Spin #21 : The Beatles : HELP!
Musicians on Album: George Harrison (Lead Guitar), John Lennon (Rhythm Guitar), Paul McCartney (Bass Guitar) and Ringo Starr (Drums) - they did change instruments on songs but this was primarily the arrangement
The Beatles : HELP! Year Released : 1965 Produced by George Martin Label: Parlophone Price Range: $55+AUD Speed: 33 1/3RPM Album Before : Beatles For Sale (1964) Album After :Rubber Soul (1965) Further Listening : The Beatles - Past Masters (released in 1988) LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: The Beatles have such a wide variety of songs to suit all moods and it's pretty perfect right now listening to this one with my lovely wife and children in the sunny front room. Wish I had lived in the 60's in order to experience a Beatles concert!
LP Side A
Help - 2:18
The Night Before - 2:34
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away - 2:09
I Need You - 2:28
Another Girl - 2:05
You're Going To Lose That Girl - 2:18
Ticket To Ride - 3:09
Side B Act Naturally - 2:30
It's Only Love - 1:56
You Like Me Too Much - 2:36
Tell Me What You See - 2:37
I've Just Seen A Face - 2:05
Yesterday - 2:05
Dizzy Miss Lizzy - 2:54
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x Black LP in a poly/paper sleeve. Photographs of the band on the back cover with track listing (sadly, no lyrics).
"Suddenly, I'm not half the man I used to be. There's a shadow hanging over me. Oh, Yesterday, came suddenly" ~ Yesterday - Side B
Welcome to Spin #21 - The Beatles : HELP!
I have taken a lot of time to plan out our Spin selections on a weekly basis and decided to choose this album, before realising that it's another movie soundtrack! I have loved The Beatles for a while now and it all started on a car trip with my dad when I was a young boy. During that trip we listened to a few cassettes in the car and one of my earliest memories was listening to my dad singing, "I Am the Walrus" from the 'Magical Mystery Tour' soundtrack. I then started on the slippery slope of all things Beatles and love how they had so much influence on the musical landscape in such a short time.
The Beatles have so many great records and overtime I will show our children all of them. I thought that I would choose a midway point in their discography to start and I've chosen 'Help!' as our Spin #21.
For this one I have decided to play it in our front room setup, so our children can play with their toys whilst listening along. Winter has well and truly hit us here on the east coast of Australia and we try to make the most of the sun in our front room for its all day light and warmth. Don't worry, the record player is not in direct sunlight so there is no risk of it getting damaged as we play. We do have our comfy seats under the window as our children are playing with their cars and blocks. It's quite peaceful and I'm trying to appreciate these special moments as much as I can.
The Marshall Woburn II speaker has been turned on and the Audio Technica turntable is ready for its daily dose of wax! I get excited when I listen to records but there is something special about spinning a Beatles record for me. We have our cuppas in our R'nR mugs ready to go for this one.
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
I had to give this one a quick brush as it's been quite a while since I've spun this record. The stylus moves across to the outside groove and the first song (and title track), 'Help!' comes through the speaker. Everyone knows that Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote majority of the quartets songs and this one written by Lennon was a proud moment for him. I can hear it in the vocals as I follow along with the lyrics (sourced elsewhere as sadly there is no lyric insert included). I love the drive that McCartney and Lennon had in out performing one another when it came to writing a hit song.
How many of you knew that the record cover has the Beatles spelling out a word in semaphore? Ok, you might have known that. But how many of you knew that they are actually spelling N-U-J-V and not H-E-L-P? I have to admit, I didn't realise either. Apparently it was because the photographer didn't like how it looked when the boys were standing there spelling H-E-L-P. Let me know and be honest if you knew this piece of trivia in the comments below, as I will be really impressed. I forgot how much I enjoyed this record and it's a nice one to look at the cover whilst listening.
This song saw the band writing about real moments they were experiencing and upon reflection was quite sad. It wouldn't just be all about love and 'boy meets girl' songs anymore. They were barely having anytime to catch their breath and were crying out for 'Help!', hence the title. Lennon was influenced by a few things whilst writing this song and one of those influences was a book by Aldous Huxley called 'The Doors of Perception'. I am currently reading his other well known book, 'Brave New World' and will have to add that one to my long list of books to read. Lennon was extremely happy with this song and its composition and I like the lyrics of, "And now my life has changed in oh so many ways. My independence seems to vanish in the haze. But every now and then I feel so insecure. I know that I just need you like I've never done before".
Interestingly enough the songs were written without knowing where they would be used in the movie. The seven songs that were selected for the movie had to then be matched with the scenes (entirety of Side A). Luckily it didn't matter if it worked of not, The Beatles seemed to make it work. 'The Night Before' was written by McCartney and showcased Lennon on the electric piano and Harrison on rhythm guitar. McCartney would take the lead and bass guitar duties for the recording of this song, but funnily enough, the scene in the film shows Lennon on guitar. I like the backing vocals of this song and the way McCartney drives this fast paced song.
Around the same time of this record was the release of Bob Dylan's album, 'Another Side Of Bob Dylan', which influenced Lennon immensely. 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away', feels like it was plucked straight from Dylan's bag of tricks. I like the lyrics, "Everywhere people stare, Each and every day. I can see them laugh at me, and I hear them say". It is believed that Lennon wrote this song about himself having to hide the fact that he was married at the time. The promotors wanted the Beatles to be desirable and available to all the women of the world, so the fact Lennon was married wasn't well known. This album is flying by and like that we are experiencing the an evolution of the Beatles again.
It's hard to believe that Harrison didn't want to discuss "I Need You" in his memoirs later in life. Actually, the two songs he wrote on this album he didn't talk about at all which is a shame as they are great songs. I enjoy Harrison as a songwriter and feel his song writing came at the right time for the group as Lennon and McCartney were under time constraints and pressures to come up with new songs. I like the lyrics, "Please remember how I feel about you, I could never really live without you. So, come on back and see, Just what you mean to me, I need you". I remember watching this song being performed by Tom Petty at 'Concert for George' in 2002. If you haven't seen that concert, do yourself a favour and check it out. Click here and fast forward to the 4:00 minute mark.
The next song on Side A was regarded as a filler song -'Another Girl'. Hard to believe that the album had so many songs regarded as filler songs that would be so catchy. All I remember from the movie is Paul strumming along with a woman and pretending she was the guitar. I enjoy the harmonies of Lennon, McCartney and Harrison on this record. This song is about a guy who is telling interested woman that he has 'Another Girl' - "She's sweeter than all the girls, and I've met quite a few. Nobody in all the world can do what she can do. And so I'm telling you this time you'd better stop, For I have got another girl".
The second last song on Side A is, 'You're Going To Lose That Girl'. This song doesn't match anything that is going on in the movie but still a great song. Someone is being reminded that you have to respect and show the one you love, otherwise you will lose them. I enjoyed the scene in movie when Ringo was playing drums and the cult that is after him cuts through the ceiling in the room below and drops him down, stopping the song.
Now I would agree that our spin #19 was heavy but can you believe in 1965 that the last song on Side A was regarded as Heavy rock / metal. 'Ticket To Ride' was such a big song and the name of the song had some different meanings. One of those theories was about the ladies of the night in Hamburg carrying a ticket that showed a clean bill of health. Others believed it was referring to commuters taking the train in the English town of Ryde. It's a nice song to close Side A and the last song that was used in the movie. The tonearm returns back to the cradle in preparation for the LP to be flipped over. Our children have enjoyed this record and I love that these songs and moments bring such a smile to our faces. The tonearm moves across to the first song on Side B - 'Act Naturally', which is a cover written by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison, performed by Buck Owens and the Buckaroos in 1963. The Beatles were starting to feed off their influences and also take some pressure off writing/composing an original piece. If you had of asked me, "Does 'Act Naturally' appear in the movie?", I would have said, "Yep". It doesn't but was still a well known cover performed by Ringo on lead vocals.
'It's Only Love' is the second song on Side B, written by Lennon who admitted that he absolutely hated it. As a listener, I enjoyed it but I guess he had such a high standard of himself and regarded this as a throw away song. I like the way Lennon sings "Just the sight of you makes night-time bright, very bright".
The tonearm keeps moving along the dead wax and the sound of 'You Like Me Too Much' starts to fill the room. The piano intro is a nice touch and during the outtakes on the recording they have friendly banter with Harrison. This is the second song on the album written by Harrison, showcasing how under-utilised he was as a band member prior to this moment. They sounded like they were having fun in the studio.
'Tell Me What You See' is regarded as a handy B-side song by the band but I find myself tapping along to this one a lot. "If you let me take your heart, I will prove to you. We will never be apart, if I'm part of you". Their music is so subjective that someone's favourite song could be another persons most hate. I like the use of the Hohner Pianet on this song and it is such a layered number when you really listen. There are different versions of this LP that have a muddled mix but this remastered version doesn't have that issue.
Probably the most loved songs on Side B coming up are 'I've Just Seen A Face' and 'Yesterday'. The wonderfully written song, 'I've Just Seen A Face' is one that stays with you long after it has ended. A rare occasion where there is no bass line and McCartney plays an acoustic guitar instead. The acoustic sound works well with Starr on the drum kit with brushes and use of Maracas too. McCartney calls this one a "slight toe-tapper" and I have to agree with him. I think its the acoustic intro that commands your attention mixed with the lyrics - "Had it been another day, I might have looked the other way and I'd have never been aware, But as it is I'll dream of her tonight".
The next song just continues the theme of a what-if scenario. I have seen footage of McCartney performing this in 1965 on stage with an acoustic guitar and the audience soaking it up. You need to follow along with the lyrics to this one and you can hear it in his voice that this one means a lot to him. "Yesterday, All my troubles seemed so far away. Now it looks as though they're here to stay, Oh I believe in Yesterday". I read somewhere that he composed the tune/melody of 'Yesterday' while asleep. At first McCartney thought he had subconsciously plagiarized someone else's song because it was fully formed.
The last song on Side B and the record is the 1958 song 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy', originally performed by Larry Williams. It was another moment where The Beatles took the opportunity to cover this one and nailed it. It's a nice choice to end the album as it makes you want to get up and dance after the slower acoustic choices before. This one has Lennon voice really suiting the rock & roll sound throughout. Also has a really distinct bass line coming through. Seeing our children hear music and the smile it brings across their faces does make life that little bit brighter. The record comes to an end and it is clear now that this album was a real cry for help. It was also the end of an era for beat music by the band.
I hope that you enjoyed reading along to this week's Spin and maybe found something out about The Beatles that you didn't know prior. There is so much written about this band that it was difficult to do this Spin justice, but I had fun regardless. If you are delving into this band for the first time, I recommend start at the beginning and work your way through their catalogue of music chronologically. Don't forget to comment on our socials or below and get involved in our MWSP which drops on Wednesdays at 4:50 EST (Australia).
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who like The Beatles and be kind to your Wax!