The Beatles - Help!
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Released on 6th August, 1966, and eight months after Beatles For Sale, the recordings for Help! had actually started in earnest in mid February just one month after the guys had completed a season of ‘Another Beatles Christmas Show’ at London’s Hammersmith Odeon. Within days of the final February session, they were off to the Bahamas to film scenes for the movie, which like ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ was directed by Richard Lester.

From the Bahamas, The Beatles headed East to Obertauern, in Austria before heading back to the UK for more filming. A new single, ‘Ticket To Ride’ was released on 9th April and this needed to be promoted so various TV performances took place from the end of March to mid April along with an appearance at NME Poll-winners concert. All of these taking place either side of more filming which continued on and off until the middle of June by which time The Beatles had returned to Abbey Road to complete the material for the non-soundtrack side of the forthcoming album. On the 12th June, 1965 it was announced that The Beatles had been awarded MBE’s in the Queen’s birthday honours list – an accolade previously never given to young pop stars

Like A Hard Day’s Night, Help! contained the songs from the film on side one of the album with the other side devoted to other new recordings including two covers. Unlike A Hard Day’s Night, the two singles released prior to and alongside the album had exclusive B-sides. Help! also marked the return of George Harrison as a songwriter. George contributed one song to each side of the album.

The striking album front cover features The Beatles making semaphore signals but these do not spell Help!

The album went immediately to no.1 in the British charts remaining there for a total of nine of its 37 weeks in the Top Twenty.

Yet again in the US, things were different. Another soundtrack album was released which contained all the songs from side one of the UK album plus six instrumental pieces scored by Ken Thorne. It resulted in another US # 1 album, which enjoyed a nine week stay during an overall chart run of 42 weeks. The remaining non-film tracks were scattered over three different albums in the U.S. The most famous of these, ‘Yesterday’ also being released as a single in September and later going on to reach # 1 for a period of four weeks.

NME Friday, March 12, 1965

Beatles Greatest U.S. Show to Be Filmed

British fans may see the Beatles’ most important concert ever – on television. The group will appear before nearly 60,000 fans at the Shea Stadium in New York on August 15 at the start of their second American tour. Ed Sullivan, America’s most famous TV personality, will introduce them on stage at this show. Brian Epstein revealed exclusively to the NME on Wednesday: I am arranging to have the whole fantastic performance filmed, and, if it is suitable, I will arrange worldwide release for it almost immediately afterwards.

NME Friday, July 23, 1965

Beatles New LP And Why They Need ‘Help’

I’m not usually in a very receptive or agreeable mood at ten’o’clock on a Monday morning, but this week I was quickly jerked out of my lethargy when I settled down to listen to the new Beatles’ album. In fact, I can guarantee that this LP is the ideal cure for the depressions. Without doubt ‘Help’ will be topping the LP chart within a week or so of its official release date – and will probably make an appearance in the singles chart. It’s typical Beatles material, and offers very few surprises. But then, who wants surprises for the Beatles?


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