This was used as the title song to Beatles' second movie
. The original title to the song and the movie was "Eight Arms To Hold You." The first copies of the single said it was from the movie "Eight Arms to Hold You."
John Lennon has described this time of his life as his "fat Elvis period." In a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon said this is one of his favorite Beatles records, because, "I meant it - it's real." He added: "The lyric is as good now as it was then. It is no different, and it makes me feel secure to know that I was that aware of myself then. It was just me singing 'Help' and I meant it."
Paul McCartney helped Lennon write the song, but did not realize it was actually Lennon calling for help until years later.
Along with "Yesterday
," this is one of two Beatles US #1 hits with just one word in the title.
The Beatles sped up the tempo to make it more commercial, Lennon intended it as a slow song.
In 1985, this became the first Beatles song ever used in a commercial when it was used in an ad for Ford cars. Ford paid $100,000 for it, and the version in the commercial was performed by a sound-alike group.
The Beatles banged out a music video for this song (four others were shot the same day) so they could distribute it to television stations in lieu of personal appearances. In typical Beatles fashion, it is an irreverent clip, with Ringo Starr using an umbrella to protect from fake snow.
George Harrison played a 12-string guitar on this track.
The Help! movie was used by The Monkees to prepare for their TV series. The Beatles showed off their individual personalities in their movies, which The Monkees made sure to emulate. By not presenting all members of the band as identical, it made the Beatles even more popular, as many of their fans picked a favorite.
There are different lyrics on the album and single versions.
The lyrics appear to be addressed to another person, but they could also be seen as being addressed to a mind-altering substance. There are lots of clues in the lyrics but the major ones are, "I've changed my mind" and "I've opened up the doors" as in "The Doors Of Perception" which is the title of a book by Aldous Huxley about his mind altering experiences with mescaline. The title is taken from a quote of William Blake's, "If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite." (thanks, Ed - Perth, Australia)
Originally, the album cover showed The Beatles spelling out the word "Help" using the semaphore system of communicating with flags, which was usually used by ships. The photographer didn't like the pose, so he had them hold the flags in a way that looked good, but didn't spell anything.
Artists who covered this include Bananarama, Count Basie, the Carpenters, Tommy Castro, The Charles River Valley Boys, The Crusaders, The Damned, Howie Day, DC Talk, Deep Purple, Extreme, Jad Fair, John Farnham, Jose Feliciano, The Four Tops, Henry Gross, John's Children, R. Stevie Moore, The Newbeats, Dolly Parton, David Porter, Isaac Scott, Peter Sellers, Michael Stanley, The Tremeloes, Tina Turner, U2 and Caetano Veloso. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France, for above 2)
Deep Purple recorded this on a demo that helped them get a record deal in 1968.