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BBC Local Radio: National distribution
October 2004


I'm old enough to remember this song being released.
When you first heard it,
it sounded just like any other fast pop song.

And it went with a terrible Beatles film,
also called Help!,
that's only ever shown now
in the graveyard slot on Sunday afternoons.

But when you get beyond
the fast pop sound of the song,
you can hear there's real urgency and emotion in John's voice.

This isn't just a No.1 hit single.
Out of the depths of Britain's best-ever hit machine
comes this real wail of anguish from a real person.

Years later, in 1980,
John Lennon talked about this song
before he was shot in New York.

‘I was actually crying out for help,’ he said.
‘I am singing about when I was so much younger and all the rest,
looking back at how easy it was.
I go through deep depressions
where I would like to jump out the window.’

So here's this 1960s pop idol nakedly crying out for help.
‘Won't you please, please help me?’ he sings.

He's begging.
He's cast aside any pretence that he's tough and independent.
In a way, he's cast aside his dignity, too,
because he feels so desperate.
And he does it all in public.
I admire that.

It's such a simple thought,
but the cry for help is the start of redemption.

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