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(Credit: Blue Jay Way)


The Beatles song that was rejected for the ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ film


As The Beatles were compiling material for their first film A Hard Day’s Night, director Dick Lester was starting to plot out the sequencing and pace of the film’s set-pieces. One day, Lester had the idea of the band “getting out” and escaping from the confines of the studio that they are ordered to stay in and having a playful trek across an open field. The sequence would show off the band’s rambunctious nature and easy fun, but Lester needed the perfect song to soundtrack it.

When asked for an appropriate song, John Lennon went home and wrote ‘I’ll Cry Instead’, but Lester wound up being unimpressed by the effort. “I wrote that for A Hard Day’s Night, but Dick Lester didn’t even want it,” Lennon recalled to David Sheff in 1980. “He resurrected ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ for that sequence instead. I like the middle eight to that song, though – that’s about all I can say about it.”

Featuring The Beatles at their most country, ‘I’ll Cry Instead’ was more indicative of the anxiety that came with Beatlemania rather than the carefree image that Lester wished to put on screen. Lennon’s first wife, Cynthia, interpreted the song as being a reflection of Lennon’s loss of privacy and increasing frustrations that came with being a famous musician. Paul McCartney would later opinion in All The Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release that it was actually Lennon’s dissatisfaction with his marriage that inspired the song.

In any case, ‘I’ll Cry Instead’ was not appropriate for the sequence that Lester had in mind. Instead of asking the band to write a brand new song, Lester found his solution in ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, the recent single that the band had released. Fitting the uptempo and exciting atmosphere that Lester was after, the director simply poached the song and included it in the film.

Contrary to their normal working habits, The Beatles included ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ onto the tracklisting for the A Hard Day’s Night album. Most of the time, singles were excluded from the band’s albums, as it was viewed as a cheap method to profit off of the same song twice. Since A Hard Day’s Night was shaping up to be a hybrid studio/soundtrack album, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ was dutifully included. So was ‘I’ll Cry Instead’, even though it was removed from the actual film.

Listen to ‘I’ll Cry Instead’ down below.