Any Time At All (Remastered 2009)
Before the album's release, it seemed unlikely an English group playing R&B songs could compete in the music's birthplace. But early in 1964, "I Want to Hold Your Hand" was in heavy rotation at American Top 40 radio stations and rapidly ascending to the top of the U.S. singles chart. Its success heralded the biggest commercial domination since Elvis Presley rampaged through the charts in 1956. During a two-week U.S. promotional tour in February, The Beatles made three television appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. This introduction of The Beatles to America changed the lives of a generation, and turned the U.S. music scene upside down.
When they returned to the U.K., The Beatles quickly recorded songs for their first film. The pressure was intense, but the group created a landmark album. A Hard Day's Night's significance is twofold. First, the album consisted entirely of Lennon/McCartney compositions. As a mark of the quality of the material, several of the album's songs crossed over, enjoying interpretations by vocalists outside the pop world, such as jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald who recorded a swinging version of "Can't Buy Me Love." The ballads "And I Love Her" and "If I Fell" also soon attained standard status. Secondly, The Beatles' blend of instrumentation and harmonies on A Hard Day's Night defined a new musical genre: folk rock. Driven by shimmering acoustic guitars and the jangle of George Harrison's electric twelve-string Rickenbacker guitar, the album inspired such acts as The Byrds. The Beatles came of age with A Hard Day's Night.