The Paul McCartney Project

Tell Me Why

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the A Hard Day's Night (Mono) Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 1964
Sessions This song has been recorded during the following sessions

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Song facts

From Wikipedia:

Tell Me Why” is a song by the Beatles from their album A Hard Day’s Night. In North America, it was released on both the American version of A Hard Day’s Night and the album Something New. Credited to Lennon–McCartney, it was written by John Lennon in either Paris or New York and recorded in eight takes on 27 February 1964.

Background

Paul McCartney said: “I think a lot of these [Lennon’s] songs like “Tell Me Why” may have been based in real experiences or affairs John was having, or arguments with Cynthia [Lennon’s wife] or whatever, but it never occurred to us until later to put that slant on it all.

Lennon described the song as resembling “a black New York girl-group song“. Its basic structure of simple doo-wop chord changes and block harmonies over a walking bass line “creates an illusion of sincerity through its sheer attack.

Tell Me Why” was performed in the Beatles’ debut feature film, A Hard Day’s Night. The song was part of the ‘studio performance’ sequence, which was filmed at the Scala Theatre, London, on 31 March 1964.

The song is in the key of D major. John, Paul, and George sing a three-part harmony. Unusually, Paul sings a lower harmony to John’s lead during the chorus.

From The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations:

  • [a] mono 3 Mar 1964.
    UK: Parlophone PMC 1230 Hard Day’s Night 1964.
    US: United Artists UAL 3366 Hard Day’s Night 1964, Capitol T 2018 Something New 1964.
    CD: EMI CDP 7 46437 2 Hard Day’s Night 1987.
  • [a1] mono made from [a] 1964, by United Artists.
    US: United Artists UAS 6366 Hard Day’s Night 1964.
  • [b] stereo 22 Jun 1964.
    UK: Parlophone PCS 3058 Hard Day’s Night 1964.
    US: Capitol ST 2018 Something New 1964.

Stereo [b] has a noise at the very end edited off the others. [a1] on UAS 6366 is mono except that in the verses it shifts toward the left for the solo call (John solo) and toward the right for the response (group).

Steve Shorten reports the original filmprint of A Hard Day’s Night has a different mono mix undocumented by Lewisohn, probably March 3, with the doubletrack vocal mixed differently, noticeably on “well I’m beggin’ on my bended knees, if you’ll only listen to my pleas”. See the American Film Institute restored version of 1996.

Last updated on March 6, 2016

Lyrics

Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me

Well I gave you everything I had
But you left me sitting on my own
Did you have to treat me oh so bad?
All I do is hang my head and moan

Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me

And if something I have said or done
Tell me what and I'll apologize
If you don't I really can't go on
Holding back these tears in my eyes

Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me

Well I'm beggin' on my bended knees
If you'll only listen to my pleas
Is there anything I can do?
'Cause I really can't stand it
I'm so in love with you

Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me
Tell me why you cried
And why you lied to me

Officially appears on


A Hard Day's Night (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:08 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 03, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Something New (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:10 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 03, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


A Hard Day's Night (Mono)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:10 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 03, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


A Hard Day's Night (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:09 • Studio versionA1 • Stereo • Mono made from [A]

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 03, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Extracts from the Film A Hard Day's Night

EP • Released in 1964

2:12 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Mar 03, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


Something New (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:10 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 22, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road


A Hard Day's Night (Stereo)

Official album • Released in 1964

2:08 • Studio versionB • Stereo

Paul McCartney:
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr:
Drums
John Lennon:
Lead vocals, Rhythm guitar
George Harrison:
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin:
Piano, Producer
Norman Smith:
Engineer

Session Recording:
Feb 27, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio Two, Abbey Road

Session Mixing:
Jun 22, 1964
Studio:
EMI Studios, Studio One, Abbey Road

Bootlegs


Lympne Castle Sessions

Unofficial album • Released in 2004

2:31 • Studio rehearsal

Recording:
May 1979
Studio:
Lympne Castle


A Hard Day's Night - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:14 • Alternate take • Stereo • Take 2 Partial


A Hard Day's Night - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:16 • Alternate take • Mono • Take 4 (Mono) DVD mix


A Hard Day's Night - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

0:16 • Alternate take • Mono • Take 4 (Mono) VHS Mix


A Hard Day's Night - Studio Sessions - Back To Basics

Unofficial album • Released in 2011

1:47 • Alternate take • Mono • RM from Take 8 v1 (Mono) Film Mix


Live performances

Paul McCartney has never played this song in concert.


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