Help! (album)

Help! (album)
Studio album by The Beatles
Released 6 August 1965
Recorded 15–19 February, 13 April, 10 May & 14–17 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 34:20
Label Parlophone
Producer George Martin
The Beatles chronology
Beatles for Sale
Rubber Soul
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 5/5 stars[1]
Blender 4/5 stars[2]
Pitchfork Media (9.2/10)[3]
The Telegraph 4/5 stars[4]
Rolling Stone 5/5 stars[5]

Help! is the title of the fifth British and ninth American album by The Beatles, and the soundtrack from their film of the same name. Produced by George Martin for EMI's Parlophone Records, it contains fourteen songs in its original British form, of which seven appeared in the film. These songs took up the first side of the vinyl album and included the singles "Help!" and "Ticket to Ride". The second side contained seven other releases including the most-covered song ever written, "Yesterday".

The American release was a true soundtrack album, mixing the first seven songs with orchestral material from the film. Of the other seven songs that were on the British release, two were released on the US version of the next Beatles album, Rubber Soul, two were back-to-back on the next US single and then appeared on Yesterday and Today, and three had already been on Beatles VI.

In 2003, the album was ranked number 332 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[6]



The album features Paul McCartney's "Yesterday", arranged for guitar and string quartet and recorded without the other group members. John Lennon's "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" indicates the influence of Bob Dylan and includes classical flutes. While several compositions on 1964's Beatles for Sale, as well as "I'll Cry Instead" from A Hard Day's Night, had leaned in a country and western direction, McCartney's "I've Just Seen a Face" was almost pure country, taken at such a fast tempo that it might have been bluegrass if not for the absence of banjo and fiddle.[7]

"Ticket to Ride", also released as a single, was felt by Lennon to be "heavy" in its sound compared to the group's previous output[8] and daring in its reference to a boy and girl living together. McCartney called the arrangement "quite radical".

George Harrison contributed "I Need You" and "You Like Me Too Much", his first compositions to be included on a Beatles album since "Don't Bother Me" on 1963's With The Beatles.

The record contained two cover versions and a few tracks more closely related to the group's previous pop output, yet still marked a decisive step forward. The record sleeve-note shows that Lennon and McCartney made more extensive and prominent use of keyboards, previously played unobtrusively by Martin. Four-track overdubbing technology encouraged this. Lennon, for his part, made much greater use of acoustic guitar, forsaking his famous Rickenbacker. All these developments can be traced to the previous Beatles for Sale, where they were less obvious because that album had been recorded more hastily, lacked chart hits and contained many cover versions.[citation needed]

The original LP's format of featuring songs from the soundtrack on side one and non-soundtrack songs on side two follows the format of A Hard Day's Night.

When "Help!" came out in '65, I was actually crying out for help. Most people think it's just a fast rock-'n'-roll song. I didn't realize it at the time; I just wrote the song because I was commissioned to write it for the movie. But later, I knew I really was crying out for help. It was my fat Elvis period. You see the movie: He -- I -- is very fat, very insecure, and he's completely lost himself. And I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was. Now I may be very positive -- yes, yes -- but I also go through deep depressions where I would like to jump out the window, you know. It becomes easier to deal with as I get older; I don't know whether you learn control or, when you grow up, you calm down a little. Anyway, I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for help.

In later years, Lennon stated that the album's title track was a sincere cry for help; he regretted changing it from a downbeat, piano-driven ballad to an uptempo pop song, which was done only as a result of commercial pressures.[10][11]

Help! was the band's final album to feature any cover songs until 1970's Let It Be (which included a performance of the traditional folk song "Maggie Mae".)

Rejected songs

A few songs that were intended for the film were not used because of The Beatles' suggestions. Lennon and McCartney wrote "If You've Got Trouble" for Ringo Starr to sing, but the song was rejected and Starr sang "Act Naturally" instead.[12] "That Means a Lot" was written for the film, but The Beatles were not satisfied with their performance of the song and they gave it to P.J. Proby, who released it as a single.[13] Lennon said "Yes It Is" was "me trying a rewrite of 'This Boy', but it didn't work";[14] it was released as the B-side of "Ticket to Ride" and was also on Beatles VI. "You Like Me Too Much" and "Tell Me What You See" were rejected for use in the film by its director, Richard Lester, though they did appear on the album (and also on Beatles VI).[citation needed]

Much later, in June 1965, the song "Wait" was recorded for the album. However, "Wait" (with some newly added overdubs) ended up on Rubber Soul when another song was needed to complete that album.

Album cover

Semaphore Hotel.svg
Semaphore Echo.svg
Semaphore Lima.svg
Semaphore Papa.svg
Semaphore November.svg
Semaphore Uniform.svg
Semaphore Juliet.svg
Semaphore Victor.svg
Semaphore Lima.svg
Semaphore Papa.svg
Semaphore Uniform.svg
Semaphore Sierra.svg

The album cover features the group with their arms positioned to spell out a word in flag semaphore. According to cover photographer Robert Freeman, "I had the idea of semaphore spelling out the letters HELP. But when we came to do the shot the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn't look good. So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning of the arms."[15][non-primary source needed]

On the UK Parlophone release, the letters formed by The Beatles appear to be 'NUJV', whilst the slightly re-arranged US release on Capitol Records appeared to feature the letters 'NVUJ'.[citation needed]

The original photograph used on the UK album was reverse printed. Holding it up to a mirror reveals the letters LPUS - "Help Us"[16]

Compact Disc release

There have been three Compact Disc releases of Help!. The first was on 30 April 1987, using the 14-song UK track line-up. Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the original 14-track UK version replaced the original US version with its release on LP and cassette as well on 21 July 1987. As with the CD release of the 1965 Rubber Soul album, the Help! CD featured a contemporary stereo digital remix of the album prepared by Martin in 1986. Martin had expressed concern to EMI over the original 1965 stereo remix, claiming it sounded "very woolly, and not at all what I thought should be a good issue". Martin went back to the original four-tracks tapes and remixed them for stereo.[17] One of the most notable changes is the echo added to "Dizzy Miss Lizzy", something that was not evident on the original mix of the LP. A few Canadian-origin CD editions of Rubber Soul and Help! use the original mixes of the albums, presumably in error.

The 2009 remastered stereo CD was released on 9 September. It was "created from the original stereo digital master tapes from Martin's CD mixes made in 1986"[18]. The disc in the mono box set contains the 1965 mono mix as well as the 1965 stereo mix.

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted. 

Side one
No. Title Lead Vocals Length
1. "Help!"   Lennon 2:18
2. "The Night Before"   McCartney 2:33
3. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away"   Lennon 2:08
4. "I Need You" (George Harrison) Harrison 2:28
5. "Another Girl"   McCartney 2:05
6. "You're Going to Lose That Girl"   Lennon 2:17
7. "Ticket to Ride"   Lennon 3:10
Side two
No. Title Lead Vocals Length
1. "Act Naturally" (Johnny Russell, Voni Morrison) Starr 2:29
2. "It's Only Love"   Lennon 1:54
3. "You Like Me Too Much" (Harrison) Harrison 2:35
4. "Tell Me What You See"   McCartney 2:36
5. "I've Just Seen a Face"   McCartney 2:04
6. "Yesterday"   McCartney 2:03
7. "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" (Larry Williams) Lennon 2:53

North American release

Soundtrack album by The Beatles and Ken Thorne
Released 13 August 1965[19]
Recorded 15–19 February, 13 April, 10 May & 14–17 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Genre Rock
Length 28:43
Language English
Label Capitol
Producer George Martin, Dave Dexter, Jr.[20]
The Beatles North American chronology
Beatles VI
Rubber Soul
Singles from Help!
  1. "Ticket to Ride"
    Released: 19 April 1965
  2. "Help!"
    Released: 19 July 1965[19]

The US version, the band's eighth Capitol Records release and tenth overall, includes the songs in the film plus selections from the orchestral score composed by Ken Thorne and performed by the George Martin Orchestra, which contains one of the first uses of the Indian sitar on a pop album. "Ticket to Ride" is the only song on the US release in duophonic stereo (also known as "fake stereo") reprocessed from the mono mix. This album is available on CD as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 2 box set. This set also includes the mono version of the US release, which is purely a stereo-to-mono fold-down mix, including the "fake stereo" duophonic "Ticket To Ride" folded down to mono, despite Capitol already having the mono mixes for the single releases of both that song and "Help!".

The American version of "Help!" reached the number one spot on the Billboard album charts for nine weeks starting on 11 September 1965.

Revised track listing

All songs written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
  1. "Help!" (preceded by an uncredited instrumental intro) – 2:39
  2. "The Night Before" – 2:36
  3. "From Me to You Fantasy" (instrumental) (Lennon/McCartney; arranged by Thorne) – 2:08
  4. "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" – 2:12
  5. "I Need You" (Harrison) – 2:31
  6. "In the Tyrol" (instrumental) (Ken Thorne) – 2:26
Side two
  1. "Another Girl" – 2:08
  2. "Another Hard Day's Night" (instrumental) (Lennon/McCartney; arranged by Thorne) – 2:31
  3. "Ticket to Ride" – 3:07
  4. Medley: "The Bitter End" (Ken Thorne)/"You Can't Do That" (instrumental) (Lennon/McCartney; arranged by Thorne) – 2:26
  5. "You're Going to Lose That Girl" – 2:19
  6. "The Chase" (instrumental) (Ken Thorne) – 2:31

Chart positions

Chart Year Peak
UK Albums Chart[21] 1965 1
Billboard 200 Pop Albums
Australian Albums Chart
Australian Albums Chart 1966


According to Mark Lewisohn[22][23] and Alan W. Pollack.[24]

Additional musicians

Surround versions

The songs included in the soundtrack of the film Help! were mixed into 5.1 surround for the film’s 2007 DVD release, that is, tracks 1—7, accounting for half of the original album's songs.

Release history

Country Date Label Format Catalog
United Kingdom 6 August 1965 Parlophone mono LP PMC 1255
stereo LP PCS 3071
United States 13 August 1965 Capitol mono LP MAS 2386
stereo LP SMAS 2386
Worldwide reissue 15 April 1987 Apple, Parlophone, EMI Compact Disc CDP 7 46439 2
United States 21 July 1987 Capitol stereo LP CLJ 46439
Japan 11 March 1998 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 51115
Japan 21 January 2004 Toshiba-EMI Remastered LP TOJP 60135
Worldwide reissue 11 April 2006 Apple/Capitol/EMI CD reissue of US LP CDP 0946 3 57500 2 7
Worldwide reissue 9 September 2009 Apple/Capitol/EMI CD stereo remaster CDP 0946 3 82415 2 2



External links

Preceded by
Out of Our Heads by The Rolling Stones
Billboard 200 number-one album
11 September – 12 November 1965
Succeeded by
The Sound of Music (soundtrack)
by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Preceded by
The Sound of Music (soundtrack)
by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Australian Kent Music Report number-one album
18 September – 19 November 1965
29 January – 4 February 1966
12–18 February 1966
Succeeded by
Rubber Soul by The Beatles
Preceded by
The Sound of Music (soundtrack) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
UK Albums Chart number-one album
14 August 1965 – 16 October 1965
Succeeded by
The Sound of Music (soundtrack) by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II

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