Thursday, 6 August 2015

The U.K. Help! album turns fifty

A very light and very blue photo of a "Help!" album cover.
It is fifty years since The Beatles released their "Help!" album. Photographer Robert Freeman decided that he wanted to shoot the album cover with The Beatles wearing the costumes that they had been wearing when the film scenes in Austria was filmed, preferrably against a white background. Trouble was, the film had moved on, and they were now busy filming in England, and had problems fitting an album cover photo session in between the filming. The solution was that Freeman arranged for a huge white background to be brought to where they were filming, and shoot the photos when The Beatles weren't needed on the set.

Ringo gets ready to be photographed for the album cover, Victor Spinetti, in costume, watches.
After the photos had been taken, Freeman arranged the individual Beatles across the cover, with the composers Lennon-McCartney in the middle, flanked by Harrison on the left and Ringo on the right.

Over the years, different pressings of the U.K. "Help!" LP have had various degrees of the blue colour of The Beatles' costumes. The photo of the album cover found on the TheBeatles.com site is probably the lightest and bluest of them all.

Judging by the photos of George's and Ringo's capes that were sold at an auction in Liverpool in 2014, The Beatles' costumes worn for the shooting of the "Help!" album cover weren't nearly as light or blue as the cover depicts them. They were almost black.

The above rendition of George and Ringo on the "Help! cover, with 2014 photos of their capes inserted. 


George's and Ringo's capes, with a probably current "Help!" album cover.
So we took the liberty of darkening the "Help!" album cover somewhat, and removed most of the blue tint, to see what it would have looked like without these enhancements.

A more stern look is what this seems to be.
So we looked around the internet to see if we could find a decent photo of a first U.K. 1965 release, and this is what we found:

A somewhat dark photo, but not so blue, initially.

And here is the remastered mono edition of the album from 2014, which looks very good indeed, picturewise:

2014 mono remaster

1 comment:

JC said...

Great story! The capes were seen in Holland on their boat tour.Neil bought a cape ( old postmen capes) and he brought the Dutch cape to a Taylor in Hong Kong, who copied them. They were painted black, but in Australia in the rain the paint wasn't still dry.(You can see the pictures on internet) A year later they used them in Obertauern, Austria.