Famous Beatles chord continues to fascinate

Thursday, January 26, 2017

And speaking of the Beatles (carrying over from last week), it may sound crazy but this column is about a guitar chord. That’s right — just one chord, so if you’re not into the guitar or Beatles music or whatever, so sorry.

And yet it might help that this is one of the most famous chords in popular music history, a beautifully sustained and shimmering blast from George Harrison’s Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar, a singularly bold, riveting and spine-tingling opening statement. The chord has entered music immortality and is instantly recognizable to almost everybody of that generation.

I’m referring of course to the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night.” It’s a song attributed to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but, according to various websites, it is mainly a solo Lennon composition that he dashed off in one evening during a creative frenzy after making up his mind to compose the eponymously-named movie title track (which, incidentally, was inspired by a Ringo Starr malapropism.)

On April 16, 1964, the band gathered at Studio 2 of EMI Studios in London. Lennon had the melody in his head and the lyrics scrawled on a piece of paper. The other bandmates knew nothing of either. Incredibly, according to Wikipedia (citing a 1980 Playboy interview with Lennon and the memoirs of Maureen Cleave, an Evening Standard journalist), it took the band just under three hours to put the song together and polish it up for final release, eventually deciding on the ninth take.

By: Edward M. Gilbreth

Source: Post and Courier


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