If you’re really into music you’ve got at least one friend who is into it as much as you. You spend hours talking about different bands and albums. Multiply that by 10 if you’re both musicians as well. I’ve been blessed to have met many musicians and audiophiles over the years and cherish their friendship.
I was hanging out with Dave, one of these friends who lives locally in NC a few weeks ago. He’s been reading my blog, so we had a lot to get caught up on. Like two people who just crossed the desert, we were gulping down the refreshing conversation. In fact, I was a little embarrassed because we were supposed to be at a small group picnic, but hadn’t talked in so long we pretty much ignored everyone else for the first 45 minutes getting caught up.
I mentioned that Help was coming up next and it was one of my favorite Beatles albums. He countered with “Hard Days Night is way better” and off we went. It took a second time hanging out later that week to finish the debate, but suffice it to say we both now have a greater appreciation for the two albums.
Interesting album facts:
The picture on the cover is the Beatles doing semaphore, signals that ships use to communicate without radio. But it doesn’t actually spell out Help!
Wikipedia tells us “On the UK Parlophone release, the letters formed by the Beatles appear to be “NUJV”, whilst the slightly re-arranged US release on Capitol Records appeared to feature the letters “NVUJ”, with McCartney’s left hand pointing to the Capitol logo.”
The Beatles appear much more rested on this album, completing it in February before leaving the UK for the Bahamas to film the movie. It was 8 months after Beatles for Sale and you could tell they were energetic and excited to go film. Like A Hard Day’s Night, the tracks that made the movie were on Side A and the rest of the songs from the session were on Side B.
The title track kicks off the album. It has an energy that was sorely lacking from Beatles for Sale. Wonderful melody and musicianship on this song. One of their most recognizable songs. Probably written after their burn out of recording Beatles for Sale, it is a clear cry for help, definitely showing how emotionally drained they all were from the schedule.
You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
This song has special significance to me because it was the first song that I ever performed in front of an audience. My friend Abe Savas was a vet of many rock performances in high school, and when we met at Alma College he took me under his wing and showed me how to play in front of an audience. We played this song as part of our set at Max and Emily’s during an open mic night. And there was an actual crowd! Abe gave me this song as kind of a George Harrison/Ringo Starr one off to give his voice a break. It is something I will always appreciate. It’s a melancholy song, but sometimes that’s the mood you’re in.
Unfortunately, there is no version of the Beatles playing this that’s available, so I’m giving you Oasis’ version. They actually do pretty good and they’re British, so close enough. At least it’s not the Eddie Vedder version.
Ticket to Ride
This album is heavy on John Lennon songs, which is possibly why I like it so much. Iconic song, the harmonies on this song are solid, as usual.
It’s Only Love
Another John Lennon classic. This video has the added bonus of showing you how to play the song on guitar. It’s actually John singing in the background, which is good because I couldn’t find any suitable replacement on youtube. Sorry.
They could’ve just ended the album here and nobody would have been the wiser. My friend Dave pointed this out and I think I agree with him. It’s a sad and beautiful song, but sometimes you’re just in the mood for that. One of my favorite Paul McCartney songs. I love how this video just shows him on stage with a single spotlight on him. Perfect.
That’s all for now. Hope you all enjoyed reading. Thank you for your support!