Help Me

Album: Court And Spark (1974)
Charted: 7

Songfacts®:

  • In this song, Mitchell sings about a guy she's falling in love with while at the same time knowing the relationship is doomed, as he is "a rambler and a gambler" who loves his freedom. Mitchell never revealed the identity of this person (if any - she says that not all her songs are autobiographical), but the two prime candidates would be Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey, both of whom she dated in the early '70s.
  • Mitchell used jazz musicians to back her on the Court And Spark album after initial attempts to play it with the popular Los Angeles session players that backed the likes of James Taylor and Warren Zevon failed. She got the sound she was looking for in members of the band L.A. Express, which included guitarist Larry Carlton and drummer John Guerin. During the sessions, Mitchell became romantically involved with Guerin.
  • Released as the first single from the album, "Help Me" became Mitchell's biggest hit, going to #7 on the Hot 100 and #1 on the Adult Contemporary chart - her only #1 on that tally.
  • Mitchell called this a "throwaway song," but a "good radio record." She explained: "My record companies always had a tendency to take my fastest songs on album for singles, thinking they'd stand out because they did on the LPs. Meantime, I'd feel that the radio is crying for one of my ballads."
  • Mandy Moore performed this song for her Tangled audition. Alan Menken composed the music for the 2010 Disney animated film and drew inspiration from '60s folk-rock. With her flowing locks and longing for freedom, the heroine Rapunzel immediately brought Mitchell to mind.
  • Prince gave this song a shout out on his Sign O' The Times track
    The Ballad of Dorothy Parker, where he sings about a tryst with a waitress who tells him it's her favorite song.

Comments: 14

  • Jabo from TexasMaybe the best short sweet song ever but do not overlook the contribution of texture and interest that Larry Carlton creates on the electric guitar with the constant smooth fills and the drop dead gorgeous outro. Listen to it only paying attention to his guitar. You’ll see.
  • Al from BakewellI always thought the rambling/gambling reference related to Jackson Browne's "These Days"
  • Barry from Sauquoit, NyOn March 10th 1974, "Help Me" by Joni Mitchell entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart at position #87; and twelve weeks later on June 2nd, 1974 it peaked at #7 {for 1 week} and spent 19 weeks on the Top 100...
    And on May 19th, 1974 it reached #1 {for 1 week} on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Tracks chart...
    Was track two of side one from her sixth studio album, 'Court and Spark', the album peaked at #1 on the Canadian RPM Albums chart and #2 on Billboard's Top 200 Pops Albums chart...
    Two other tracks from the album also made the Top 100 chart; "Raised on Robbery" {at #65} and "Free Man in Paris" {at #22}...
    Ms. Mitchell, born Roberta Joan Anderson, will celebrate her 72nd birthday this coming November 7th {2015}.
  • Nicole from Massapequa, NyThe line "Cause you're a rambler and a gambler And a sweet talking ladies man" is a reference to the song Ramblin' Gamblin' Man by Bob Seger,
    Glenn Frey played on this Bob Seger song at the age of 19.
  • Tanya from La Verne, CaIt was this song that turned me on to Ms. Mitchell and I'm so grateful to her for that opportunity.
  • Nicole from Massapequa, NyAmy in Traverse City - I recently read "Girls Like Us", about Joni, Carly Simon and Carole King....my goodness Joni did get around....some great musicians in addition to Glenn Frey - James Taylor, Graham Nash, Jackson Browne among them. I read that Rolling Stone once named her "Old Lady of the Year" because of her many conquests...
  • Joe from Grants Pass, OrI could still hear 'Court and Spark", in it's entirety, for hours on end, without tiring of it !
  • Paul from Washington Dc, DcIf I had to count the number of times that I've fallen in love with cads, users, and guys who were just plain unattainable....Lord almighty, the list goes on. I was thirteen in '74 and many years away from my first relationship with another male, but oddly, I seemed to know what Joni was singing about. I still can't believe she lost the Grammy to Olivia Newton-John's insipid "I Honestly Love You"!!
  • Amy from Traverse City, MiThis is a lovely song even whilst she watches the one who she is terribly attracted to and borderline obsessed with continue to love and pursue other women, many other women. This song is written about Glenn Frey who was a major ladies man back in the 70s in LA. Ms. Mitchell had carnal knowledge of many of the handsome, rockers and musicians of the day.
  • Camille from Toronto, OhJoni Mitchell...the voice of a songbird.
  • Dave Rice from London, EnglandOn Prince's terrifically weird song 'The Ballad of Dorothy Parker' he meets a waitress and tells us: "Her favourite song was Joni singing 'Help me I think I'm falling in love with you...'"
  • Glenn from Evansville, InHelp Me and Free Man In Paris from Court And Spark are the highlights of her career. Glenn,IN
  • Mark-leon from Sydney, AustraliaHelp Me was probably written about her relationship with John Guerin who performed on this album.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI love this song! It's the first one I remember ever hearing from her, and I have loved it ever since. Didn't know it is by her, but I became a fan after that.
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