.. a big step forward, exploring doubt, loneliness, alienation, adult sexual longing, acoustic guitars, electric piano, bongos, castanets, and the finest George songs known to man. … Help! was utterly ruined in its U.S. version, which cut half the songs and added worthless orchestral soundtrack filler, so it’s always been underrated. But Help! is the first chapter in the astounding creative takeoff the Beatles were just beginning: the soulful bereavement of “Ticket to Ride,” the impossibly erotic gentleness of “Tell Me What You See,” the desperate falsetto and electric punch of “You’re Going to Lose That Girl.”
…. the album’s masterpiece is McCartney’s brooding, deceptively simple chamber-pop ballad “Yesterday.” … it’s compositionally complex, one of the first major pop songs to draw directly from classical music, juxtaposing acoustic guitar with a string quartet, shifting from minor to major chords. It set the stage for one of the most groundbreaking and innovative periods in The Beatles’ career, not to mention pop music in general.
~Mark Kemp (pastemagazine.com)
Help! – from a 6-song set filmed for British television in August of 1965:
|Released||6 August 1965|
|Recorded||15–19 February, 13 April, 10 May& 14–17 June 1965,
EMI Studios, London
Help! is the title of the fifth British and tenth North 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 one of the most-covered songs 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 2012, Help! was voted 331st on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time”.
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.
2. “The Night Before”
3. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
4. “I Need You” (George Harrison)
5. “Another Girl”
6. “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”
7. “Ticket to Ride”
1. “Act Naturally” (Johnny Russell, Voni Morrison)
2. “It’s Only Love”
3. “You Like Me Too Much” (Harrison)
4. “Tell Me What You See”
5. “I’ve Just Seen a Face”
7. “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” (Larry Williams)
According to Mark Lewisohn and Alan W. Pollack.
- John Lennon – lead, harmony and background vocals; acoustic (six and twelve-string) and rhythm guitars; electric piano
- Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and background vocals; lead, acoustic and bass guitars; keyboards (acoustic and electric pianos); güiro
- George Harrison – lead, harmony and background vocals; acoustic, rhythm and lead guitars
- Ringo Starr – drums, handclaps and assorted percussion (tambourine, maracas, cowbell, bongos, claves and brushed snare); lead vocals (on “Act Naturally”)
- Additional musicians
- George Martin – piano and producer
- John Scott – flutes on “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
- String quartet on “Yesterday”, arranged by Martin in association with McCartney
|Considering that Help! functions as the Beatles’ fifth album and as the soundtrack to their second film — while filming, they continued to release non-LP singles on a regular basis — it’s not entirely surprising that it still has some of the weariness of Beatles for Sale. Again, they pad the album with covers, but the Bakersfield bounce of “Act Naturally” adds new flavor (along with an ideal showcase for Ringo’s amiable vocals) and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” gives John an opportunity to flex his rock & roll muscle. George is writing again and if his two contributions don’t touch Lennon and McCartney’s originals, they hold their own against much of their British pop peers. Since Lennon wrote a third more songs than McCartney, it’s easy to forgive a pair of minor numbers (“It’s Only Love,” “Tell Me What You See”), especially since they’re overshadowed by four great songs. His Dylan infatuation holds strong, particularly on the plaintive “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and the title track, where the brash arrangement disguisesLennon’s desperation. Driven by an indelible 12-string guitar, “Ticket to Ride” is another masterpiece and “You’re Going to Lose That Girl” is the kind of song McCartney effortlessly tosses off ….
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
Ticket to ride – Shea Stadium Live: