Tuesday, July 16, 2013

An Analysis of Otis Redding's Version of "A Hard Day's Night"

      

Otis Redding once said, "Don't ever do a song as you heard somebody else do it."  Here's a look at his version of the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night," which he performed without paying much attention to what the song was about.  

I always understood the Beatles' "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) to be a song about the pressures a man faces in order to prove his devotion to a woman.  In the song, a working-class man drives himself to exhaustion in pursuit of money, which he uses to buy material goods for his beloved. Perhaps this woman demands a lot of him; perhaps the narrator only uses conspicuous consumption as a way to prove his love while masking his own feelings of inadequatecy.     

At any rate, the man's strategy works, and when he comes home he feels the physical reward for his backbreaking effort. "Everything seems to be right," he says.

Otis Redding covered "A Hard Day's Night" in 1966, and his performance of the song at the Whisky a Go-Go appears on his album Good to Me, which didn't appear until decades after his death.  I've always loved Otis's version of it because it is so much fun, but it has almost nothing to do with the source material.  Below you will find a comparison of lyrics. 

(Incidentally, this amazing cover doesn't even top the list of "Favorite Cover of a Beatles Song from 1964 Re-done by a Memphis Soul Artist."  That spot is reserved for this beauty, my favorite Beatles cover ever.)

The Beatles' Version                                Otis Redding's Version


It's been a hard day's night
And I've been workin' like a dog.
It's been a hard day's night
I should be sleeping like a log.

Oh yeah!
It's been some hard day's night
I been workin' like a dog.
I been some hard days' night, now,
I been a-sleepin' like a log, man.
But when I get home to you
I find the things that you do
will make me feel all right.
But when I get home to you
Oh, there ain't nothing to do
Cause everything's gonna be all right.


You know I work all day
To get you money to buy you things.
And it's worth it just to hear you say
you're going to give me everything.
It's been some hard day's night, man.
I been a-workin' like a dog.
It's been a hard day's night.
I've been a-sleepin' like a log.

So why on earth should I moan?
'Cause when I get you alone,
you know I feel ok.
But when I get home to you
Oh, there ain't nothing to do.
I know that everything will be all right.

I get home to you
Oh, there ain't nothing to do.
I know that things gonna be all right.

When I'm home, everything seems to be right.
When I'm home, feeling you holding me tight.
Tight, yeah.

(Omit)

It's been a hard day's night
And I've been working like a dog.
It's been a hard day's night
I should be sleeping like a log.
But when I get home to you
I find the things that you do
will make me feel all right.

Ow!

So why on earth should I moan?
'Cause when I get you alone,
you know I feel ok.

(Repeat, etc.)
It's been some hard day's night.
I been a workin' like a dog.
There's been some hard day's nights, man.
I been a-sleepin' like a log.
But when I get home to you,
oh, there ain't nothing to do,
and everything gonna be all right!

(Repeat, etc.)

But when I get home to you
I'm not worried about nothin'!
Cause everything's gonna be all right!




  

2 comments:

  1. Interesting idea for a post.

    A friend of mine just introduced me to this amazing cover.

    ReplyDelete