"A Hard Day's Night" not only was the de facto soundtrack for the Beatles movie, not only was it the first Beatles album to be nothing but originals (all penned by Lennon-McCartney), but it found the Beatles truly coming into their own as a band. All of the disparate influences on their first two albums had coalesced into a bright, joyous, original sound, filled with ringing guitars and irresistible melodies. "A Hard Day's Night" is where the Beatles became mythical, but this is the sound of Beatlemania in all of its giddy glory. Decades after its original release, its punchy blend of propulsive rhythms, jingly guitars, and infectious, sing along melodies is remarkably fresh.
There is something intrinsically exciting in the sound of the album itself, something to keep the record vital, years after its recording. Even more impressive are the songs themselves (obviously). Not only are the melodies forceful and memorable, but also Lennon and McCartney have found a number of variations to their basic Merseybeat style, from the brash "Can't Buy Me Love" and "Any Time At All" through the gentle "If I Fell" to the tough folk-rock of "I'll Cry Instead". It's possible to hear both songwriters develop their own distinctive voices on the album, but, overall, "A Hard Day's Night" stands as a testament to their collaborative powers- never again did they write together so well and so easily, choosing to pursue their own routes.
John Lennon and Paul McCartney must have known how strong the material was/is- they threw the pleasant trifle "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" to George and didn't give anything to Ringo to sing. That may have been a little selfish, but it hardly hurts the album, since everything on the record is performed with genuine glee and excitement. It's the pinnacle of the Beatles early years.
This is a truly great album; it's one of my favourites. If you haven't got it-you're crazy!