Seven songs a side. Running time – just over half-an-hour. A few covers here and there. Global phenomenon. If only it was that simple.
The Beatles released their fifth album Help in August 1965. Like the previous album (A Hard Day’s Night) it was tied to a movie. It does however, rightly, stand as an album and not a mere soundtrack.
Like the previous 4 album write-ups this is the first time I have actually sat down and listened to the whole album. On first listen I can say it is the best Beatles album (excluding upcoming posts) I have heard so far. I have heard later albums already in their entirety – they will be following fairly soon.
Help (Lennon / McCartney) is classic pop Beatles. There isn’t really much more I can add to that.
The Night Before (Lennon / McCartney) is a song I have never heard before. Sung by Paul McCartney it is a catchy, well structured slower song than the album opener.
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away (Lennon / McCartney) again is a classic Beatles song. A tambourine adds with simple shakes / strikes. Simple and catchy it etches itself to your memory in such a way that it will never sound unfamiliar.
I Need You (Harrison) adds to this albums charm. Fitting yet quite different. Earnest and quite loved up in its own way.
Another Girl (Lennon / McCartney) is, with a bit of research, actually penned by Paul McCartney even though John (Lennon) gets a songwriting credit too. Not as strong as the songs I have heard before (from Help) but there’s little to fault really.
You’re Going To Lose That Girl (Lennon / McCartney) is very catchy and the vocal is delivered with that waving harmony which elevates the song above mere pop. It’s another Beatles classic.
Ticket To Ride (Lennon / McCartney) and, yes, another Beatles classic that the majority of any music fans will know inside-out. A rolling sound with very strong vocals and clear, spot-on production from George Martin.
Ace Naturally (Russell / Morrison) and Ringo takes to the mic. A plodding, country-tinged ditty. Not a classic and surprisingly quite un-Beatles like.
It’s Only Love (Lennon / McCartney) is short and not as in your face as the very popular songs on Help. Again a simple song that does work even if it could be seen as quite shallow.
You Like Me Too Much (Harrison). The George Harrison songs on Help show he is a great songwriter too. Then again, this isn’t East 17 we are dealing with here so it’s little surprise the song is up to scratch.
Tell Me What You See (Lennon / McCartney) is very well produced and more inventive. You almost expect to hear the song backtrack or loop, but that was to come soon as the bands sound truly pushed boundaries.
I’ve Just Seen A Face (Lennon / McCartney) again a first listen for me right now. Sounding like a theme to an imaginary television theme the songs is sparse yet at the same time a lot is going on. Enjoyable.
Yesterday (Lennon / McCartney) is also a song I have never heard before. Okay, that is total bullshit – has anyone on this planet not heard this song. Possibly the most familiar song ever recorded and the most widely covered song ever. I can recall studying the song as an 11 year old in Music lessons. Yesterday sees The Beatles transcend pop and become as essential as Gershwin, more so. Unbelievable songwriting. Write a song on par with this and you’ve won the proverbial lottery.
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Williams) and Help fades away with a rock and roll boogie blast.
Help is the best Beatles album that I have not heard, consciously, until now. Writing with the hindsight of knowing how the band then developed further puts me at an advantage over the buying public back in the Summer of ’65 – even if the real signs that The Beatles were about to get a lot more essential and groundbreaking are clear for all to hear already…