Released: 10 July 1964 (UK), 26 June 1964 (US)
A Hard Day’s Night
One of the more uptempo rockers on the A Hard Day’s Night album, Tell Me Why was written by John Lennon for the concert sequence in the film.
They needed another upbeat song and I just knocked it off. It was like a black-New-York-girl-group song
All We Are Saying, David Sheff
Although Lennon dismissed Tell Me Why as a throwaway, Paul McCartney later suggested the song, along with others written for A Hard Day’s Night, was partly autobiographical.
I think a lot of these songs like Tell Me Why may have been based in real experiences or affairs John was having or arguments with Cynthia or whatever, but it never occurred to us until later to put that slant on it all.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
Tell Me Why was featured in the ‘studio performance’ sequence of the A Hard Day’s Night film. The Beatles mimed to it in front of 350 screaming fans at the Scala Theatre, London, on 31 March 1964.
For reasons unknown, John Lennon’s vocals in the film are different from either the mono or stereo studio versions.
In the studio
The Beatles recorded Tell Me Why on 27 February 1964 in Abbey Road’s Studio Two. It took the group eight takes to perfect.