Help!

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A number of non-album tracks were also recorded during the Help! sessions. The first was Yes It Is, which became the b-side of the Ticket To Ride single in April 1965. It was recorded on 16 February, with the harmony vocals being overdubbed onto the rhythm track on the same day. The Beatles recorded another b-side in June 1965: I’m Down, which was released on the Help! single.

A version of Larry Williams’ Bad Boy was taped on 10 May, during the session that the group also recorded Williams’ Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The song was issued on the US album Beatles VI in June 1965, and on the UK compilation A Collection Of Beatles Oldies in December 1966.

Wait was taped in four takes on 17 June 1965, the last recording session for the album. The Beatles evidently didn’t think it good enough for inclusion on Help!, but revived it towards the end of the year when they needed more material for Rubber Soul.

Two songs recorded for Help! remained unreleased in the 1960s. If You’ve Got Trouble was recorded on 18 February 1965 as Ringo Starr’s solo vocal spot on the LP. One of Lennon-McCartney’s least successful compositions, it was shelved in favour of Act Naturally, and remained unreleased until Anthology 2 in 1996.

That Means A Lot was written by Lennon and McCartney for Help!, but was given instead to American singer PJ Proby. The Beatles attempted to record the song on 20 February and 30 March 1965, though neither version was considered suitable for release. The 20 February version was released on Anthology 2.

The UK release

Help! was released in the United Kingdom on 6 August 1965, as Parlophone PMC 1255 (mono) and PCS 3071 (stereo). It was also available on 4″ reel-to-reel tape, in mono only, as TA-PMC 1255.

The album followed the template established on A Hard Day’s Night, whereby the seven film soundtrack songs made up side one and non-soundtrack recordings were on the flipside.

The Help! LP entered the UK charts at number one on 14 August, knocking off The Sound Of Music from the top, and remaining there for nine weeks.

Over 250,000 copies of Help! were ordered in advance of its release, and sales topped 270,000 in its first week on sale. In all it spent 37 weeks on the charts before dropping out.

Two of the songs from Help! – the title track and Ticket To Ride – were released as singles in the UK, both of which topped the charts and became million-sellers.

The US edition

[singlepic=343,200,,,right]The American version of Help! was released one week later than its UK counterpart, on 13 August 1965. It had a deluxe gatefold sleeve.

In the US, Capitol Records had manufactured one million copies of Help! for the first pressing, which at the time was the largest initial order in the history of the music industry. The album sold more than three million copies, and after spending nine weeks at number one remained in the charts for a further 33 weeks.

The tracklisting was significantly different from the UK version. As before, it contained the seven songs from the film, but added six orchestral pieces from the soundtrack by The Ken Thorne Orchestra. It was released by Capitol Records as SMAS 2386.

Thorne’s score from the film contained a mixture of orchestrated Beatles tunes, classical music, and new compositions. The Capitol version of Help! was reissued on CD in 2006 as part of the Capitol Albums Vol. 2 box set.

The US version is also notable for a 16-second ‘James Bond’ introduction to the title track, which featuring John Barry-style guitar, plus orchestral and Indian instrumentation. The LP’s tracklisting featured 12 titles: Help!, The Night Before, From Me To You Fantasy (Instrumental), You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, I Need You, In The Tyrol (Instrumental), Another Girl, Another Hard Day’s Night (Instrumental), Ticket To Ride, The Bitter End/You Can’t Do That (Instrumental), You’re Going To Lose That Girl, The Chase (Instrumental).

I produced all the tracks for the film, but I wasn’t asked to do the scoring – another guy was offered the job. Dick Lester and I didn’t hit it off well on A Hard Day’s Night, and the fact that I got an Academy Award nomination for musical direction probably didn’t help either.
George Martin
Anthology

The US version of Help! was also the first Beatles release to feature a sitar. The instrumental Another Hard Day’s Night was a medley of A Hard Day’s Night, Can’t Buy Me Love and I Should Have Known Better, performed on a sitar, tablas, flute and finger cymbals. Although The Beatles didn’t perform on it, the tune soundtracked the film’s scene in the Rajahama restaurant, during the shooting of which George Harrison first played a sitar.

The first time that we were aware of anything Indian was when we were making Help!. There was an odd thing about an Indian and that Eastern sect that had the ring and the sacrifice; and on the set in one place they had sitars and things – they were the Indian band playing in the background, and George was looking at them.

We recorded that bit in London, in a restaurant. And then we were in the Bahamas filming a section and a little yogi runs over to us. We didn’t know what they were in those days, and this little Indian guy comes legging over and gives us a book each, signed to us, on yoga. We didn’t look at it, we just stuck it along with all the other things people would give us.

Then, about two years later, George had started getting into hatha yoga. He’d got involved in Indian music from looking at the instruments in the set. All from that crazy movie. Years later he met this yogi who gave us each that book; I’ve forgotten what his name was because they all have that ‘Baram Baram Badoolabam’, and all that jazz. All of the Indian involvement came out of the film Help!.

John Lennon, 1972
Anthology

The non-soundtrack songs from the UK version of Help! were spread over three US long-players. Three of the songs had already appeared on the Capitol LP Beatles VI. These were You Like Me Too Much, Dizzy Miss Lizzy, and Tell Me What You See.

Two more songs – I’ve Just Seen A Face and It’s Only Love – were held over for the US version of Rubber Soul, released on 6 December 1965. The remaining two – Yesterday and Act Naturally – were finally issued on the Yesterday… And Today LP on 20 June 1966.

On compact disc

When Help! was originally released in 1965, mono was still preferred by the majority of record buyers. As a result, George Martin and his assistants spent more time working on the mono mix than they did on the stereo. Martin was not even present when eight of the original stereo mixes were made.

When Martin prepared the compact disc reissue of Help! in 1987 he created a new stereo mix from the four track tapes. These mixes were selected for the 2009 remastered stereo version; the box set The Beatles In Mono contained both the original 1965 mono and stereo mixes.

20 responses on “Help!

  1. Roger

    ‘Help’ is a very “overlooked” Beatles album because its half Beatlemania and half “new” Beatles. While there are some great old-style Beatles songs on it, Beatlemania ends on this album…and ‘Rubber Soul’ begins. You get the best of both worlds on ‘Help’. Also, McCartney emerges as a strong song writer on this album for the first time…equal with Lennon. Previously, Lennon was the dominant singer/songwriter. This is probably why the next few years produced some of their finest music. Can’t forget Harrison. He also emerges as a strong song writer on ‘Help’ and continues on throughout his Beatle career.

    ‘Help’, ‘The Night Before’, ‘You’re Gonna Lose That Girl’, Yesterday’ ‘ Another Girl’…good Beatlemania-style songs.

    Then, the “new” Beatles emerge with “I’ve Just Seen A Face”, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, ‘It’s Only Love’, ‘Ticket To Ride’…ushering the “Rubber Soul/Revolver” period…and a great Harrison tune, ‘I Need You’.

  2. Julio

    Yesterday, a beatlemania-style song? I actually think that Mccartney does not really arrive as songwriter until Revolver, with the exception of Yesterday. It is interesting that he becomes so prolific and dominating in 1967 but all of the songs that really give the beatles depth and soul belong to John although Paul contributes a lot to John songs. Probably more than John contributed to Paul’s. The masterpieces of 67 include: Strawberry Fields, Mr. Kite,Lucy in the sky w/ Diamonds, Day in the life, I am the Walrus, All you need is love. The only 67 Paul song that is of this caliber is Penny Lane. If you take John’s contribution off of Pepper and George’s Within you and Without you it is a rather light weight record. Don’t get me wrong, I love Paul but John really gets depicted badly in Emmerick’s book. After reading it, you would think that old Geoff fancied Paul.

    1. thomas

      Neither of you guys seems to know what you are talking about. 1) The idea that the Beatles wrote “Beatlemania” songs until a certain point and then suddenly changed it with Rubber Soul/Revolver is nonsense. The hallmark of Lennon-McCartney songwriting was they insisted on writing something new and different from any previous song, exploring new musical territory. Beatlemania was not a song writing genre, but something the press made up to describe fan reaction. Beatlemania “ended” when they decided to stop touring, period. Not only were they tired of it, but reproducing their increasing complex songs (like Rain/Paperback Writer) on stage was difficult and frustrating.

      2) Lennon and McCartney were in fact largely equal co-writers on many of the early songs (From Me To You, She Loves You, I Wanna Hold Your Hand, This Boy, etc.), with McCartney early on revealing a special talent for creating memorable melodies (something Lennon tended to struggle with, especially in later years.) Lennon was a great lyricist and straight rock and roller, and it should be pointed out their first two albums featured lots of rock and roll covers, plus a few great original compositions. Writing-wise, I Saw Her Standing There was largely Paul, as was Love Me Do. All My Loving was all Paul. By A Hard Day’s Night some truly timeless standouts were being written by Paul (And I Love Her, Can’t Buy Me Love, Things We Said Today.) The songs A Hard Day’s Night and I’m Happy Just To Dance With You were co-written, while You Can’t Do That was a classic Lennon rocker (and a personal favorite of mine.) McCartney likewise made considerable contributions to Help. Even excluding Paul’s unmatched Yesterday, McCartney songs like The Night Before are quite notable, as well as his distinctive co-writing on Ticket To Ride (including the unique drum syncopations which were all Paul.)

      So, the ridiculous notion that McCartney didn’t come into his own as a songwriter until Revolver or later is simply misguided fantasy with no basis in fact. Even sillier is the assertion Lennon wrote any/all songs of substance in 1967. Nonsense. Hello Goodbye, yep, B side to Walrus A, went to No. 1 while Walrus tanked (guess the public knew best on that one.) Then there was Fool On The Hill, a remarkably beautiful song Paul composed while at the same time co-writing A Little Help From My Friends with Lennon. Then of course was Sgt. Pepper, a classic rocker featuring one of McCartney’s best vocals ever (plus his lead on guitar.) Not to mention there would be no Day in the Life had not McCartney provided the incredibly symphonic musical depth for the song’s middle. Then again, Lennon later dissed much of his own work on Pepper, saying how dissatisfied he was with it and would like to do it over. I don’t happen to agree, I think Lennon’s Pepper contributions were oustanding. Lennon though could get fairly petty not only about Paul’s work but everything Beatles, which apparently still translates over to some fans who never weary of this silly pissing match…

        1. thomas

          I prefer reading comments by people who actually know something and don’t just make stuff up while ignoring facts (like calling Ringo “clumsy.”) Early on McCartney and Lennon were equal songwriters. That’s why they were a songwriting “team.” Though different in applied talents, one was not more dominant then the other.

          1. Joe Post author

            OK, can I request that you all play nicely? There’s room for opinions without it getting personal, so let’s try to keep this a pleasant place to discuss the songs.

      1. Roger

        WOW! I never thought an observing commentary on the “Help” album could bring such anger from a McCartneyologist. While it’s true that McCartney made Lennon a better songwriter, the same can be said for Lennon for McCartney. However, what I said was a personal opinion that I think the “Help” album was the Beatles saying goodbye to Beatlemania and introducing themselves to the “Rubber Soul” era. Half of “Help” was Beatlemania, the other half was more mature, laid back, more acoustic and McCartney offered us more. I have to take the word of McCartney that he and Lennon wrote eyeball to eyeball (as Lennon also said), but that whoever was the primary writer…sang the song. No doubt also that if the Beatles were made up of only Lennon’s songs, then we’d be bored quickly…vice versa with only McCartney’s songs, if they had no influence on one another. So come on Thomas, lighten up and open up to other opinions…but thanks for the critique and you have some valid points.

        1. metzgermeister77

          I have to disagree with you on Help! being their transitional album. There are still some lingering elements of their earlier years, but in my book the transition really began with the moody Beatles For Sale. As I said over on the comments for No Reply:

          One of my absolute favorites, and, in my mind, the point where the Beatles enter what I think of their “middle period” pre-Revolver (even though the Revolver-Sgt. Pepper-Magical Mystery Tour era straddles the middle of their career, I feel this stretch of albums is kind of a musical adolescence).

          So while Help! is definitely transitioning, I think it had already begun an album earlier. I’d even accept an argument that it started with A Hard Day’s Night, but for me that’s pushing it a bit.

  3. Stough

    This is their second weakest album (their first is their worst in my book). Don’t get me wrong, ‘weak’ for the Beatles is still fantastic. But their are only 5 standout tunes on this album. The rest are good, but not fantastic. The sound is very muddy, not crisp at all compared to their other albums. It works on “You’ve got to..” but not on the rest.And the performances are less enthusiastic than any other album, except for possible Let it Be.

  4. BeatleMark

    To me, there is a lot of “filler” songs on this album. Mostly McCartney tunes. But they (the songs) blend in well and follow along quite well. I came across a German pressing lp at a flea market (rummage sale) here in Pensacola, Florida last year. the cover was torn but the vinyl was in great shape. I wish I would have bought it!

  5. Matt Elwood

    Thomas lets be fair, You make a comment like ” Obviously You all don’t know what Your talking about ” People have certain opinions and I respect that, You seem pretty McCartney biased from the long piece You wrote. I guess Im more Lennon biased as He’s my idol and I get that aswell. McCartney is a genius musician that there is no doubt, But I feel in the early days leading up to Revolver, Lennon was the main man he was the one who wrote the better songs, He had the drive which spurred the Beatles on, Look at A Hard Day’s Night for example its basically a Lennon solo album, He was so creative in those early Beatle’s days and yes Lennon was more the rocker of the two and he wrote the more edgier/zingy Beatles tracks but he also had that sensitive side to Him look at Julia, Across The Universe for example, The thing with McCartney was he was too mainstream he wanted to release safe tracks that He knew would be accepted, Lennon was the opposite he was writing songs and searching for a new direction and in the process laying down the foundations for music as We know it now. Both equally brilliant in there own right, Alone they were good, Together they were Stellar! Its just John is My favourite…
    By the way HelloGoodbye is a great track, I Am The Walrus is frighteningly brilliant…

  6. polishrocker93

    I noticed on the US cover that George is standing on the H for Harrison, John on the L for Lennon, and by his first name Paul on the P, but none for ringo, especially because he doesn’t have any of the titles letters in his stage name. Sounds silly, but i like to think that.

  7. GniknuS

    I agree with whoever said that there are five great songs on this album. If you took Help, Hide Your Love Away, Ticket to Ride, I’ve Just Seen a Face and Yesterday they match up with anything the Beatles ever did. The problem is there are too many fillers after that, although most are pretty decent. I can’t stand You Like Me Too Much though, the lyrics are juvenile, and Tell Me What You See and Dizzy Miss Lizzy are average at best. As for the Lennon/McCartney debate, this was really the start of Lennon’s peak, he was just incredible in ’65, whereas I don’t think Paul peaked until about ’68 with his fantastic contributions to the White Album and also Hey Jude. Although maybe he peaked on Revolver, but I’ve always liked his White Album songs better.

  8. King Turtle

    “The front cover was yet another instantly classic design. Featuring the four Beatles standing in a row wearing their ski garb from the Help! film, they spelt out the letters ‘NUJV’ in semaphore. For the US version released by Capitol Records, the order was slightly amended to read ‘NVUJ’” WHY?

  9. James Ferrell

    This was maybe the first British import LP I bought (I’m in the US) and I loved the A side–the movie music. I rarely played the B side even though it had a few stellar cuts (I’ve Just Seen A Face, Yesterday) because the weak songs are pretty darn weak.

    Loved the movie too. A little aimless perhaps, but very funny. (“Are you buzzing?”)

  10. BILLY SHEARS

    As a kid in the mid 60′s and bought a 45 rpm copy of “Ticket to ride” that says on it: “from the United Artists release Eight arms to hold you”. I didn’t think much of of it at the time, but now I’m glad I have it. It’s probably not worth much, not quite like an original “Butcher” LP cover, but it is neat to have one of those “Mistakes”. The US version of the Help LP is a rough listen. I am not much of an instrumental fan. Always thought it was filler and fluff that I really didn’t want to pay for. The UK version is stellar.

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