Thursday, August 6, 2015

50 years ago: The Beatles released Help!

Last updated 9/18/2020.

Help! (U.K. version)

The Beatles


Released in UK: August 6, 1965


Peak: -- US, 19 UK, -- CN, 111 AU


Sales (in millions): -- US, 0.9 UK, 0.9 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock


Tracks (UK version):

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts. You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. Help! [2:21] (7/29/65, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  2. The Night Before [2:36]
  3. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away [2:11]
  4. I Need You (Harrison) [ 2:31]
  5. Another Girl [2:08]
  6. You're Gonna Lose That Girl [2:20]
  7. Ticket to Ride [3:12] (4/15/65, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU)
  8. Act Naturally (Morrison/Russell) [2:33] (9/13/65, 47 US)
  9. It’s Only Love [1:58]
  10. You Like Me Too Much (Harrison) [2:38]
  11. Tell Me What You See (Harrison/Lennon/McCartney) [2:39]
  12. I’ve Just Seen a Face [2:07]
  13. Yesterday [2:07] (9/25/65, 1 US, 8 UK, 4 CN, 2 AU, gold single)
  14. Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Williams) [2:54]

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 33:44


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)

Rating for UK Album:

4.205 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Quotable: “Reflects the toll [of] the most popular band…but…The Beatles turn their pain into some of their finest work.” – Lori Latimer, Ink Blot Magazine


Awards for UK version:

Help! (U.S. version)

The Beatles


Released in U.S.: August 13, 1965


Peak: 19 US, -- UK, 1 CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, -- UK, 3.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: pop/rock


Tracks (U.S. version):

Song Title (Writers) [time] (date of single release, chart peaks) Click for codes to singles charts. You can check out the Beatles’ complete singles discography here.

  1. Help! [2:21] (7/29/65, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU, gold single)
  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 [2:11]
  5. I Need You (Harrison) [ 2:31]
  6. In the Tyrol (instrumental) (Ken Thorne) [2:26]
  7. Another Girl [2:08]
  8. Another Hard Day’s Night (Lennon/McCartney, arranged by Thorne) [2:31]
  9. Ticket to Ride [3:12] (4/15/65, 1 US, 1 UK, 1 CN, 1 AU)
  10. The Bitter End/You Can’t Do That (instrumental) (Ken Thorne, Lennon/McCartney), arranged by Thorne) [2:26]
  11. You're Gonna Lose That Girl [2:20]
  12. The Chase (instrumental) (Ken Thorne) [2:31]

Songs by John Lennon and Paul McCartney unless noted otherwise.


Total Running Time: 28:43


The Players:

  • John Lennon (vocals, guitar)
  • Paul McCartney (vocals, bass)
  • George Harrison (guitar, vocals)
  • Ringo Starr (drums, vocals)
  • Ken Thorne (composer and conductor on instrumental tracks)

Rating for U.S. Album:

3.700 out of 5.00 (average of 4 ratings)


Awards for U.S. version:

About the UK Version:

“Like almost everything that the Beatles did from this record on, [this album is] not merely good, but groundbreaking.” JA “The harmonies [are] stellar [and] the individual vocal performances are…solid.” MU However, despite “those fantastic melodies and ringing guitars that keep up the light-hearted pop facade, [the album also] reflects the toll that being the most popular band in the world was taking on The Beatles. But in the fashion of all the great ones, The Beatles turn their pain into some of their finest work.” LL

The album kicks off with the instantly classic title track, “where the brash arrangement disguises Lennon's desperation” STE in “one of his most earnest and painful pleas for emotional salvation.” LL “It’s Lennon’s desperate state of mind that drives this album.” LL It’s also strange that ”John Lennon's confessional song became the title for a silly James Bond spoof…The funny thing is, it works both ways--as a young man's personal statement about learning to open up to others, and as the frantic theme for an exotic espionage chase comedy starring those lovable mop-tops.” JE

”Driven by an indelible 12-string guitar, Ticket to Ride is another masterpiece” STE from Lennon; indeed, it is “the best pop song The Beatles had written at this stage.” AD “Instrumentally, [the] off-beat rhythm was Ringo's masterpiece.” CDU “The dragging beat…adds perfectly to the lyrics’ tortured confusion.” LL

”The jaunty The Night Before and Another Girl,” STE the latter of which features “a great guitar solo by Paul,” DBW are “two very fine tunes that simply update his melodic signature.” STE They might both be “unremarkable without…George’s killer guitar work.” LL

”George is writing again” STE and “starting to contribute quality compositions [like] I Need You.” DBW “It's a very simple song, but…sounds nice.” AD George’s other song, “You Like Me Too Much, re-introduces piano into a Beatles album and works as a very nice unassumingly enjoyable track.” AD Even if George’s “two contributions don't touch Lennon and McCartney’s originals, they hold their own against much of their British pop peers.” STE

“Like the previous album's ‘Im a Loser,’ You've Got to Hide Your Love Away was Lennon's nod to the influence of Bob Dylan.” CDU The simultaneously ”plaintive” STE and “charmingly ramshackle” AD song was “supposedly written about Beatle manager Brian Epstein’s homosexuality. It is an acoustic number so tender, it hurts just to think about it.” LL

“John is absolutely vicious in his delivery of You're Going to Lose That Girl,” MU “the kind of song McCartney effortlessly tosses off.” STE It demonstrates that “John's lyrics are advancing rapidly.” JA “if not quite a classic [it] is at least hugely charming and enjoyable, with some fine Beatles harmonies and playful vocals all round.” AD

”The Bakersfield bounce” STE of ”the superfluous country number Act NaturallyJA “adds new flavor [and is] an ideal showcase for Ringo's amiable vocals.” STE

Among the six songs Lennon contributed are ”a pair of minor numbers,” STE but even these have moments. “It's Only Love has some haunting guitar sounds and a beautiful John vocal” AD while “even a…filler tune like Tell Me What You See is totally redeemed by the incredible harmony on the refrain line.” MU

“McCartney's gift for melody was obvious in I've Just Seen a Face,” CDU “a frighteningly modern-sounding semi-acoustic number,” JA which is “an irresistible folk-rock gem.” STE

Paul’s “widely imitated and covered” JA Yesterday is “a simple, beautiful ballad whose arrangement” STE is ”a startling, wildly successful experiment dispensing with the normal four-piece rock band backing track in favor of a string quartet.” JA The composition “was the start of a stellar series of McCartney ballads with strings (‘Eleanor Rigby,’ ‘She's Leaving Home’)” CDU and also “suggested much more sophisticated and adventurous musical territory, which the group immediately began exploring with Rubber Soul.” STE

”The rocking…Dizzy Miss Lizzie,” JA “seemingly included for the hell of it,” AD is “one of their best covers.” DBW It is a full-fledged “vocal scorcher” AD that “gives John an opportunity to flex his rock & roll muscle.” STE It “sounds like John’s raucous answer to Paul's ‘Kansas City/Hey, Hey, Hey, Hey’ vocal on Beatles for Sale.” JE In closing out the album, this song also closed the book on another of the group’s chapters; “Help! was the last Beatles album to feature a cover version.” CDU

“Of course, it's essential – as are…all the Beatles' albums.” JE “Every Beatles album could be a greatest hits record. They all have songs that you absolutely need. Help! is no exception.” LL


About the U.S. Version: The U.S. soundtrack jettisoned “Act Naturally,” “It’s Only Love,” “You Like Me Too Much,” “Tell Me What You See,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy.”

“You Like Me Too Much,” “Tell Me What You See,” and “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” were on the U.S. album Beatles VI, released two months before Help!.

“It’s Only Love” and “I”ve Just Seen a Face” were added to the U.S. version of Rubber Soul.

“Yesterday” and “Act Naturally” didn’t emerge on a U.S. album until a year later on Yesterday…and Today.

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