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.
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
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.
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!.
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.