Ringo Starr’s influence on The Beatles often goes unnoticed, yet in certain respects, it may have been overemphasized. Notably, Ringo is often recognized for the title “A Hard Day’s Night” of The Beatles’ song. Though John Lennon did appreciate Ringo’s input, he clarified that he’d already used the title. John had incorporated it into a story, which, viewed through today’s lens, might appear dated.
John Lennon once shared how “A Hard Day’s Night” revolved around its title. In the 1980 book “All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono,” John revealed the backstory. “[Director] Dick Lester proposed the title Hard Day’s Night from a Ringo comment,” John mentioned. “Though I’d used it in In His Own Write, it was a spontaneous remark from Ringo. He didn’t mean it humorously. It was just a Ringo-style slip of the tongue.” For perspective, John’s book was out in March 1964, and the film, song, and album by the same name followed in July.
“Dick Lester wanted that title, so I showed up with the song the next day,” John reminisced, highlighting the friendly competition between him and Paul McCartney for the leading tracks.
John’s quirky narrative in “In His Own Write” feels somewhat outdated today. The story “Sad Michael” includes the line “a hard days night.” The tale is filled with intentional errors and is centered on Michael, a character who, despite being deaf, blind, and mute, surprisingly responds to a police officer. The story tries to employ humor that today might seem in bad taste, leaning towards being ableist.
The phrase “a hard day’s night” from “Sad Michael” would have perhaps faded into obscurity if not for the song. It’s uncertain if Ringo was ever aware of the story’s existence.
Paul McCartney’s take on the song’s title is slightly different. In his 1997 memoir, “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” he recalls the moment without linking it to John’s book. According to Paul, Ringo casually mentioned, “Wow, it’s been a hard day’s night” post a show, a remark Paul felt was reminiscent of Lewis Carroll’s whimsical prose.