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Released - 1965, on Parlophone Records. Produced by George Martin
John Lennon- Lead & Backing Vocals; Rhythm Guitar; Lead Guitar on track 14; Electric Piano on tracks 2 & 10.
Paul McCartney - Lead & Back'g Vocals; Bass; Lead Guitar tracks 5 & 7; Acoustic Rhythm Guitar on track 13; Piano on tracks 10 & 11.
George Harrison - Lead and Rhythm Guitars; Backing Vocals; Lead Vocals on tracks 4 & 10.
Ringo Starr - Drums, Percussion; Lead Vocal on track 8.
Additional Personnel: John Scott - Flute on track 3; Tony Gilbert & Sidney Sax - Violinists along with Francisco Gabarro - Cello, and Kenneth Essex - Viola, on track 13.
All songs written by Lennon/McCartney except tracks 4 & 10 written by Harrison, track 8 written by Morrison/Russell, and track 14 written by Williams.
This is not the soundtrack to the movie Help!, but the UK release of the album Help!, with the first seven songs (side 1) all used in the movie. The US LP of the same name also contained the same songs on side 1 as the UK LP, but side 2 on that one were all instrumentals of songs from the movie, played by the George Martin Orchestra, which in turn made this UK release so much better.
The LP starts off with the movie's and album's title cut, "Help!", written and sung with gusto by John Lennon. What most Beatles fans didn't know when this came out was that John actually was making a cry for help when he wrote this song, as Beatlmania was starting to take its toll on him and his mates. What a fantastic song indeed, but not the best one found on here, with that one being another penned Lennon song, "Ticket To Ride", with a wonderful lead guitar played by Paul McCartney and the usual great Beatle harmonies, adding up to making this one nothing short of great!
Like all of the Beatles albums, there are just so many top tunes on Help!, with one song better than the next. Paul's "Yesterday" is perhaps one of the most talked about and loved songs by anyone, yet it never grabbed me in the way it did so many others, but crap, I still know a ten when I hear one.
There are only two covers found on here, one which was a favorite of Lennon's, "Dizzy Miss Lzzie", with the best part being John's lead acid guitar riff (even if nobody was yet calling such a riff "acid guitar" yet). Then Ringo Starr was given a chance to sing a number with "Act Naturally". I was a small fry growing up in New York City when this song came out, and I knew there was something different about this tune. I recall asking my older sister what it was. The answer I got back was "It's different 'cause Ringo sings it". Well true, but that wasn't what sounded different to me. What I was hearing for the first time was actually a Country 'n Western song, a sound that never was played on the radio back then in NYC (or music that anybody who I knew ever played, either). I very much liked what to me was a "new" sound, even if the Beatles were not known for and rarely played that genre. Ringo's voice was perfect for this kind of sound and I totally fell for this song.
In rapping up this review, in one way the Beatles were still turning out pop songs when they recorded Help!, but the songs found on here were a bit on the different side, too. Most were not positive songs at all, if anything none of the songs penned by the band for Help! were, other than "I've Just Seen A Face", with the rest being "in your face" songs, cries for help, or plain out gloomy. But still, that didn't matter, as Help! turned out to be just one more GREAT Beatles album!
- Keno 2006