Help! by The Beatles



The Beatles

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Label: Emi Catalogue
At the beginning of 1965, John Lennon and Ringo Starr were 24 years old; Paul McCartney was 22 and George Harrison 21. Huge expectations weighed on their shoulders, but by the end of the year The Beatles delivered two records that were musically innovative and commercially successful.

Help!, released August 6, 1965, was influenced by the popularity of contemporary folk music. This was reflected in the album’s ambitious lyrics, most notably the title track, and the prevalence of acoustic guitars. In addition to the acoustic guitars on “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” there is a strong rhythm and blues presence on “Another Girl” and “You’re Going To Lose That Girl,” while “Ticket To Ride” sounded vastly different to any other record of the time. The single’s powerful guitar riff jangles as Ringo’s forceful drumming propels the track and John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s vocals make thrilling falsetto leaps. The Beatles also recognized the crucial role a tambourine played in driving the beat on their favorite Motown discs; it can be heard everywhere on Help!

The album also introduced new guitar sounds from George. The arrangement for his song “I Need You” is marked by a volume pedal, and “It’s Only Love” recorded his guitar through a rotating Leslie speaker that was often connected to a Hammond organ. It was just the beginning of the band’s sonic experimentation. The Beatles’ most radical step was adding a string quartet to Paul’s guitar and vocals on “Yesterday.” The distinctly classical arrangement was intended to avoid an overly sentimental treatment others subsequently gave the song. Although it was not released as a single in the U.K., “Yesterday” quickly became the most covered Beatles composition. In the States, The Beatles' version hit No. 1.

To save money, The Beatles’ first movie, A Hard Day’s Night, was shot in black and white. One year later, with their second film Help!, the ‘60s burst to vivid color; the music The Beatles had recorded in 1965 embodied the transformation.

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