The Night Before (song)

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"The Night Before"
The Night Before - The Beatles.jpg
The Japanese single release of the song, backed with "Another Girl"
Song by the Beatles
from the album Help!
Published Northern Songs
Released 6 August 1965
Recorded 17 February 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Pop rock[1]
Length 2:33
Label Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Songwriter(s) Lennon–McCartney
Producer(s) George Martin

"The Night Before" is a song by the Beatles from their 1965 film Help and accompanying album Help!. The song was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney.

Composition and recording[edit]

Lennon plays a Hohner Pianet electric piano throughout the song, accompanied by McCartney's ascending and descending bass lines. The song's verse has a call and response structure. McCartney's lead vocal alternates with Lennon and George Harrison's harmony, singing the chorus "Ahhh, the night before …", the whole being alternated with a second melody.

The Beatles recorded the song at EMI's Abbey Road Studios on 17 February 1965.[2] The band achieved a satisfactory rhythm track after two takes, and then overdubbed the vocals, lead guitar parts and maracas.[3] The guitar solo over the third verse is repeated in part over the coda. Although author Ian MacDonald considers that the playing is more in McCartney's style,[4] these solos were performed by Harrison and McCartney together.[3][5] Lennon later recalled that Harrison and McCartney played "the same break exactly, both playing but in different octaves".[6]

Film performance[edit]

For the film Help!, the Beatles performed "The Night Before" on location at Salisbury Plain. Just as the song finishes, a bomb explodes. The scene was filmed in the shadow of Stonehenge.[7]

Live performances[edit]

McCartney played the song on 15 July 2011 at Yankee Stadium, stating from the stage that it was the first time he had performed the song in concert.[8] The only time the Beatles performed it outside of EMI Studios was for their final BBC radio session (The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket To Ride), on 26 May 1965. This performance was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme on 7 June that year.


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[4]

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "The Night Before review". 
  2. ^ Lewisohn 2005, p. 54.
  3. ^ a b Winn 2008, p. 298.
  4. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 147.
  5. ^ O'Toole, Kit (14 March 2014). "Deep Beatles: 'The Night Before' from Help (1965)". Something New!. Retrieved 24 October 2016. 
  6. ^ Everett 2001, p. 286.
  7. ^ "49 - 'The Night Before'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 June 2012. 
  8. ^ Mapes, J. (18 July 2011). "Paul McCartney at Yankee Stadium: 'Derek Jeter's Got More Hits Than Me'". Billboard magazine. Retrieved 19 July 2011. 


  • Everett, Walter (2001). The Beatles as Musicians: The Quarry Men through Rubber Soul. New York, NY: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-514105-9. 
  • Lewisohn, Mark (2005) [1988]. The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions: The Official Story of the Abbey Road Years 1962–1970. London: Bounty Books. ISBN 978-0-7537-2545-0. 
  • MacDonald, Ian (2005). Revolution in the Head: The Beatles' Records and the Sixties (Second Revised ed.). London: Pimlico (Rand). ISBN 1-84413-828-3. 
  • Winn, John C. (2008). Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, Volume One, 1962–1965. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-3074-5239-9. 

External links[edit]