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The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today : 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.

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