Friday, February 17, 2006


UNITED KINGDOM: Also released as a single, July 23, 1965. It became a No. 1 hit immediately and held that position for four weeks. Final sales totalled 900,000. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles

UNITED STATES: Also released as a single, July 19, 1965. It entered the Top 40 August 14, remained on the chart for twelve weeks, and held the No. 1 position for three. The Long and Winding Road: An Intimate Guide to the Beatles and Billboard

AUTHORSHIP Lennon (.7) and McCartney (.3)
The song was written on April 4, 1965. The Beatles Diary, Volume 1 : From Liverpool to London

McCARTNEY: "John wrote that - well, John and I wrote it at his house in Weybridge for the film. I think the title was out of desperation." Playboy (December 1984)

McCARTNEY: "I seem to remember Dick Lester, Brian Epstein, Walter Shenson and ourselves sitting around, maybe Victor Spinetti was there, and thinking, 'What are we going to call this one?' Somehow Help! came out. I didn't suggest it; John might have suggested it or Dick Lester. It was one of them. John went home and thought about it and got the basis of it, then we had a writing session on it. We sat at his house and wrote it, so he obviously didn't have that much of it. I would have to credit it to John for the original inspiration 70-30. My main contribution is the countermelody to John. If you analyse our songs, John's are often on one note, whereas mine are often much more melodic. I enjoy going places with melodies. I like what John did too, but his are mroe rhythmic. So to take away from the solo note a little bit I wrote a descant to it." Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

LENNON: "Later, I knew I reall was crying out for help. So it was my fat Elvis period. You see the movie: He - I - is very fat, very insecure, and he's completely lost himself." September 1980, All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

When they finished the song, feeling very pleased with themselves, they took their guitars downstairs to the living room where Cynthia Lennon and the journalist Maureen Cleave were sitting and played it to them.

McCARTNEY: "Because it was finished, you see. Once we'd done our writing session there was nothing left to be done except put the instruments on. That's what I was there for; to complete it. Had John just been left on his own he might have taken weeks to do it, but just one visit and we would go right in and complete it. So we came down and played the intro, into the verse, descant coming in on the second verse. It was all crafted, it was all there, the final verses and the end. 'Very nice,' they said. 'Like it.'" Paul McCartney: Many Years from Now

April 13, 1965, at Abbey Road

McCARTNEY: bass, backing vocal
LENNON: acoustic guitar, lead vocal
HARRISON: lead guitar, backing vocal
STARR: drums, tambourine

On the single's first pressing the caption says: "From the United Artists screenplay, Eight Arms To Hold You." That was the original title for Help!
This song was part of the Beatles' live repertoire in 1965. The Complete Beatles Chronicle
In the mid-'80s, the Ford Motor Company paid a reported $100,000 to use this song in a TV ad for its Lincoln-Mercury division. But, unlike Nike's later use of the actual Beatles' performance of "Revolution," this song was performed by a sound-alike group. Los Angeles Times (May 1987)

LENNON: "I meant it - it's real. The lyric is as good now as it was then. It is no different, and it makes me feel secure to know that I was that aware of myself then. It was just me singing "Help!" and I meant it. I don't like the recording too much; we did it too fast trying to be commercial." December 1970, Lennon Remembers: The Full Rolling Stone Interviews from 1970

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