When John Lennon wrote the Beatles’ “Help!” he was sincere about the track’s message: “I was fat and depressed, and I was crying out for help,” he later said of the song’s origins — and according to Paul McCartney, this desire for help wasn’t anything new for Lennon.
“We all felt the same way. But looking back on it, John was always looking for help,” McCartney told Billboard in their recent cover story celebrating the release of +1, a remastered edition of the Beatles’ 2000 collection of No. 1 hits. “He had a [paranoia] that people died when he was around: His father left home when John was 3, the uncle he lived with died later, then his mother died. I think John’s whole life was a cry for help.”
The track might not have gotten Lennon the help he wanted, but it did bring him (and the rest of the band) success: “Help!” was their third single to hit No. 1 on the U.S. charts in 1965, following in the footsteps of previously released singles “Eight Days a Week” and “Ticket to Ride.”
Read the full story over at Billboard.