The Beatles’ fifth UK album, Help!, was released on this day as Parlophone PMC 1255 (mono) and PCS 3071 (stereo).
Following the structure of the previous year’s A Hard Day’s Night, the first side of Help! featured seven songs from The Beatles’ second feature film. The flip side contained another seven songs – including Paul McCartney’s instant classic ‘Yesterday’ – recorded over the same period.
Help! entered the UK charts on 14 August, and was an immediate chart-topper on pre-orders alone. It spent nine weeks at number one, and remained on the chart for 37 consecutive weeks.
Last updated: 30 June 2022
Also on this day...
- 2009: Paul McCartney live: Fenway Park, Boston
- 2008: Newly-discovered Beatles tape sells for £9,800
- 1969: Recording, mixing: Here Comes The Sun, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
- 1968: Mixing: Hey Jude
- 1967: George Harrison dines at Ravi Shankar’s house
- 1966: Brian Epstein holds a press conference
- 1966: Radio: The Lennon And McCartney Songbook
- 1963: Live: Springfield Ballroom, Jersey
- 1961: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1960: The Beatles ask Pete Best to join
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
I think it’s possible that Help! is the first Beatles album where the stereo mixes are, on the whole, preferable to the mono. Norman Smith seems to have had a small breakthrough in figuring out how to make stereo mixes that sound full and punchy, without the “vacant” effect that the three-point (L,C,R) stereo mixes of the time frequently suffered from. I can’t imagine why George Martin felt the need to “fix” them in 1987.
The one exception, at least in regard to the 1965 stereo mixes, is “Ticket To Ride” Here the stereo lacks impact and feels a bit distant, possibly because the interplay of the rhythm section and the lead guitar is split between the left and right channels, the bass part is M.I.A. (the bass is like a drone in the mono), and the vocals are a bit too loud, reducing the presence of the (most excellent) drum part. Martin’s 1987 stereo re-do is vastly superior to the original stereo.