The Fab 50: The Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Moments
Check out Guitar World's guide to the Fab 50 — the Beatles' 50 finest guitar moments!
06. A Hard Day’s Night
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
It lasts all of roughly three seconds, but the sustained opening chord to this classic Beatlemania track is one of rock and roll’s greatest and most recognizable musical moments.
Bright and bold as a tolling bell, it loudly announced in 1964 not just the start of the Beatles’ latest album but also the dawning of a cultural transformation that owed nearly everything to the group’s influence.
The song was written to order for the Beatles’ feature-length film debut, A Hard Day’s Night. According to George Martin, “We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning.”
The dense harmonic cluster that Martin and the group created is the result of four instruments sounding simultaneously: Harrison on his 12-string Rickenbacker and Lennon on his Gibson J-160E acoustic, both strumming an Fadd9 chord (with a G on the high E); McCartney on his Hofner 500/1 bass, plucking a D note (probably at the 12th fret of his D string); and Martin on grand piano, playing low D and G notes.
The resulting chord has been described as, technically, G7add9sus4, but to millions of eager listeners in 1964, it was simply the sound of an electrifying new era.
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