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File:Beatles help2.jpg
US picture sleeve
Song by The Beatles
from the album Help!
B-side"I'm Down"
Released19 July 1965 (US)
23 July 1965 (UK)
Recorded13 April 1965,
EMI Studios, London
GenreFolk rock,[1] rock
LabelParlophone, Capitol Records
Producer(s)George Martin
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"Help!" is a song by the Beatles that served as the title song for both the 1965 film and its soundtrack album. It was also released as a single, and was number one for three weeks in both the United States and the United Kingdom.

"Help!" was written by John Lennon and credited to Lennon–McCartney. During an interview with Playboy in 1980, Lennon recounted: "The whole Beatles thing was just beyond comprehension. I was subconsciously crying out for help".

It was ranked no. 29 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.[2]


The documentary series The Beatles Anthology revealed that Lennon wrote the lyrics of the song to express his stress after the Beatles' quick rise to success. "I was fat and depressed and I was crying out for 'Help'," Lennon told Playboy.[3] Writer Ian MacDonald describes the song as the first crack in the protective shell Lennon had built around his emotions during the Beatles' rise to fame, and an important milestone in his songwriting style.[4]

In the 1970 Rolling Stone "Lennon Remembers" interviews, Lennon said it was one of his favourites among the Beatles songs he wrote, but he wished they had recorded it at a slower tempo. In these interviews, Lennon said he felt that "Help!" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" were his most honest, genuine Beatles songs and not just songs "written to order". According to Lennon's cousin and boyhood friend Stanley Parkes, however, "Help!" was written after Lennon "came in from the studio one night. 'God,' he said, 'they've changed the title of the film: it's going to be called 'Help!' now. So I've had to write a new song with the title called 'Help!'."[5]

According to McCartney, he was called in "to complete it", providing the "countermelody" arrangement, on 4 April 1965 at Lennon's house in Weybridge.[6][7][8]


The Beatles recorded "Help!" in 12 takes on 13 April 1965 using four-track equipment. The first nine takes concentrated on the instrumental backing. The descending lead guitar riff that precedes each verse proved to be difficult, so by take 4 it was decided to postpone it for an overdub. To guide the later overdub by Harrison, Lennon thumped the beat on his acoustic guitar body, which can be heard in the final stereo mix. Lead and backing vocals were recorded twice onto take 9, along with a tambourine. A reduction mix was applied to the two vocal tracks, taking three attempts (takes 10 to 12), freeing up a track for the lead guitar overdub.[9] This was the group's first use of two 4-track machines for "bouncing".[10]

The vocals were re-recorded for the film during a session on 24 May 1965 at CTS Studios, a facility specializing in post-synchronisation.[11] In addition to attempting a better vocal performance, the session might have been done to eliminate the tambourine (which had been on the same track as the vocals) since no tambourine appeared in the film sequence.[12] With the new vocals, a mono mix was created at CTS Studios which was used for the film soundtrack. Mixes for record releases were prepared on 18 June. For the mono version, Martin decided to use a mix of the opening chorus of take 12 edited to the remainder of the CTS film mix.[11] Because all instruments were combined on a single track for the CTS session, it could not be used for a stereo mix, so the stereo mix was made from take 12.[12]

New mixes were created for releases of the Help! CD (1987), the Love album (2006), and the Help! DVD (2007).[9]


File:Beatles press conference 1965.jpg

The Beatles at a press conference in Bloomington, Minnesota in August 1965, shortly after the song's release

"Help!" went to number 1 on both the UK and US singles charts in late summer 1965. It was the fourth of six number one singles in a row on the American charts; "I Feel Fine", "Eight Days a Week", "Ticket to Ride", "Help!", "Yesterday", and "We Can Work It Out".[13]

The song appears on the Help! LP, the US Help! soundtrack, 1962–1966, the Imagine: John Lennon soundtrack, 1, Love, and The Capitol Albums, Volume 2. The mono version (with different vocals and no tambourine) was included on the Beatles' Rarities LP and in The Beatles in Mono collection.

The American soundtrack album included a James Bond-type introduction to the song, followed by a caesura just before the opening lyric. No such introduction appeared on the British soundtrack album, nor was it included in the released single in either country.

Promotional films[]

The Beatles filmed the title performance for the movie Help! on 22 April 1965. The same footage (without the darts and credits seen in the film sequence) was used as a clip to promote the release of the single. It was shown starting in July 1965 on programmes such as Top of the Pops and Thank Your Lucky Stars.[14] They made another promotional clip of "Help!" on 23 November 1965 for inclusion in the year-end recap special of Top of the Pops. Directed by Joseph McGrath, the black-and-white clip shows the group miming to the song while sitting astride a workbench. Starr holds an umbrella overhead throughout the song, which becomes useful as fake snow falls during the final verse.[15] The November 1965 promo was included in the Beatles' 2015 video compilation 1.[16]

Live performances[]

The Beatles performed "Help!" live on the 1 August 1965 broadcast of Blackpool Night Out, which was included in the Anthology 2 album and shown during The Beatles Anthology documentary.[17] On 14 August, the group recorded a live performance of "Help!" and five other songs for The Ed Sullivan Show, broadcast the following month;[18] the show is available on the DVD The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Starring The Beatles.

"Help!" was included in the set list for The Beatles' 1965 US tour. The 15 August performance at Shea Stadium was seen in the 1966 documentary The Beatles at Shea Stadium, although the audio for the song was re-recorded prior to release.[19] The group's 29 August performance at the Hollywood Bowl was chosen for the 1977 album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl.[20]

Use in advertising[]

In February 1985, "Help!" became the first Beatles song licensed for a US television commercial. The Lincoln–Mercury division of Ford Motor Company paid $100,000 for the rights to the song, but not for the use of the original Beatles' recording.[21] The song was re-created by a sound-alike group with assistance from George Martin.[22] The US electronics and appliance chain hhgregg used a cover version of the song in their ads.[23] The song was once used in a Halifax advert.


Personnel per Ian MacDonald[24]

Charts and certifications[]

Cover versions[]

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Song by Deep Purple
from the album Shades of Deep Purple
ReleasedJuly 1968
Recorded11–13 May 1968
Pye Studios, London
GenrePsychedelic rock, hard rock
LabelParlophone (UK (England))
Tetragrammaton (US)
Songwriter(s)John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Producer(s)Derek Lawrence

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File:Tina Turner - Help.jpg
Song by Tina Turner
from the album Private Dancer
B-side"Rock 'n' Roll Widow"
Released25 February 1984
Producer(s)Wilton Felder, Ndugu Chancler, Joe Sample

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File:Banana help.jpg
Song by Bananarama (with Lananeeneenoonoo)
from the album Greatest Hits Collection
ReleasedFebruary 1989
RecordedJanuary 1989
LabelLondon Records
Producer(s)Stock Aitken Waterman
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  • 1965 - The Newbeats on their album, Run Baby Run.[40]
  • 1968 – Deep Purple cover version on the 'B' side of their first album Shades of Deep Purple.[41]
  • 1970 (1970): The Carpenters recorded a cover version for their album Close to You.[42]
  • 1970 (1970): The Muppets sang a cover version of this song on Sesame Street in episode 135.
  • 1975 (1975): Caetano Veloso released a cover on his album, Jóia.[43]
  • 1976 (1976): Henry Gross covered "Help!" for the musical documentary All This and World War II. John Lennon once stated that this was his favourite version of the song; George Harrison and Paul McCartney are backup vocalists.[44]
  • 1976 (1976): The Damned covered the song on the B-side of "New Rose".[45]
  • 1979 (1979): Dolly Parton included a bluegrass version of "Help!" on her Great Balls of Fire album.[46]
  • 1980 (1980): John Farnham released the song as a piano-based ballad at a much-slower tempo - the first artist to do so.[47] His version peaked at No.–8 on the Australian Kent Music Report Singles Chart.[48]
  • 1982 (1982): South African rock group Hotline, featuring PJ Powers, released the song as a single.[49]
  • 1984 (1984): Tina Turner released a ballad version of the song (recorded with The Crusaders) that peaked at number 14 in the Netherlands, number 25 in Belgium and number 40 in the United Kingdom. The song was included on European editions of her album Private Dancer.[50] It was a staple of her live shows for a time, and appears on her double album Tina Live in Europe and the Private Dancer Tour concert film.
  • 12 June 1985 (1985-06-12): Roy Orbison performed a shorter version of the song at much slower tempo for the television documentary Everyman: John Lennon "Journey In The Life".[51]
  • 1988 - Kids Incorporated covered "Help" in the Season 5 episode "The Guitarist".[52]
  • 1989 (1989): The song was recorded by Bananarama (with French & Saunders and Kathy Burke) and released as the Red Nose Day single to raise money for Comic Relief. French, Saunders and Burke were credited as "Lananeeneenoonoo"[53] (a parody of Bananarama, whom they imitated in the French & Saunders television programme). This version reached #3 in the UK charts, and was featured on the 1989 Christmas episode ("The Jolly Boys Outing") of Only Fools and Horses. It was included on reissues of the band's The Greatest Hits Collection compilation in 1989.
  • May 1990 (1990-05): Kylie Minogue performed her band's arrangement of the song before a crowd of 25,000 at the John Lennon: The Tribute concert on the banks of the Mersey in Liverpool. Also was included in her 1991 tour Rhythm Of Love Tour[54]
  • 1991 (1991): Waltari covered "Help!" on their debut album, Monk Punk.[55]
  • 1995 (1995): Little Texas recorded a version of the song for the Beatles tribute album Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles.[56]
  • 1995 (1995): Swedish pop group Roxette recorded an acoustic version during their session at the Abbey Road Studios, where three of their own songs were also re-recorded. It would not be commercially available until 2006, when it was finally released on The Rox Box/Roxette 86-06 box set.
  • 1997 (1997): DC Talk recorded a live cover of the song for their live album, Welcome to the Freak Show.
  • 1998 (1998): The Punkles recorded a punk cover of the song for their first album.
  • 1999 (1999): Claire Martin recorded a slower version on her album Take My Heart (with Noel Gallagher on guitar).
  • 2000 (2000): Tsunku covered "Help!" on his Beatles cover album, A Hard Day's Night.
  • 2003 (2003): Art Paul Schlosser recorded a parody of "Help!" ("Smelt"), which appears on his Words of Cheese and Other Parrot CD.
  • 2004 (2004): Westlife covered the song on their Turnaround Tour.
  • 2004 (2004): McFly cover the song on CD 2 of their 2004 single Obviously. The cover also appeared on their 2008 EP Lost & Found: McFly Uncovered.[57]
  • 2006 (2006): Bebi Dol covered the song on her album, Čovek rado izvan sebe živi.[58]
  • 2010 (2010): The Trans-Siberian Orchestra began using a slowed-down, rock-ballad version of the song as part of their "Gutter Ballet Medley" in live performances (which also includes the Savatage song "Sleep" (from Edge of Thorns) and a short sample of the "Eleanor Rigby" chorus).
  • 2010 - Vanilla Sky, an Italian punk rock band, covered this song on their "Punk is Dead" cover album.
  • 2011 (2011): Cloud Cult covered "Help!" for the Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 3.
  • 2011 (2011): Alvin and the Chipmunks and The Chipettes covered the song as a bonus track on the Target limited edition of the soundtrack Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Music from the Motion Picture.
  • 2012 (2012): American boy band Big Time Rush covered the song (and other Beatles songs) as part of their Big Time Movie and soundtrack.
  • 2013 (2013): British invasion band Hipsters covered the song as part of their first EP and resulting nationwide tour.
  • 2013 (2013): Blaine Anderson (Darren Criss) and Sam Evans (Chord Overstreet) covered the song in Glee's fifth season premiere episode "Love Love Love" and the album Glee Sings the Beatles.
  • Silverstein released a cover version on their fourth album, A Shipwreck in the Sand. "Help!" has also been covered by Michael Stanley, dc Talk, Alma Cogan, Rick Wakeman, Howie Day, Fountains of Wayne, John's Children, Marc Bolan and Peter Sellers. The Rutles' song "Ouch!" is a parody.
  • 2016: Dutch cover band MUCK released a cover of "Help!" on the 27th of April 2016 after winning publics favorite award at the "Clash of the Cover bands BENELUX".

Cultural references[]

  • The song featured in "Cutting It Close", an episode of Full House, when Jesse Katsopolis breaks both of his arms in a motorcycle accident and has to adjust to a life in which he always needs assistance.
  • The song was also used in commercials for defunct phone company GTE, during the 1990s.
  • The lyrics are quoted in the film Yellow Submarine; when Young Fred knocks on the Beatles' door, he says, "Won't you please, please help me?"
  • In the Only Fools and Horses episode "The Jolly Boys' Outing", Mickey Pearce sings "Won't you please, please help me?" to a sleeping Albert, prompting Albert to tell him to "Get off, you noisy little git!" The version playing on the radio as Mickey sings is the Bananarama cover version rather than the original.
  • Several Major League Baseball teams (notably the New York Yankees) play the song when the opposing manager/pitching coach go out for a mound visit.


  1. Unterberger, Richie. "1960s-Folk-Rock Overview". Archived from the original on 9 November 2013. Retrieved 9 October 2013. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (|url-status= suggested) (help)
  3. Spitz 2005, p. 555.
  4. Sullivan, Steve (4 October 2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings. Scarecrow Press. pp. 224–. ISBN 978-0-8108-8296-6.
  5. 2004, p. 5.
  6. MacDonald 2003, p. 153.
  7. Miles 1998, p. 199.
  8. Beatles Interview Database 1984, p. 2.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Winn 2008, pp. 314-316.
  10. Help! stereo remaster 2009 inlay card, "Recording notes".
  11. 11.0 11.1 Winn 2008, p. 320.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Ryan & Kehew 2006, p. 392.
  13. Wallgren 1982, pp. 38–45.
  14. Lewisohn 2000, p. 190.
  15. Lewisohn 2000, pp. 206-208.
  16. Rowe, Matt (18 September 2015). "The Beatles 1 To Be Reissued With New Audio Remixes... And Videos". The Morton Report. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
  17. Winn 2008, pp. 337-338.
  18. Lewisohn 2000, pp. 198-199.
  19. Lewisohn 2000, p. 215.
  20. Winn 2008, p. 354.
  21. Badman 2009, p. 352.
  22. Miller 1988, p. 198.
  23. "14 New Chicago Area HHGregg Stores To Open Thursday". CBS Chicago. 13 September 2011.
  24. MacDonald 2005, p. 153.
  25. " – The Beatles – Help" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  26. " – The Beatles – Help" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  27. "Top RPM Singles: Issue 5644." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  28. 28.0 28.1 "The Irish Charts – Search Results – Help". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  29. "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 32, 1965" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  30. " – The Beatles – Help!" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  31. " – The Beatles – Help!". VG-lista. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  32. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  33. "The Beatles Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  34. Hoffmann, Frank (1983). The Cash Box Singles Charts, 1950-1981. Metuchen, NJ & London: The Scarecrow Press, Inc. pp. 32–34.
  35. "Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (Enter "Beatles" in the search box) (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  36. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  37. "Hits of the World". Billboard. 18 September 1965. p. 30. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  38. "Hits of the World". Billboard. 25 September 1965. p. 34. Retrieved 30 March 2011.
  39. [[[:Template:Certification Cite/URL]] "[[:Template:Certification Cite/Title]]"] Check |url= value (help). Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 May 2016. URL–wikilink conflict (help) If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  40. The Newbeats, Run Baby Run Retrieved April 28, 2015
  41. "Songs Covered By Deep Purple".
  42. John Williams (10 September 2009). "Classic and curious Beatles covers". BBC News. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  43. "Caetano Veloso Cover Songs". The Covers Project. The Covers Project. 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  44. "All This and World War II". In The Life Of ... The Beatles. Google. 29 April 2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  45. "New Rose By: The Damned". SongColeta. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  46. "Dolly Parton Discography - Dolly Parton Great Balls of Fire". 1999–2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  47. "Help! by The Beatles". Songfacts. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  48. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, NSW: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  49. "PJ Powers and Hotline". South African Rock Encyclopedia. 1999–2011. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  50. "Crusaders - Vocal Album CD". CD Universe. 1996–2012. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  51. "Help!". The Beatles Universe. Retrieved 23 May 2012.
  52. Kids Incorporated - Help
  53. "Comic Relief singles 1986-2001". UK Charts. 24 April 2003. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  54. chumberecks (8 January 2008). "Kylie Minogue - Help ( Live @ John Lennon Tribute Concert)". YouTube. Google. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  55. kluseba (3 April 2012). "Monk Punk Waltari". Encyclopaedia Metallum. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
  56. "Come Together: America Salutes the Beatles". Allmusic. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  58. Čovek rado izvan sebe živi at Discogs


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  • Miles, Barry (1998). Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now. New York: Henry Holt and Company. ISBN 0-8050-5249-6.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Pollack, Alan W. (2000). "Notes on "Help!"". Notes On ... Series. Retrieved 5 December 2009.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Ryan, Kevin; Kehew, Brian (2006). Recording The Beatles. Houston: Curvebender. ISBN 0-9785200-0-9.
  • Spitz, Bob (2005). The Beatles: The Biography. Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 0-316-80352-9.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Wallgren, Mark (1982). The Beatles on Record. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-45682-2.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Winn, John C. (2008). Way Beyond Compare: The Beatles' Recorded Legacy, 1957-1965. New York: Random House. ISBN 978-0-307-45157-6.

External links[]

Preceded by
"I Got You Babe" by Sonny and Cher
Billboard Hot 100 number-one single (The Beatles version)
4 September 1965
(3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Eve of Destruction" by Barry McGuire
Preceded by
"Mr. Tambourine Man" by The Byrds
UK number-one single (The Beatles version)
5 August 1965
(3 weeks)
Succeeded by
"I Got You Babe" by Sonny & Cher

Template:Help! (album) Template:The Beatles singles Template:John Farnham Template:Tina Turner singles