the "A Hard Day's Night" era
The Beatles’ John Lennon and Paul McCartney | Fox Photos/Getty Images

John Lennon said his work with The Beatles became more ‘intellectual’ over time

The book All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono contains a 1980 interview. In it, the interviewer told John that the Lennon-McCartney partnership was “fruitful.” “Well, it was fertile in the way a relationship between a man and a woman becomes more fertile after eight or 10 years,” John replied.

“The depth of The Beatles’ songwriting, or of John and Paul’s contribution to The Beatles, in the late ’60s was more pronounced; it had a more mature, more intellectual — whatever you want to call it — approach,” John opined. “We were different. We were older. We knew each other on all kinds of levels that we didn’t when we were teenagers.”

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John Lennon compared The Beatles’ ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ to ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and ‘Abbey Road’

John divided the Lennon-McCartney partnership into eras. “The early stuff — the ‘Hard Day’s Night’ period, I call it — was the sexual equivalent of the beginning hysteria of a relationship,” he said. “And the Sgt. PepperAbbey Road period was the mature part of the relationship.”

The “Imagine” singer discussed how the partnership could have evolved. “And maybe, had we gone on together, maybe something interesting would have come of it,” he said. “It wouldn’t have been the same. But maybe it was a marriage that had to end. Some marriages don’t get through that phase.”

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How ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ and its parent album performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“A Hard Day’s Night” became a big hit in the United States. The track topped the Billboard Hot 100 for two weeks, staying on the chart for 13 weeks altogether. The song appeared on the soundtrack for the film A Hard Day’s Night. The soundtrack was No. 1 for 14 of its 56 weeks on the Billboard 200.

The Official Charts Company reports “A Hard Day’s Night” became popular in the United Kingdom too. There, the tune was No. 1 for three of its 13 weeks on the chart in 1964. In 1984, the track recharted at No. 52 and stayed on the chart for three weeks. Meanwhile, the soundtrack for A Hard Day’s Night was No. 1 for 21 of its 39 weeks on the chart.

“A Hard Day’s Night” was a hit — even if it wasn’t The Beatles’ most “mature” song.

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