It seems just like “Yesterday” that the Fab Four released their hit album Help!, but alas, it has been 51 years!
Help! was The Beatles at the top of their pop rock game. This was also the first album where they started to get a little more creative and stray from the traditional sounds of the day. The A-side of the record featured the songs from the accompanying movie, while the B-side was just album only.
Speaking of the movie, Help! was, in this writer’s humble opinion, the best movie of The Beatles’ catalog. It captured them at the peak of their popularity and showcased their dry humor and fun antics. Who wouldn’t want to run around the world with these four boys from Liverpool?
As for the album, it produced a number of hits including “Yesterday,” “Help,” and “Ticket to Ride.” Help! reached the top of the charts in both the US and UK and by the end of 1965, the album had already sold well over a million copies.
“Yesterday” was the first solo performance by any Beatle, with Paul McCartney playing acoustic guitar with a string quartet. It has become one of the most famous songs of all-time, and even earned a Guinness World Record for most covered song. Here’s a live performance of the song from a show in Germany.
At the surface, “Help” was an upbeat rock song that was a smash hit. But in reality, it was a sad song written by a struggling and depressed John Lennon. In an interview with Playboy, he said, “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 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.”
Here’s a live performance of the hit.
One of the heavier songs on the album is “Ticket to Ride” which topped the singles charts in the US and UK. Its meaning is not as squeaky clean as The Beatles’ image might have led the listener to believe. This footage is from a concert at Wembley Stadium in 1965.