With a Little Help from My Friends
"With a Little Help from My Friends" (originally titled "A Little Help from My Friends") is a song written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, released on The Beatles album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band in 1967. The song was written for and sung by Beatles drummer Ringo Starr as the character "Billy Shears"; it is ranked #304 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr performed this song for the first time together at the David Lynch Foundation Benefit Concert in the Radio City Music Hall, New York on 4 April 2009.
|"With a Little Help from My Friends"|
|Song by The Beatles|
|from the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band|
|Released||1 June 1967|
|Recorded||Abbey Road Studios|
29–30 March 1967
|Label||Parlophone PMC 7027 (mono), PCS 7027 (stereo)|
|Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band track listing|
Lennon and McCartney finished writing this song in mid-March 1967, written as Starr's song for the album. It was briefly called Bad Finger Boogie (later the inspiration for the band name Badfinger), because Lennon composed the melody on a piano using his middle finger after having hurt his forefinger; but in his 1980 Playboy interview Lennon said: "This is Paul, with a little help from me. 'What do you see when you turn out the light/ I can't tell you, but I know it's mine...' is mine."
Lennon and McCartney wrote a tune with a limited range - except for the last note, which McCartney worked closely with Starr to achieve. Speaking in the Anthology, Starr insisted on changing the first line which originally was "What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and throw tomatoes at me?" He changed the lyric so that fans would not throw tomatoes at him should he perform it live. (In the early days, after George Harrison made a comment that he liked jelly babies, fans would throw them at the Beatles at all of their live shows.)
The song is in the form of a conversation. The other three Beatles sing a question and Starr answers, for example: "Would you believe in a love at first sight? / Yes, I'm certain that it happens all the time."
The band started recording the song the day before they posed for the Sgt. Pepper album cover (29 March 1967), ending the session at 5:45 in the morning.
- Ringo Starr – vocal, drums, tambourine
- Paul McCartney – backing vocal, piano, bass
- John Lennon – backing vocal, cowbell
- George Harrison – lead guitar
- George Martin – producer, Hammond organ
- Geoff Emerick – engineer
- The Beatles (2000). The Beatles Anthology. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 0-8118-2684-8.
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- Dowlding, William J. (1989). Beatlesongs. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-68229-6.
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- "Ike & Tina Turner: With a Little Help From My Friends". YouTube. 2010.
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- Matovina, Dan (2000). Without You: The Tragic Story of Badfinger. Frances Glover Books. ISBN 0965712222.
Apple's Neil Aspinall remembers, "(...) Badfinger just popped in my head. It was from an old Lennon thing. He was playing the piano and he had a bad finger so he called the piece he was playing 'Bad Finger Boogie' (which evolved into 'With A Little Help From My Friends')
- "Original liner notes for Capitol's Beach Boys Rarities album". bradelliott.com. 1983.
- "Ringo Starr – With a Little Help from My Friends". The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. 13 January 2010.
- Kilpatrick, Sean (4 October 2009). "Stephen Harper rocks out". thestar.com. Toronto. Retrieved 22 October 2009.
- "UpVenue Top 10 Best Music Covers". UpVenue.com. 2010.