A Hard Day's Night album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 27 February 1964
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 10 July 1964 (UK), 26 June 1964 (US)

Available on:
A Hard Day’s Night


John Lennon: lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Paul McCartney: harmony vocals, bass
George Harrison: harmony vocals, lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
George Martin: piano

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
John Lennon
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.
Paul McCartney
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.

There are four I really go for [in the film]: Can’t Buy Me Love, If I Fell, I Should Have Known Better – a song with harmonica we feature during the opening train sequence – and Tell Me Why, a shuffle number that comes at the end of the film.
John Lennon, 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.

During the same session they also completed And I Love Her and If I Fell.