49 years later, "Help!" is, without a doubt, still one of the most influential records to date.
August 6, 1965 marked the release of the 14-track Beatles album “Help!,” also the soundtrack to their second comedy feature film of the same name released just a week prior. “Help!” was recorded over a period of three nonconsecutive months in 1965, February, April, and June at the EMI Studios on Abbey Road. Hailed as one of the greatest records of all time, the album produced the classic Beatles hits “Help!,” “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away,” “Ticket to Ride,” “Act Naturally,” “I’ve Just Seen a Face,” and “Yesterday”.
All of the songs in the album save for four were attributed to John Lennon – Paul McCartney; two of which, namely “I Need You” and “You Like Me Too Much,” were composed by George Harrison. As for the title track, Lennon was quoted to have said that it was actually him “crying out for help.”
“The whole Beatle thing was just beyond comprehension. I was eating and drinking like a pig and I was fat as a pig, dissatisfied with myself, and subconsciously I was crying for help…
“Most people think it’s just a fast rock ‘n’ roll song. I didn’t realise it at the time; I just wrote the song because I was commissioned to write it for the movie. But later, I knew I really was crying out for help. So it was my fat Elvis period. You see the movie: he – I – is very fat, very insecure, and he’s completely lost himself. And I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest, looking back at how easy it was.” – from David Sherrif’s “All We Are Saying” via Beatles Bible
Meanwhile, just as iconic as the album itself is its cover art, with the photographs on the front and back taken by Robert Freeman. Freeman incorporated flag semaphore in spelling out H E L P on the front; however, when you look at the final photo, it actually spells out N U J V. This was because Freeman basically decided to choose aesthetics over accuracy! He explained, “But when we came to do the shot, the arrangement of the arms with those letters didn’t look good. So we decided to improvise and ended up with the best graphic positioning of the arms.”
Be sure to check out the rest of our articles on The Beatles in the Lomography magazine here!
Related article: Today in History: (1928) Andy Warhol is born