The Night Before (song)

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"The Night Before"
The Night Before sheet music cover.jpg
Cover of the song's sheet music
Song by the Beatles
from the album Help!
PublishedNorthern Songs
Released6 August 1965
Recorded17 February 1965,
EMI Studios, London
GenrePop rock[1]
Producer(s)George Martin

"The Night Before" is a song by the English rock band 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]

John Lennon plays a Hohner Pianet electric piano throughout the song.[2] The verses have a call and response structure.[3] 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. In the opinion of musicologist Walter Everett, had the Beatles recorded "The Night Before" at a slower tempo, it "could have been a Kinks or Animals song".[4]

The Beatles recorded the song at EMI Studios (now Abbey Road Studios) in London on 17 February 1965.[5] The band achieved a satisfactory rhythm track after two takes, and then overdubbed the vocals, lead guitar parts and maracas.[6] The guitar solo over the third verse is repeated in part over the coda. Among Beatles biographers, Ian MacDonald considers that the playing is more in McCartney's style,[7] while Kenneth Womack credits only McCartney as the soloist and lists Harrison on rhythm guitar, playing his Gretsch Tennessean.[8] However, the solos were performed by Harrison and McCartney together.[6][9] Lennon later recalled that Harrison and McCartney played "the same break exactly, both playing but in different octaves".[2]

Film performance[edit]

For the film Help!, the Beatles performed "The Night Before" on location at Salisbury Plain.[10] Just as the song finishes, a bomb explodes. The scene was filmed in the shadow of Stonehenge.[11]

Live performances[edit]

The Beatles performed "The Night Before" during their final BBC radio session, on 26 May 1965. Titled The Beatles Invite You to Take a Ticket to Ride, this performance was broadcast on the BBC Light Programme on 7 June that year.[12]

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.[13]


According to Ian MacDonald[7] unless stated otherwise:

Cover versions[edit]


  1. ^ "The Night Before review".
  2. ^ a b Everett 2001, p. 286.
  3. ^ Womack 2014, p. 665.
  4. ^ Everett 2001, pp. 286–87.
  5. ^ Lewisohn 2005, p. 54.
  6. ^ a b Winn 2008, p. 298.
  7. ^ a b MacDonald 2005, p. 147.
  8. ^ a b Womack 2014, pp. 665–66.
  9. ^ a b O'Toole, Kit (14 March 2014). "Deep Beatles: 'The Night Before' from Help (1965)". Something New!. Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  10. ^ Womack 2014, p. 666.
  11. ^ "49 - 'The Night Before'". 100 Greatest Beatles Songs. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  12. ^ Winn 2008, p. 321.
  13. ^ 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.
  • Womack, Kenneth (2014). The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-0-313-39171-2.

External links[edit]