Just over a year after the Beatles first soundtrack, A Hard Day’s Night, hit Number One on the Top LP’s chart, the Fab Four was back on top with its second soundtrack, Help!
Although longtime Beatles producer George Martin had proven quite adept at scoring with A Hard Day’s Night, he wasn’t used on Help! “I had nothing to do with the score,” Martin says. “Although the music for the first film was an enormous success, Dick Lester and I didn’t get on too well. When it came to the second film, I recorded all the tracks with the Beatles, but that was the end of it. Lester engaged Ken Thorne to do the score and he put the album together in a way I didn’t like without my supervision.”
The Beatles’ tracks on the album were recorded between February and April of 1965. “Ticket to Ride,” one of the first tracks recorded for the soundtrack, was released as a single well in advance of the film. Eight Arms to Hold You, the original title of the Beatles’ second film, was listed in fine print under the Lennon-McCartney writing credit on the single. On May 22, 1965, “Ticket to Ride” became the Beatles’ eighth Number One single.
Martin suggests that the song that would later become the title track to the film was written well in advance of the film. “I think ["Help!"] came before the film and they took the title from that,” he says. “It didn’t matter what they called the film. It could have been anything.”
Yet “Help!,” with its urgency, was a fitting title track. John Lennon claimed years later that the song was more than just another gem of a song?e was, in act, crying out for help. “To me it was just a pop song,” Martin says. “I didn’t see any great significance in it.”
Whether “Help!” was really Lennon’ personal plea, just another great pop song, or both, it struck a chord with the public. On September 4, 1965, it became the Beatles’ ninth Number One single. A week later, with the single still holding fast at the top of the Hot 100, Help! hit the summit of the Top LP’s chart, rocketing all the way from number 61. It was the group’s sixth Number One album in a mere two years.
THE TOP FIVE
Week of September 11, 1965
1. Help!, The Beatles
2. Look at Us, Sonny & Cher
3. Out of Our Heads, The Rolling Stones
4. The Sound of Music, Soundtrack
5. Summer Days (And Summer Nights), The Beach Boys