The Night Before

Help! album artworkWritten by: Lennon-McCartney
Recorded: 17 February 1965
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Released: 6 August 1965 (UK), 13 August 1965 (US)

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

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Written mainly by Paul McCartney, The Night Before was featured in the Help! film during a scene filmed on Salisbury Plain, England.

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McCartney most likely composed the song at the flat in Wimpole Street, London, owned by Jane Asher's parents.

That's Paul again. I'll just say it's Paul, meaning I don't remember anything about it except it was in the movie Help!
John Lennon
All We Are Saying, David Sheff

One of the song's most notable features was the guitar solo, double tracked an octave apart, and played by McCartney and Harrison. John Lennon, meanwhile, played a Hohner Pianet electric piano, which gave the song much of its drive.

In the studio

The Beatles recorded the song in just two takes, on the afternoon of 17 February 1965 at Studio Two in EMI Studios in Abbey Road, London.

The session began at 2pm and ended at 7pm. Paul McCartney's lead vocals were double tracked. The song completed, from 7pm they turned their attention to George Harrison's You Like Me Too Much.

16 responses on “The Night Before

  1. SD

    “One of the song’s most notable features was the guitar solo, double tracked an octave apart, and played by McCartney.”

    That’s not quite right. We have a quote from Lennon: “George and Paul are playing the same break exactly, both playing but in different octaves” (Ray Coleman: “Here we go again”. Melody Maker, Feb 27 1965).

    So you should name both, George an Paul, on lead guitar!

  2. xiij

    I’m surprised this song doesn’t get more attention from the world. Were it on Rubber Soul I’m sure it would fit in very easily, and be a strong favourite

  3. metzgermeister77

    I think this is one of the oft-overlooked gems from this period of their career. It’s overshadowed by a lot of their less lightweight material, but the Hohner and double guitars on the solo give it a great, unique sound, and I have to once again cop to being a sucker for the call-and-response vocals.

  4. Peter

    I agree heartily with metzgermeister77 – this is a fantastic song from the Beatles’ mid-period. To me, it’s the VOCALS that drive this raver: Paul’s powerful, ragged-edge lead, augmented with John and George’s backup harmonies. Simply wonderful!

  5. BeatleBug

    Has anyone else noticed that there’s a marked lyrical similarity between “The Night Before” and “Yesterday”? Think about it: “Everything was fine the night before, but now she’s left me & I’m regretful;” “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, but now she’s left me & I’m regretful.” I suppose it makes sense; the two songs were both written by Paul, at around the same time.
    Of course, “Yesterday” is about a hundred times more poignant-sounding because it’s a slow, sad ballad backed by a string quartet rather than an upbeat rock number.

  6. Curtis Day

    This is during the period of Paul’s relationship with Jane Asher which was deteriorating painfully for Paul. The songs, Things We Said Today, And I Love Her, The Night Before, You Won’t See Me, We Can Work It Out, I’m Looking Through You and the goodbye song. . Yesterday.

  7. Julie

    George said how he’d felt like Rubber Soul and Revolver were like one big album.

    To me, if we are to pair off albums, I’d say Help and Rubber soul are that. And revolver could easily be a double album with Pepper.

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