1964 was one long, hard slog for the Beatles, and by August 11, when they started taping their second album of the year, they were worn out from constant touring, filming, and recording. And it showed.
Under pressure to have new product in the shops in time for the Christmas gift bonanza, they turned in an inconsistent effort, falling back again on a clutch of cover versions to disguise a dearth of new material. Nevertheless, in the United Kingdom. Beatles For Sale sold over a million copies in its first week. Five days after its December 4 release, it dislodged their own A Hard Day's Night from the U.K. No. 1 slot, where it remained for nine weeks.
The downbeat mood of the songs on Beatles for Sale was reflected in the album cover, which shows the unsmiling, weary-looking Beatles in an autumn scene photographed at Hyde Park, London.
This was the first Beatles album to feature a gatefold cover (the next would be Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in 1967). The gatefold also featured Freeman's photographs. On the left is a shot of the Beatles' February 11 performance at the Coliseum in Washington D.C. On the right, the Beatles stand in front of a mural in the lobby of London's Twickenham Film Studios during the filming of A Hard Day's Night.
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