“I Should Have Known Better” is a Beatles’ song from their 1964 soundtrack album, “A Hard Day’s Night” and it also appears in the film of the same name too.
Recorded: 25th & 26th February, 1964
Studio: EMI Studios, London
Genre: Pop rock
Track Duration: 2:44
Record Label: Parlophone
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith
Paul McCartney: bass guitar
George Harrison: twelve-string lead guitar
Ringo Starr: drums
I Should Have Known Better
Written by John Lennon with credit going to the successful songwriting partnership of Lennon-McCartney of course, “I Should Have Known Better” is a song on The Beatles’ 1964 soundtrack album, “A Hard Day’s Night”. The song is also memorable for the train carriage scene in the film by the same name.
The scene begins with Paul McCartney locking up his grandfather (Wilfrid Brambell) in the guard’s van to keep him out of trouble. The rest of The Beatles soon join them and they begin to play cards. They then burst into the song after four schoolgirls happen to find them. One of these actors, Patti Boyd, sits with them in the carriage. She later became George Harrison’s wife.
John Lennon’s harmonica solo is similar to that on Frank Ifield’s single, “The Wayward Wind” from March, 1963. The Beatles sang one of his songs, “I Remember You”, in Hamburg during 1962. So, they were clearly fans of his. However, this was the last Beatles’ song to feature a mouth organ as an intro.
George Harrison’s brand new Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar is a feature during the song’s middle sixteen section. Meanwhile, John Lennon uses a Gibson Jumbo J-160E electro acoustic guitar.
The Beatles began recording “I Should Have Known Better” on the 25th February, 1964, in Studio Two of the EMI Studios, London during the 2.30pm-5.30pm session. They recorded 3 takes that day as well as recording “You Can’t Do That” together with “And I Love Her“.
Not satisfied with the original 3 takes, they returned to the same studio the next day and recorded a further 18 takes. Out of all those recordings, they chose take 9 as being suitable for the master tape suitable for overdubbing John Lennon’s harmonica etc.
With this song becoming the last Beatles track to feature a harmonica as an intro, it’s possibly fitting then that there are two slightly different versions. This occurs on the mono and stereo versions with the latter suffering a brief drop-out.
Although this was an album track only in the UK, it was the B-side to the single “A Hard Day’s Night” in America. However, after its release on the 13th July, 1964, it only made number 53 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart.