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4 March 2018
2.06pm
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QuarryMan
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Old Soak said
My favourite track from The White Album , The Beatles playing as loud as it gets in what was virtually a cupboard space. Anyone who thinks McCartney is only about ballads get the dirtiest, raunchiest, most fabulous live jam going. The story as I heard it was The Beatles were sorely out of practice playing as a live band since their retirement from touring in 1966, most was done with overdubs and piecing songs together track by track from 1967. This track was an attempt to play as a live ensemble and all the better for it. Everything is cranked to 11, Ringo in particular hits the drums so hard and for so long it leads to the famous “I’ve got blisters on my fingers!” Exclamation. Stonewall classic.  

I thought it was Yer Blues that was played inside a cupboard.

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4 March 2018
4.06pm
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meanmistermustard
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QuarryMan said

I thought it was Yer Blues that was played inside a cupboard.  

It was. ‘Helter Skelter ‘ was recorded in Studio Two.

One of the more rememberable events during the ‘Helter Skelter ‘ sessions was that George put a flaming ashtray on his head and ran around the studio!

‘HS’ is one where I go thru a phase of really liking it then don’t listen to it for months. I also like take 2 which some folk say is plodding – I think it works nicely and is good to hear such a different style of recording.

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4 March 2018
4.12pm
Old Soak
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I stand corrected, always thought it was Helter Skelter recorded in the cupboard. Doesn’t diminish my opinion of it though, still a top track.

4 March 2018
4.27pm
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Old Soak said
I stand corrected, always thought it was Helter Skelter recorded in the cupboard. Doesn’t diminish my opinion of it though, still a top track.  

Easy to get the two confused.

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4 March 2018
4.40pm
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This reminds me of that Mr. Rogers quote where he saw scary things on the news and his mother told him to look for the helper skelters.

"If you're ever in the shit, grab my tit.” —Paul McCartney 

4 March 2018
6.54pm
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meanmistermustard said

It was. ‘Helter Skelter ‘ was recorded in Studio Two.

One of the more rememberable events during the ‘Helter Skelter ‘ sessions was that George put a flaming ashtray on his head and ran around the studio!

‘HS’ is one where I go thru a phase of really liking it then don’t listen to it for months. I also like take 2 which some folk say is plodding – I think it works nicely and is good to hear such a different style of recording.  

I’ve been wondering if that’s the noise at 0:50 for a while now. Anyway agree?

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19 March 2018
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Timothy
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Ron Nasty said
While their closest approximation of heavy rock, I don’t think it’s their heaviest song; that goes to I Want You (She’s So Heavy) so far as I’m concerned.  

I agree that the extended outro from I Want You is darker than anything Helter Skelter offers. But as a consistently rocking track I’d have to side with Helter Skelter . But hey, I’m a big fan of both. 

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19 March 2018
8.07am
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Evangeline said
ahdn_paul_06 I’m almost sure that Paul heard The Who’s ‘loudest dirtiest rocknroll song’ (I Can See For Miles) and did try to out do them, not take inspiration from them.  

@Evangeline: yep. Paul said in an interview with Slash (sorry,Howard Sterna-hard-days-night-george-10) that he saw that ”dirtiest,grittiest rock record” quote in a music paper and showed it to John. Helter Skelter is a brilliant song,much better than I Can See For Miles. Just a shame that it’s tainted slightly by being associated with CM (I won’t type his name,we all know who i meanpaul-mccartney-thumb_gif)

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19 March 2018
9.27am
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Ludwig said
Arghh, just realised I’ve got a typo in the title of this thread! Damn predictive text.  

I only realised when I saw this post that the title says ‘Helper Skelter’. a-hard-days-night-paul-10 Autocorrect was trying to be too helpful, it seems. a-hard-days-night-john-6

@Ludwig you can edit it since you’re the thread author.

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20 March 2018
6.33am
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Zig
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@Ludwig , I’ve fixed the Topic Title for you. When I first saw it, I assumed Helper Skelter was on purpose, as in “help me understand why you like it – looking forward to opinions”. I thought it was clever.

Anyway, it’s fixed. apple01

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17 August 2018
4.30pm
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I’ll admit it’s not the track I look forward to most when listening to the White Album , but the album just wouldn’t be the same without it.  I’m glad they recorded and released it…  and also glad that they didn’t keep moving in that direction musically!  I’m not a fan of The Who or loud rock music in general.

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17 August 2018
4.53pm
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Dark Overlord
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It’s a great song, reminds me of Kick Out The Jams which was released the following year. I especially love the drumming on this song as it sounds like Ringo’s really beating those drums to the point where got blisters on his fingers.

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28 August 2018
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glazball said
I’ll admit it’s not the track I look forward to most when listening to the White Album , but the album just wouldn’t be the same without it.  I’m glad they recorded and released it…  and also glad that they didn’t keep moving in that direction musically!  I’m not a fan of The Who or loud rock music in general.  

Agreed. The Beatles could do anything they wanted… doesn’t mean they should have done.

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28 August 2018
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I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before, but I prefer the mono mix with the fade-out at the end. I don’t like to hear Ringo scream about his blisters.

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28 August 2018
1.07pm
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Expert Textpert said
This reminds me of that Mr. Rogers quote where he saw scary things on the news and his mother told him to look for the helper skelters.  

This comment was taken out of context and moved here from another thread–it isn’t really about Helter Skelter , it was just a poor attempt at a joke.

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1 November 2018
1.25pm
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Ron Nasty
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Giles Martin talks us through the recording of Helter Skelter , from the first sessions of blues jams through to the revisited loud and heavy sessions and how it became the iconic finished master. Now remixed for the 2018 release of the White Album .

[x-posted to the White Album 50th thread]

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2 August 2022
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Richard
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Ringo talks about blisters due to drumming:

“Get over it! Peace and love.” heart

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2 August 2022
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Always felt to me like John used the feel of the slower, blues version of “helter skelter” as a template for some of the “plastic ono band” album….particularly “well well well” and “i found out”.

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2 August 2022
10.41am
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Timothy
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He was feeling the slower paced music, namely Revolution 1 , the Sexy Sadie demos, etc. But in those examples he eventually went for faster, energetic versions. 

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2 August 2022
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castironshore said
Always felt to me like John used the feel of the slower, blues version of “helter skelter” as a template for some of the “plastic ono band” album….particularly “well well well” and “i found out”.

Wow, yes, I had that same revelation just days ago playing the expanded POB! Its true, really does seem like John & Ringo reaching back a coupla years, recalling that vaguely menacing one-beat-at-a-time feel to the otherwise fairly dull early versions. A much better use of that music! It’s a mystery to me why Paul originally tried the song that way; they’d have no chance at all of out-noiserocking The Who (or Jimi or the Velvet Underground for that matter) with a staccato plodding arrangement like that. I guess maybe they were just experimental rehearsals, or maybe Paul didn’t see Pete’s remarks until sometime between the song’s makeovers…

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