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How the Beatles Took America: Photos of the Historic 1964 Invasion

A closer look at Rolling Stone's cover story tracing the biggest explosion rock has ever seen
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'A Hard Day's Night' Premiere

Days after returning to England, the Beatles began the filming of their first major movie, A Hard Day's Night, which would open in 500 theaters in America on August 13th. Many reviewers were astounded at how good the film was. Newsweek, which had earlier viewed the Beatles with contempt, now wrote, "With all the ill will in the world, one sits there, watching and listening – and feels one's intelligence dissolving in a pool of approbation and participation." Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and social critic Arthur Schlesin­ger Jr., who had been a special assistant to President Kennedy, characterized A Hard Day's Night as a "conspiracy of delinquency against pomposity." The U.K. version of the soundtrack – the first and only Beat­les album composed entirely of Lennon-McCartney songs – showed a new range of artistry. The title track, by Lennon (who dominates the album), bursts open with a startling and unusual chord thrum, then pushes ahead with unrelenting desire. The band was starting to consider more sober themes of longing, absence and bitter regret. 

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