Song Help! became the title track of the Beatles film of the same name and an album composed of tracks that sounded in it.
It was written by Lennon and McCartney, although it is generally accepted that Paul had little to no involvement in the writing process. However, he himself does not seem to agree with this.
The history of the creation of the song Help! – The Beatles
Here’s what McCartney had to say about working on Help!:
I think I remember Dick Lester, Brian Epstein, Walter Shenson and we were sitting together. Perhaps Victor Spinetti was there too. And we thought, “What are we going to call it
?” Somehow the name “Help!” came up… Maybe John or Dick Lester suggested it… John went home and thought about it and came up with the basis, and then we wrote it together. We sat in his house and wrote… It is clear that he is not the only author. I would say that John’s contribution was about seventy percent, because he owned the original idea …
Once we were done with our writing sessions, there was nothing else to do but add tools. That’s why I was needed there – to complete it. If John had been on his own, it could have taken him weeks. And so one visit was enough for us to figure everything out and complete it.
Many Years from Now, Barry Miles
The meaning of Help! – The Beatles
The main idea behind Help! is already clear from its name. At that time, John was only twenty-four, but he was already rather tired of fame and popularity.
He gained weight, smoked marijuana frequently, began using LSD, and struggled with numerous psychological problems, which is reflected in the text:
When Help! came out, I actually begged for help. Most people think it’s just a fast rock and roll song. At the time, I didn’t realize it. I just wrote the song because I was assigned to write it for the film. But later I realized that I really was asking for help. It was my “fat Elvis” period. You’ve seen the movie: he–I’m very fat, very insecure, and he’s completely lost. And I sing about the times when I was much younger and so on, remembering how easy it was then.
All We Are Saying, David Sheff, 1980
Initially Help! was conceived as a ballad, but in the process of working on the song, the Beatles significantly accelerated it, which John Lennon was not happy with:
I don’t really like the record. We made it too fast for commercial purposes… Maybe I’ll re-record I Want to Hold Your Hand and Help! because I like them and I can sing them.
Rolling Stone 1970
Release and achievements
The Beatles recorded Help! for one evening, April 13, 1965. It only took them four hours. The song was released as a single from the album Help! and included in the famous film of the same name. It topped the charts in the US, UK, Norway, Ireland, the Netherlands and Canada.
Rolling Stone ranked the track at number 29 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
Clip Help – The Beatles
And now we invite you to watch the music video Help! The Beatles.
- The first listeners who were introduced to Help! were Cynthia Lennon and Maureen Cleve.
- Song Help! was the first Beatles track to be used in an advertisement. Ford paid $100,000 to use it.
- The lyrics of the single and the album version are slightly different.
Help! lyrics – The Beatles
Help! I need somebody
Help! Not just anybody
Help! You know I need someone
When I was younger, so much younger than today
I never needed anybody’s help in any way,
But now these days are gone and I’m not so self assured,
Now I find I’ve changed my mind, I’ve opened up the doors
Help me if you can, I’m feeling down
And I do appreciate you being ’round,
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won’t you please, please help me?
And now my life has changed in oh so many ways,
My independence seems to vanish in the haze,
But ev’ry now and then I feel so insecure,
I know that I just need you like I’ve never done before
Help! – The Beatles
Help! I need someone
Help! But not anyone
Help! You know I need somebody
When I was younger, much younger than today
I never needed anyone’s help in any way
But now those days are gone, and I’m already so self-confident
I changed my mind and threw open the doors
Help me if you can cause I’m down
And I really appreciate having you around
Help me cheer up
Please, won’t you help me?
Now my life has changed so drastically
It seems my independence has vanished like smoke
But every now and then I feel so insecure
I know that I just need you like never before