Recording: Help!

Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

The title track of The Beatles’ second feature film and fifth UK album was recorded on this day, in an evening session taking place from 7-11.15pm.

‘Help!’ had been chosen as the film’s title after earlier suggestions, which included director Richard Lester’s suggestion Beatles 2 and Ringo Starr’s Eight Arms To Hold You, had both been rejected. Others included George Harrison’s Who’s Been Sleeping In My Porridge, and producer Walter Shenson’s The Day The Clowns Collapsed.

Help! single artwork – Sweden

As with ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ before, once the title was agreed upon, John Lennon rose to the challenge of composing the song. The recording took place the day before the true title, Help!, was announced to the public.

The basic track of ‘Help!’, comprising bass guitar, drums, acoustic 12-string guitar and electric guitar, was recorded in eight takes. They then recorded four takes of overdubs, including Lennon’s double-tracked lead vocals, backing vocals and tambourine by Paul McCartney and George Harrison.

The final overdub was Harrison’s descending guitar line, heard at the end of each chorus.

John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for Help!

Last updated: 23 June 2023
Radio: Pop Inn
Filming: Help!
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